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ASSOCIATION FOR CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION

ED Seeks Input on College Ratings System

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January 13, 2014

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ED Seeks Input on College Ratings System

Over the summer, President Obama announced plans to create a federal ratings system for the nation’s colleges and universities. His goal for the new system is to allow students to more easily compare institutions to one another based on “college value, access and affordability.” The ratings system could  (with congressional authorization) also reshape the financial aid system by terminating aid eligibility for students at institutions with low ratings and increasing aid available at institutions with higher ratings.

The Department of Education has stated that the ratings system could take into account tuition costs, enrollment of low-income students, graduation rates, job placements rates, graduate earnings, and other factors in determining the final rating of an institution. For the past few months, the department has conducted listening sessions around the country to solicit comments, concerns and suggestions from higher education stakeholders on creating and implementing the proposed system.

A session held at ACTE’s Career Tech VISION 2013 in Las Vegas in December gave CTE postsecondary stakeholders an opportunity to make their voices heard with department officials. Several stakeholders at this session raised concerns that rating institutions is not as black and white as the department has proposed, stating that a ratings system cannot be as simple as “this community college is better than that one” due to differences in student populations and their individual goals determining success.

Concerns also arose surrounding the comparison of smaller institutions with fewer resources to larger institutions with a larger student population and greater program offerings, which may have differing missions. Additionally, there were numerous data collection and quality issues raised by stakeholders that must be addressed before any ratings could be considered valid and reliable.

The department is still taking comments from stakeholders until January 31 through the federal government’s regulations website. If you are a postsecondary CTE stakeholder, ACTE encourages you to make your comments about the proposed ratings system heard.

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The Association for Career and Technical Education is the nation’s largest not-for-profit education association dedicated to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. Founded in 1926, ACTE has more than 25,000 members; career and technical educators, administrators, researchers, guidance counselors and others involved in planning and conducting career and technical education programs at the secondary, postsecondary and adult levels. ACTE provides advocacy, public awareness and access to information on career and technical education, professional development and tools that enable members to be successful and effective leaders.

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ACTE is committed to enhancing the job performance and satisfaction of its members; to increasing public awareness and appreciation for career and technical programs; and to assuring growth in local, state and federal funding for these programs by communicating and working with legislators and government leaders.

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