University groups brace for potential college-rating system

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Obama administration wants to establish a college-rating system that would incorporate factors like tuition, post-graduation debt, and post-graduation earnings.

Groups in the higher education field are skeptical about the idea.

What will make up the college-rating system still needs to be determined, administrators at UK are waiting to see what happens.

"The idea of having that across the country, in a standardized format, makes a lot of sense. We support that concept," UK Spokesperson Jay Blanton told WKYT.

That's only if the details are worked out to ensure fairness for the nation's variety of institutions. Blanton says students and families could benefit from a new way to pick a school.

"They need to be able to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges," Blanton said.

President of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education Robert King has his doubts on how effective the rating system will be.

"It pays no attention to the quality of the education. It's just quantity and price," said King.

He says the rating system will be skewed. For example, a school with high tuition but has graduates that don't earn a lot of money, and they acquire a high amount of debt, then the institution's rating could suffer. He fears universities or colleges will become "low cost diploma mills" in order to get a good rating.

"The president's plan is trying to use a simple idea to solve a complicated problem," King explained.

A proposal for the college-ratings is expected to be set by late next year.

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