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Students, Families Should Lead on Reforming Higher Education

Students, Families Should Lead on Reforming Higher Education

Arbitrary Ranking of Schools Stifles Competition and Innovation

(Washington, D.C.) – In the wake of several recent speeches by President Obama regarding higher education the Department of Education is expected to develop a "value-based" system for ranking American colleges and universities. Over a period of months, the Department will solicit the views of students and educators about a process for evaluating how schools keep tuition rates and student loan debt down, and how well graduates do in the job market post-graduation. The President will encourage Congress to tie federal aid for higher education to this system of ranking that is being characterized as an effort to 'shame' or 'punish' schools that do not excel in a  new ranking system. Millions of dollars in annual federal aid could wind up being steered to some institutions and not others, if the President's recommendations are adopted.

The House Committee on Education and the Workforce has solicited input from teachers, schools and the general public regarding reforms to higher education as part of an effort to reauthorize the Higher Education Act before it expires at the end of this year. Congress is expected to consider reforms endorsed by the Obama Administration during this debate.

Daniel Garza, Executive Director of The LIBRE Initiative released the following statement:

"Congress should reject proposals that put Washington bureaucrats and college administrators ahead of students and families when it comes to deciding schools. Everyone will be better off if Washington instead focuses on promoting informed individual choices, and not on more government standards that sound well-intentioned, but simply guarantee less choice, less innovation and millions in taxpayer bonuses to government-favored colleges. Everyone should support measures to increase transparency in institutes of higher learning that provide students with better information about the costs and advantages of their institutions and their job prospects later on. But to impose another government-run program and arbitrary ranking system to the private sector complicates the process and gets in the way of competition and innovation.

While we should applaud universities that deliver graduates with a degree and guaranteed employment thereafter, the President needs to recognize that all of America's students would have better job prospects out of college if leaders in Washington focused on a new approaches to growing our economy – centered on entrepreneurship and opportunity, rather than more regulations on businesses, government spending and now, higher institutes of learning."

For interviews with a LIBRE representative, please contact: Judy Pino, 202-578-6424 or Brian Faughnan, 571-257-3309.