LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander urged his fellow collegiate leaders to welcome a federal higher education ratings system in an opinion piece for The Chronicle of Higher Education earlier this month.
“Right now, American students and their families are, for the most part, left to determine an institution’s value through the misconception that paying higher tuition somehow results in better educational outcomes. That way of thinking has led us to today’s ballooning student debt and skyrocketing tuition,” wrote Alexander in his opinion piece.
President Barack Obama’s plan to create a college ratings system — which would officially be called the Post-Secondary Institution Ratings System (PIRS) — has been met with some resistance. But the U.S. Department of Education is expected to release a draft of the methodology that would be used for the college ratings in the next few days.
In his opinion piece, Alexander argued that colleges and universities need to be more transparent, especially since so many students use federal loans to finance their higher education. Still, Alexander may be in the minority among his peers when it comes to supporting PIRS. A Gallup poll of 675 college and university presidents last year found that most weren’t too excited about the new rating system.
The Obama administration has said PIRS will measure schools on accessibility, affordability and student success — though no one has seen the metrics that will be used yet. Things like the percentage of a school’s students receiving Pell Grants (which are given to low-income people) and the average student loan debt upon graduating are likely to be factors in the new ratings, according