http://higheredwatch.newamerica.net/sites/all/themes/nafbase/images/logo.pngBy Clare McCann. President Obama’s new higher education proposal, just announced in a speech at SUNY-Buffalo this morning, would require the Department of Education to develop college ratings that highlight schools’ value by the 2014-15 school year. Once the ratings are developed, the plan is to then tie federal dollars to performance. Though students could continue to choose whichever college they want, federal dollars, at least, would be funneled toward the highest-value programs (and presumably, funneled away from the lowest-value programs). A ratings system along the proposed dimensions of access, affordability, and outcomes would provide students and families much deeper and better information about the quality and cost of their prospective colleges than they have now. More...