Barack Obama will today unveil an ambitious plan designed to steer students to colleges that provide decent value for their tuition dollars. Under a draft proposal obtained by the New York Times, the government would rate schools based on tuition, graduation rates, graduates' debt and earnings, and low-income student acceptance. Federal student aid money would then be linked to that rating. Ratings would appear by 2015, and affect aid by 2018. The plan would also force schools with high drop-out rates to dole out aid gradually to still-active students, so money is not wasted if they drop out, the AP reports.
"It’s important to us that colleges offer good value for their tuition dollars," one administration official says, adding that "there is bipartisan support for some of these ideas." Ohio, Tennessee, and Indiana, which all have Republican governors, are working on similar programs. But many colleges will likely protest, and the aid portion of the plan will have to brave the always shark-infested waters of Congress. Obama has planned a two-day bus trip to promote the plan, USA Today reports, starting today at the University of Buffalo. (Read more Barack Obama stories.)