Most university presidents don’ t believe President Barack Obama’ s proposed university ratings system will be an effective way to expand access and lower the expense of college, according to a new poll from Gallup and Inside Higher Ed.
Of the 675 university and university presidents surveyed, 65 percent said Obama’ s intend to tie federal financial aid to an institution’ s performance on the ratings is just not a good idea.
Just two percent said the plan will be “ very effective” at making university more affordable. Another 32 percent stated the plan would be “ somewhat effective, ” while 59 percent stated it would not be effective.
“ I don’ t think there is opposition among higher education market leaders to providing more information, or even to gathering more information in some more customer friendly form, ” Debra Humphreys, vice president of policy and public engagement at the Association of American Colleges and Universities told U. S. News and World Report.
“ The skepticism has to do with the proposal to somehow produce a ratings system out of all that information and tie financial aid and Pell grant amounts to how properly an institution does on all those metrics, ” she adds.
Although most colleges presently receive federal aid based on enrollment, Obama said in August he or she wants to link that money to how well colleges serve students, measured by factors such as graduating rates, graduate earnings, the number of students receiving Pell Grants and average student loan debt.
At the time, Obama said the ratings would be published before the 2015-16 academic season, and pending congressional approval, they would be used to determine the amount of an institution’ s aid by 2018. Obama said the system is intended to help students make more informed choices regarding where they should attend college.
When he announced the plan, Obama said current college ranks systems, including those of U. S. News, create the wrong idea about university quality, and that colleges sometimes place their own interests above students’ to boost their standings. In November, White-colored House Director of Public Policy Cecilia Munoz said for similar reasons, Obama’ s plan is intended to directly compete with the Oughout. S. News rankings system.
But the Gallup and Inside Higher Ed poll found the majority of college presidents don’ t think students will use the new information whenever deciding on colleges.
Over fifty percent (56 percent) either disagreed or even strongly disagreed with that statement, whilst less than one-quarter (13 percent) decided or strongly agreed.
National organizations and leaders in higher education have expressed many worries with the plan, saying the idea of linking financial aid to measures like graduating rates could create an incentive to push out a large number of unprepared graduates, and the possibility that some of the essential student-level data is unavailable.
Humphreys says the results were not surprising and were “ very consistent” with the sentiments from the organization’ s 1, 250 member establishments.
“ I really haven’ t had many conversations, or even really any conversations, with any kind of college presidents in the last three or four weeks where people have expressed support for the president’ s rating system as a strategy for increasing access or decreasing costs, ” Humphreys says. “ There’ s a lot of skepticism the goals are not aligned well using the strategies that they are pursuing. ”
Humphreys says college market leaders are particularly concerned with using conditions like “ value” and “ quality” to apply to the metrics in Obama’ s proposed system.
“ It’ s the view that the quality of a degree, or the value of an institution of higher education, extends far beyond exactly what their graduation rates are or even what the short-term job prospects are usually of their graduates, ” Humphreys states. “ There’ s some disappointment among our members about the myopia of the proposals and sort of the perceived lack of leadership in terms of the broader national dialog that we probably do need to have about what our priorities are for higher education. ”