Are you aware there will be another major rating system that you will need to understand? This new college rating system will be another source of information that students and parents will have while making their college decision. The Federal Government will be releasing a new college rating system that will be available later this summer. According to a recent blog post from Jamienne Studley, the Deputy Under Secretary and Acting Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education it improve the way students and parents can compare colleges.
The planned goal of the system is to identify colleges that provide a broader value comparison that will include access for underserved students, graduation rates, job placement and net cost. On the surface, this maybe a very different rating system than the current methods since most of those methods look at selectivity as the primary factor. The problem to date is the information on the new system has been very limited. The program started with President Obama’s August 2013 incentive to provide a new college value comparison of colleges for families.
The proposed system is to provide an easier to use and a more consumer friendly comparison of colleges. According to the blog post the new tools will provide more current data and will compare college cost and outcomes in a different format. I am extremely interested in seeing this new system and I am hoping that the new tools contain better data updates. The concepts of using tax information that is 2 years old for a proposed FAFSA change and the delays we see in the current IPEDS data are not a good reflection of how current the data will be. This announcement of a new information source being more comprehensive is very encouraging. Again, it is unclear how they will develop these calculations and rating system since the information so far has been very vague.
The government has admitted that creating a universal rating system will be difficult and that no system will meet the needs of every student. The goal of this system is to provide an easier way to compare colleges. There seems to be a little more focus on accessibility for lower income students and the affordability issue in the planned rating system.
Another hope of this new process will be to increase the transparency of the net cost from the colleges. The government is hoping that due to the increased information, it will create a better supply and demand model for the consumer when evaluating their college value decision. The new rating system may be used to identify colleges that offer the best value. These results may affect some future student financial aid programs and it will be directed to the colleges that offer the best value under this methodology.
We will need to wait and see what the Department of Education and the Federal Government has designed. If they are able to deliver it by the end of the summer, the timing will be perfect for the current senior to modify their college list and applications. It also could add another level of confusion and debate in an overwhelming process for families.