The Department of Education’s college ratings plan: Stay tuned

Jessica Kourkounis, Getty Images

The U.S. Department of Education has finally released the outline of its college ratings plan, 16 months after the idea was first proposed by President Barack Obama. When he first suggested the plan, he said, “Bottom line is this: We’ve got a crisis in terms of college affordability and student debt. … It is time to stop subsidizing schools that are not producing good results and reward schools that deliver for American students and our future.”

The plan – and it truly is just a plan, not a fully-formed program – focuses on many of the measures that department officials have been talking about over the ensuing period. This includes such metrics as average net price (after taking into account financial aid), the net price paid by students from families of different income levels, proportion of students receiving Pell Grants (the primary federal need-based grant program, an indicator of how many low- and moderate-income students a college enrolls), proportion of first-generation college students, graduation rates, and loan repayment rates.

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