"The bottom line is this: We've got a crisis in terms of college affordability and student debt," Obama said at the University of Buffalo. "We understand that in the face of greater and greater global competition, in a knowledge-based economy, a great education is more important than ever."
The plan calls for a rating system evaluating colleges on tuition, graduation rates, percentage of low-income students and graduates' level of debt. The system would begin in 2015 and, as an incentive for schools to curb the soaring cost of higher education, would tie the federal financial aid they receive to their ratings. The administration estimates that the average student loan borrower graduates with more than $26,000 in debt.
"It's time to stop subsidizing schools that are not producing good results and reward schools that deliver American students of our future," Obama told the crowd of more than 7,000.
Rep. John Kline (R-Minnesota), chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, does not yet support the plan but said he looks forward to examining it.
"I remain concerned that imposing an arbitrary college ranking system could curtail the very innovation we hope to encourage — and even lead to federal price controls," he said in a statement. "As always, the devil is in the details, and I look forward to examining the president’s proposal further as part of the committee’s ongoing efforts to reauthorize the Higher Education Act and help improve college affordability and access."
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(Photo: AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)