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  • Scepticism among college presidents over Obama’s affordable higher education promotion plan
  • Posted By:
  • Kathy H
  • Posted On:
  • 21-Dec-2013
  • Our President does indeed have elaborate plans to ensure students are able to access higher education in an affordable manner and are able to make informed choices. Most of the college presidents in our country however have their own doubts on this. They feel that the only beneficiaries will be the wealthy universities and colleges that will get a better ranking in the rating system proposed by our president.

    This fact was revealed by a poll conducted by Gallup. At least 675 American university and college presidents responded to the poll which helped reduce the error margin to 3.8% plus or minus.
    There is no doubt that this plan is on the top priority list of the administration right now which is why all the college presidents who took the poll were assured of optimum anonymity.

    According to this plan, colleges will be put through a new rating system based on aspects such as access, affordability and outcomes like graduate earnings and graduation rates. All student aid will then be linked to this plan. This means favourable student loan rates and larger Pell Grants will be given to students enrolling in colleges that perform high based on these rating criteria.

    There is no official confirmation or information on the actual way of working of the system. Officials however point out that institutions with similar agenda will be compared with the colleges to arrive at a rating.

    Though there is a widespread appreciation for our President on the way he has been trying hard to promote higher education, this plan does face scepticism by college presidents. The level of opposition to the plan among them is evident with the fact that when asked as to how effectively the plan would succeed in making our education system affordable, only 2% of them thought it would.

    Only 19% college presidents felt that their institutions will benefit from a positive impact from this plan. Most of them were doubtful about how exactly certain criteria were going to be met. Formula for college ratings are thought to be more complicated than they should be. All parts of the formula except for the graduation rates met with scepticism from the presidents.

    Aspects such as enrolment of Pell Grant students reminded them of political rhetoric and did not augur well as rating system criteria. Earnings average of graduates is a highly debatable topic among higher education experts. This potential measure continues to be hotly debated with it being strongly questioned by liberal arts college presidents.

    According to them, their colleges focus on providing comprehensive education for students equipping them to be potential leaders in all aspects of their lives. This means, the focus is hardly on their first job after graduation. Students are taught how to handle their entire life, not just find a lucrative first job.
    It should however be noted here that most rating systems in our country take into consideration income of graduates. As a part of their advertising initiatives, colleges too boast about these results.


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