ED Pulls Back On Ratings System

By Megan McClean, Policy & Federal Relations Staff 

Deputy Under Secretary of Education, Jamienne Studley, announced yesterday that the Department of Education (ED) would not be releasing the highly-anticipated college ratings system. The proposed Postsecondary Institution Ratings System (PIRS), announced first in August 2013 by President Obama, was due to come out prior to the 2015-16 award year. ED released a draft framework, devoid of much detail, in December 2014.

Highly controversial since its announcement, the ratings system received a great deal of criticism from the higher education community, with concerns about the feasibility of the undertaking and, more philosophically, the appropriateness of the federal government determining institutional value. While supporting the spirit of transparency, NASFAA offered several points of feedback on the proposed PIRS, highlighting concerns about the quality of data at the postsecondary level, the way in which ED would determine institutions’ peer groups, and the need to utilize input adjusted metrics. NASFAA’s offered comment on PIRS through several outlets, found below:

In lieu of the ratings system, ED plans to add to its existing plethora of consumer information initiatives by creating a consumer-facing website that will include information about colleges, but not rank them. Consumers will, however, have the ability to compare institutions to one another. It is unclear when this website will be available and what data will be included. NASFAA will keep you up to date as we learn more information about the website. Stay tuned to Today’s News for more details.


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