In a country with a combined total of more than 4,000 two-year and four-year colleges and an economy that has made strides to benefit low-income households, the idea to establish a sure path to middle class through education is critical.
The College Scorecard rating system proposed by President Barack Obama will widen opportunities for students who by other means could not pay off their college loans or graduate debt-free.
With plans of being implemented as soon as 2015, this new system will evaluate colleges based upon average tuition costs, the amount of low-income students they enroll and their effectiveness in making sure students graduate with little or no debt.
The average college student graduates with more than $26,000 dollars in debt, Obama said in his Aug. 24, 2013 weekly address. The focus of his proposal is to increase college graduation rates, reduce the amount of years necessary to earn degrees, decreasing loan rates, and better allocation of median borrowing.
Once the rating system is put in place it will help students decide which schools best fit student’s financial needs and will reduce college loans, which are at an all-time high for low-income families.
Pierce currently has the highest debt per month among the nine colleges in the Los Angeles Community College District, yet it has the 2nd highest rate of graduation which would make it one of the beneficiaries of this rating system proposal.
Disapproval of this system came almost immediately with opposition claiming the policy will limit accessibility for people who can only attend colleges nearest to them or ones that have low tuitions.
Technically, this claim goes against itself. A person’s college accessibility is not simply determined by geographical or economic status, but rather the student’s will to excel. If a genius in a low-income house was confined to the schools in their own environment, then our institution of higher education would be fundamentally flawed.
Although the proposal is meant to offer more competition amongst schools, the service is not a ranking system and is best suited for people with limited financial resources rather than those looking for the highest academic standard.
As early as his first presidential campaign, Obama has pushed to reform higher education and instituted several measures to increase college funding and improve affordability.
While some critics say he hasn’t fully delivered on these undertakings, Obama increased the maximum federal grant level by $17 billion dollars through the expansion of the American and Reinvestment Act, which boosted the amount of students able to receive grants and return to college.
The ratings for these colleges include opportunity, whether or not they are helping students from all backgrounds graduate, and provide a value to students and parents.