The April 28 edition of Time has a short article about the federal government’s new plan to evaluate colleges. According to the article, the Obama administration would like to see the amount of federal aid a higher education institution receives be based upon this new ranking system. I found myself feeling ambivalent about the rating system. On one hand, I feel as though a ranking system is needed to ensure that the $150 billion the government earmarks for undergraduate education is not wasted on colleges that have poor graduation rates and/or give worthless degrees. On the other hand, the problem of choosing what factors to measure for the rankings is difficult — to say the least. For just about every factor I can think of (graduation rate, amount of scholarships offered, etc.) there is some some good reason not to include the measure when calculating the ranking.
So . . . do the potential costs of doing nothing to fix the system outweigh the potential costs of attempting the new rankings?