A new college rating system has been proposed by President Obama, one that would judge schools on affordability and performance to determine how federal financial aid is distributed.
Obama unveiled the plan during a trip to Western New York, telling a crowd at the University of Buffalo that the rating plan would evaluate colleges on criteria including average tuition and student loan debt, graduation rates, and the average salary of graduates.
Using these benchmarks, Congress would connect a rating system to the way federal aid is given, Obama said. Schools with higher ratings would receive larger grants. Obama said he wants the plan in place by the 2015 school year.
“It’s time to stop subsidizing schools that are not producing good results and reward schools that deliver American students of our future,” Obama said during his visit to Buffalo and Rochester.
The proposal is part of a summer-long focus for Obama on issues affecting the middle class, with the president framing the argument ahead of expected clashes with Republicans in Congress this fall over raising the nation’s debt limit.
In his visit Thursday, Obama took a shot at these Republicans.
“Rather than seeking, keeping focus on a growing economy that creates good middle-class jobs, you know, we’ve seen a faction of Republicans in Congress suggest that maybe America shouldn’t pay its bills that have already been run up, that we should shut down government if they can’t shut down Obamacare,” Obama said.
The college rating system proposal comes on the heels of news that the majority of college students who plan to earn a four-year degree fall short of that goal. Statistics released by the Century Foundation show that 81.4 percent of community college enrollees aim for a Bachelor’s degree but only 11.6 percent will receive one.
Aside from proposing the new college rating system, Obama also renewed his call for a $1 billion college “Race to the Top” competition that would reward states that improve educational policies while keeping down tuition costs.