Scholars scrutinized the impact of the Obama administration’s proposed college ratings plan and other policies on minority-serving institutions and minority students Tuesday at a Capitol Hill forum hosted by the UCLA Civil Rights Project and cosponsored by ACE’s Center for Policy Research and Strategy, among others.
One key theme that emerged was that although accountability plays an important role for higher education, the current proposal to rate colleges could disproportionately harm MSIs. Using metrics like graduation rate, for instance, might negatively impact an MSI’s rating as these institutions most often serve populations that do not have access to high-quality pre-college preparation, a major predictor of postsecondary completion.
Deputy Under Secretary of Education Jamienne Studley was among the participants, and she said that the department was taking potential unintended consequences into consideration in developing the new system.
In addition to the impact of the ratings system, speakers also discussed the composition of the student body at MSIs and the special role they play in student success, student loan policy and the concept of “education deserts,” where access to postsecondary education is limited or non-existent.
The entire forum is now available to watch on C-SPAN in three parts (see parts one, two and three), and several summaries appeared in the trade press:
Education Dept. Tells Ratings Skeptics Their Concerns Are Valid
The Chronicle of Higher Education (Sept. 2, 2014)
Blaming the Victims?
Inside Higher Ed (Sept. 3, 2014)
Scholars: Proposed College Rating System Penalizes Minority-Serving Institutions
Diverse: Issues In Higher Education (Sept. 2, 2014)