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  • Federal Performance Funding Plan and its Implications
  • Posted By:
  • Karen W.
  • Posted On:
  • 23-Sep-2013
  • Colleges in our country are more than ever forced to prove the value for their product. Higher education faces a future where funding will be based purely on performance even as the state policymakers are joined by the highest elected official in our nation to make this as true as ever.

    A college rating system will be tied to federal financial aid programs. The rating system will be on student completion rates, affordability and graduate student earnings according to a recently unveiled proposal by our President.

    Before fall 2015, the ratings will be developed through public hearings by the US Department of Education. Aid levels will then be linked to college performance through legislation. A prominent Republican leader in the Congress says that creating the metrics is not going to be easy at all. It could be controversial and complicated. He opined that ratings could lead to ‘federal price controls’ due to its arbitrary nature. 

    It is however clear that the administration can go ahead with the rating system without approval from the Congress. Through the process, colleges would be constantly consulted, promise officials from the White House.

    Former official from the Education Department Bob Shireman says that people are now taking it seriously as our President has included a lot of hard deadlines in the plan. Bob Shireman now leads a higher education focused, non-profit group called California Competes.

    He went on to say that this time around, there is no chance of this crusade going away as White House is clearly moving forward with this crusade irrespective of whether college leaders support it or not.

    Before its release, the plan was carefully kept under wraps by the White House. Higher education experts feel that the plan is highly comprehensive and largely based on competency. According to observers, as compared to the previous administrations, White House now tends to hold many closed-door meetings as far as higher education is concerned. They however feel that officials this time seem to be very sincere about letting experts from various sectors to give their opinion. 

    Anyone who has a good idea regarding development of these ratings will be given a chance to put forward their idea to the department said the domestic policy council deputy director James Kvaal to reporters.

    The choice of person from the education department who will lead the discussion is another question to be answered. After some of the top officials left, the department is as such shorthanded and K-12 issues continue to be one of the major focuses on Duncan.

    It is evident that leaders from the for-profit industry are eager to be a part of the process especially since they are always left out of regulatory discussions. They are also hopeful that flexible, online degree programs could be very helpful for them especially since our administration is deeply interested in this potentially disruptive technology.

    The primary for-profit trade group Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities CEO and President Steve Gunderson said that any student outcome devising methods are always supported by the industry. He said that the move of our President to take into account various student populations during the process of creating ratings is commendable.


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