Obama’s Proposed Rating System elicits Mixed Reactions from Top Colleges

The George Mason University in Virginia recently convened a one-day open forum to gather feedback from educational institutions regarding the proposed college ranking system by President Obama. However, conspicuous by their absence in this public forum were the public themselves. There were no students or parents during the day sesseion taking the mic providing their inputs on a new ranking system designed to assist in making informed college decisions. Instead, the representatives from universities, colleges, and other professional institutions populated the forum to voice their criticism, insecurities, and concerns about the latest ranking protocol.

While, there was a general unanimity on helping the students in taking an informed financial decisions, yet many participants were skeptical about the effectiveness of the new ranking system in providing a clear-cut professional conception to the consumers (the students). David Baime, the senior vice president of the Government relations department of the AACC (American Association of Community Colleges) used the word ‘anxiety’ to elucidate the feelings from the presidents of the community colleges across the country regarding the new proposed rating mechanism. “The community college candidates follow a different pattern of decision making distinct from the common thought process of gaining a college admittance.

The external relations and public policy vice president of the Association of Community College Trustees, Jee Hang Lee was vociferous in proclaiming their strong displeasure on implementing a new ranking system for the evaluation of the college education system. The new proposed rating system promises to look into several crucial factors like the income following graduation, cost of education, and graduation rate among the other variables in deciding the rank of the institutions. The current ranking formula of the DoE (Department of Education) only depends on the total number of full-time students graduating from the same University following the enrollment.

The current formula leaves immense scope of improvement and delivers greatly inaccurate and unrealistic estimations according to some educators. Sarah Defendach, the federal government relations vice president of the University of Maryland notes that the current system places the graduation rate of the University at a meager 10%  because the university is mainly popular among adult working students and military members on active duty. Kim Cook, the executive director to the National College Access Network confirmed her support to the federal initiative. This non-profit organization mainly attends to issues faced by minority and low-income group students, many of them the first person in the family to attend college education. Cook clarified that a rating system is much  more welcome than a ranking system, as students would be able to take informed decisions following comparisons.

David Swinton, the South Carolina Benedict College president pointed out that a rating system would not be able to incorporate the vast diversity of the American college system, comprising of more than 4000 institutions granting various degrees to the students. Mr. Swinton expressed his distrust on the federal system being able to meet the requirements of the education scenario. He described that students already have access to a myriad of college data to take their decisions. The present convention heralded the first session of a four part series. Interested students and parents can participate in ongoing discussions at the Louisiana State University and the University of Northern Iowa. Concerned people can also submit an online feedback form at the website of the Education department. Education 2

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