The New York Times article, “Obama’s Plan Aims to Lower Cost of College,” outlines President Obama’s ambitious proposal to make colleges more accountable and affordable by rating them and ultimately linking those ratings to federally funded financial aid. The plan is designed to rate colleges based on such measures as:

  • Tutition
  • Graduation Rates
  • Debt
  • Percentage of lower-income students who attend

It should be noted that all of this information is currently available through a variety of sources, as outlined in my book, “Show Me the Money: Scholarships, Financial Aid, and Making the Right College Choice.” However, most students and families remain confused by the complexities of the college admissions and financial aid processes. As outlined in my book, the overarching purpose of the proposal is to assist students and families in “Making the Right College Choice.”

The article notes that Ohio, Tennessee, and Indiana are moving in the direction of linking financial aid to educational outcomes. Currently, almost all of the $150 billion in annual student aid is distributed to colleges and universities based on the number of students a college enrolls, regardless of how many students graduate or how much student loan debt they incur.

Based the actions, or continuing inaction, of the current Congress, students and parents still must shoulder the responsibility of thoroughly researching colleges and their respective financial aid policies. I continue to be mystified at how many parents balk at paying $19.95 for a comprehensive guide to college admissions and financial aid planning, only to find themselves repaying thousands of dollars in student loans long after their children have left college–with or without a degree.