President Obama is in the process of creating a substantial federal regulatory program aimed at “scoring” colleges, universities, and vocational programs (such as tech schools). While the White House was initially going to work with Congress on this, the President appears to be taking a more “executive action” approach to implementation.
The program is still being designed, but the basic idea is that the government would rate institutions of higher education based on whether they provide the majority of their students with gainful employment after they complete their education- employment that would allow them to pay back their student loans and avoid default. Advocates of the program hope that such a scoring system would provide students with a metric to gauge the potential value of their education, and in effect, would also penalize those institutions that do not set their students up for success.
Of course, the program has its critics, including the schools themselves, about how effective this program will even be. Indeed, there are legitimate questions about whether this initiative will actually provide students with a valuable resource, and whether they will even use it. How many 18-year-olds do you know of who are thinking about college in terms of value or return on investment? At the same time, I tend to think that generally speaking, more information would be quite helpful to those seeking it.
Is this the answer to the student loan debt crisis? No way. But can it help? Maybe.