Reps. Capuano and Goodlatte: College Ratings System Misguided

June 10, 2014

Congressmen Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Michael Capuano (D-Mass) released the following statements upon introducing H. Res. 614, a resolution opposing the President’s proposal to create a college ratings system.

“I share President Obama’s belief that everyone has the right to develop his or her potential to the fullest, and that for many students, post-secondary education will prove enriching in both intellectual and material ways,” said Congressman Capuano. “To achieve this ideal and help our students compete globally, we must make higher education more affordable and accessible, and I appreciate the President’s commitment to that goal. Nonetheless, I have a number of concerns about aspects of the President’s Plan to Make College More Affordable.Specifically, some of the criteria proposed for a new college ratings system strike me as short-sighted and even counter-productive ” The Congressman continued, “For example, judging the value — or the “value-added” — of a college by the earning of its graduates could cause schools to discourage alumni from public service and a variety of essential, rewarding but unremunerative careers. I hope my colleagues will join us in opposing this proposed ratings system.”

“Personality, location, availability of a major, tuition rates — all factors students might use when choosing which college or university to attend. The opportunities and experiences available to students at our nation’s colleges and universities are as diverse as the students who attend these institutions. In making this important decision, students and their families know best what will meet their educational needs,” stated Congressman Goodlatte. “It is not the place of the federal government, through a ratings system, to attempt to measure the value of an individual’s education. I have spoken with a number of college and university presidents who are concerned about the negative impact this proposal may have on higher education, and I share their concerns,” he added. “The resolution introduced today strongly supports the quality and value of diversity in our higher education system and makes clear that the Administration’s proposed college ratings system is not feasible and if attempted, would decrease choice, diversity, and innovation. I urge my colleagues in the House to join us in voicing opposition to the Administration’s misguided ratings system.”

In August 2013, the Department of Education announced they would develop a Postsecondary Institution Ratings System (PIRS), or college ratings system, as part of the Obama Administration’s Plan to Make College More Affordable. The system is set to be enacted prior to the start of the 2015 school year. This ratings system, as proposed, would potentially tie financial aid to an institution’s rating. The original proposal suggested ratings would be based on measures such as the percentage of students receiving Pell grants, average tuition, loan debt, graduation rates, graduate earnings, and advanced degrees. The Department of Education has yet to release a draft of the specific formula that would be used to determine college ratings. Congressmen Goodlatte and Capuano represent more than 50 colleges and universities.

Contact: Alison Mills (Rep. Capuano) 617-621-6208