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The President wants to rate colleges to increase competition and cut student-loan debt. The campus backlash has begun
You’ll be forgiven if you’ve never heard of Lesley University. The small, private liberal arts school exists almost literally in the shadow of Harvard, scattered across a handful of brick buildings and Victorian mansions in Cambridge, Mass. With only 1,650 undergraduates and a Division III sports program, Lesley rarely makes headlines. But lately its president, Joseph Moore, has been making some noise.
What’s got him going is President Obama’s plan to assign an official government rating to every college and university in the country, from tiny faith-based schools to giant state flagships, and then allocate federal financial aid according to those ratings. “When I first heard about the plan, I thought, Holy smokes,” Moore says, “what kind of scientific nightmare are we getting ourselves into here?”
While the Administration hasn’t announced how it’ll go about determining ratings, schools across the country are clearly worried. Once the government imposes its promised tests to evaluate things like accessibility, affordability and student performance after graduation, chances are that small, pricey colleges like Lesley might not stack up well.