Obama and the Higher Education Scheme: College Rankings Federalized

by Zeynep Ozdener

We’ve all been there, searching for colleges on Collegeboard and on Google, trying to figure out where to spend the next four years of our lives. I know that I have personally searched many college ranking lists for my “dream” school, only to be disappointed that it was ranked too low or feel disheartened when it was ranked too high.

After I started college, and saw firsthand that the information I was learning was the same information being taught at other universities by professors with similar credentials as mine, I realized how trivial college rankings are. Comparing one institution to another based on a uniform set of “standards” is not realistic, simply because of the wealth of education opportunities in America.

This is why efforts to create a federal ranking system for universities is such a bad idea. It will only encourage greed and corruption by institutions who want to stay afloat in the education market and stay successful. Despite all of this, President Obama’s fantastic plan is to allocate federal aid to universities based on this new federal ranking system. He plans to include this in the Higher Education Act, which is set to be reauthorized by early next year.

College rankings exist, and they will continue to do so. Some colleges see their ranking as a point of pride, and others disregard it as irrelevant. However, the point is that they are able to do with the ranking what they wish. If a federal ranking system is put into place, every higher education institution in America will have to drastically change their policies just so they can get the amount of money they need from the government to stay afloat. Sure college rankings exist now, but as it is they are only a minor annoyance. If money becomes tied into this game then higher education as we know it is at risk of great change–most of which we cannot believe in, because it will most probably not be for the better.


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