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Details sought on college "rating system"

Rochester, N.Y. -- While President Barack Obama was preparing to speak at the University of Buffalo Thursday, James Calabrese was helping his daughter unpack at her new college.

For their family, Amanda Calabreses major was a factor, but finding a school with good value played a key role.

It was a little less than the competitors, said James Calabrese.

President Obama announced an outline for making college more affordable, a plan with an emphasis on value.

Under Obamas plan, the government would measure college performance through a new ratings system. Once established, and pending congressional approval, federal student aid would be tied to college performance, according to The White House. The idea is to steer money toward schools that provide the highest value for students.

It sounds like a good idea, said Calabrese. I would say the ratings of a school should be tied toultimatelywhere the kids land.

Local school administrators have mixed feelings on the idea of formulating a fresh ratings system tied to financial aid.

I dont see this as a huge difference, there are slightly different metrics that they are looking for, said Carol Long, Provost at SUNY Geneseo.

The one thing I hope he avoids is one formula fits all colleges, because colleges are very different, said Daan Braveman, President of Nazareth College.

For example, we produce a lot of students who become teachers, who become nurses, they become social workers, they earn less than someone who may become an engineer, added Braveman."

Is that a lower value? I dont think so.

Republican Congressman John Kline of Minnesota chairs the House Committee on Education and the Workforce said the following about president Obamas proposed reforms:

While I am pleased the presidents new plan recognizes the importance of promoting innovation and competition in higher education, 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. As always, the devil is in the details, and I look forward to examining the presidents proposal further as part of the committees ongoing efforts to reauthorize the Higher Education Act and help improve college affordability and access.

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Washington Times