NAICU Washington Update

Department of Education Will Not Develop Ratings System

July 01, 2015

The U.S. Department of Education announced June 25, 2015, that it no longer plans to develop a federal postsecondary institutional ratings system. Instead, the Education Department will implement a “consumer-facing tool” designed to help students, families, and school counselors identify and select colleges. NAICU has been told to anticipate a “late summer” unveiling of this new tool.

This is a welcomed change in direction in implementing President Obama’s 2013 call for a new system to rate colleges and universities. NAICU presidents were actively engaged in articulating the concerns and unintended consequences of such a rating system.

During the dialogue on the ratings with the Education Department, NAICU members urged officials to look at the Association’s University and College Accountability Network (UCAN) initiative as a model and design a tool that meets the information needs of students and families. The total number of participating institutions, and the transparency of UCAN, were both important contributions  to the conversations between college presidents and Education Department officials.

In the coming weeks, NAICU hopes to work with the Education Department as it moves forward in developing its new tool. We also will watch the appropriations process closely as both the House and Senate versions of the FY 2016 appropriations bills for Labor-Health and Human Services-Education contain provisions banning the use of any federal funds for the creation of a federal ratings system.

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