President Obama’s College Rating Plan

American universities respond to President Obama’s cost-cutting push to rank them by “value,” and punish the losers.

President Barack Obama speaks about college financial aid, at Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pa., Friday, Aug. 23, 2013 the last stop on his two-day bus tour of upstate New York and Pennsylvania. (AP)

President Barack Obama speaks about college financial aid, at Lackawanna College in Scranton, Pa., Friday, Aug. 23, 2013 the last stop on his two-day bus tour of upstate New York and Pennsylvania. (AP)

You want a job?  Get a college education, we’re told.  But the cost of college goes up and up.  So does student debt.

Last week, President Obama stepped squarely into the fray.  To make colleges and universities more accountable and affordable, he said.  First, by ranking every college on a best value scale.  Rank them by affordability, graduation rates, graduate debt and earnings.

And then the kicker.  The stick.  President Obama wants Washington to base federal support on those rankings.  A crowbar to rein in college costs.

This hour, On Point:  the President’s plan, academia’s response.

- Tom Ashbrook


Roberto Rodriguez, special assistant to President Obama for education policy. Former chief education counsel for Senator Ted Kennedy.

Judith Scott-Clayton, professor of economics and education at Columbia University’s Teacher College. Senior research associate at the Community College Research Center

Bob Hildreth, founder and chairman of the nonprofit organization FUEL Education (Families United in Educational Leadership).

From Tom’s Reading List

Businessweek: Obama’s College Ratings Will Shape Student Loans — “Striking a populist pose today at the University of Buffalo, President Barack Obama said the government will create a rating system for higher education, scoring colleges in areas including average tuition, loan debt, and what graduates earn after getting their diplomas. The idea is to eventually tie student loans to these scores, directing more students to more affordable institutions and reining in the $1 trillion of outstanding federal loans.”

The New York Times: On Bus Tour, Obama Seeks to Shame Colleges Into Easing Costs — “President Obama deplored the rising costs of college on Thursday as he tried to shame universities into holding down prices. He held out the prospect of more federal student aid if they did.”

Los Angeles Times: Obama’s college ratings plan could backfire – “The United States didn’t develop its great universities by reducing higher education to equations of graduation rates and job placement. Yet on Thursday, the Obama administration revealed a plan that would push colleges in that very direction and could harm some of the students the president most wants to help.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Oct 5, 2015
The newest version of the Apple mobile iOS system allows ad-blocking software on mobile browsing for the first time. (Abdullah Syahbal / Flickr)

Are ad–blocking, bots, and mobile gutting economic viability of the internet? We’ll take a close look.

Oct 5, 2015
Singer-songwriter Sara Barielles on the cover of her new memoir, "Sounds Like Me." (Courtesy Simon & Schuster)

Singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles goes fully confessional in her new memoir, “Sounds Like Me.” She joins us.

Oct 2, 2015
Max Martin accepts the award for best producer of the year, non-classical at the 57th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 8, 2015, in Los Angeles.  (AP)

The software of hit songs now. We’ll look at the algorithms, computer generated beats and producers making it happen for Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, and more.

Oct 2, 2015
Candles spelling UCC for Umpqua Community College, are displayed at a candlelight vigil for those killed during a fatal shooting at the school, Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, in Roseburg, Ore. (AP)

A deadly shooting at an Oregon community college. Putin and Obama at the UN. The capture of Kunduz. Water on Mars. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: October 2, 2015
Friday, Oct 2, 2015

We say hello again to our email address (since so many of you did this week) and goodbye to the Log Lady.

More »
Interview With Sen. Bernie Sanders: ‘Count Me As A Radical’
Thursday, Oct 1, 2015

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is making waves in the 2016 Presidential race, and he joined us today from the US Capitol to explain how his campaign message is connecting with voters around the country.

More »
Our Week In The Web: September 25, 2015
Friday, Sep 25, 2015

But seriously — where ARE our podcasts running off to? Plus, more Jewel.

More »