Comment on FR Doc # N/A


Furman University’s Response to the Proposed College Ratings System

The Department of Education has invited comments on its efforts to create a Postsecondary Institution Ratings System (PIRS) to complement the existing College Scorecard as requested by President Obama. While Furman University strongly supports the President’s desire that students and their families have easy access to the best available information to aid them in their selection of a school for postsecondary education, Furman does not support the creation of a ratings system.

Furman believes that the information already collected through the IPEDS surveys and made available through College Navigator and the College Scorecard, along with similar sources of information, such as the U-CAN site maintained by NAICU, College Straight Talk, US News and World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges,” and numerous college guides, provide more than adequate information to students, their families and their guidance counselors. Improvements in the display of the existing information collected by the government would be the most and only important improvement to the current federal system.

Furman’s opposition to the creation of a ratings system is detailed in the following points:

There exists no methodology for creating a “rating.” Any attempt to create a methodology is doomed to fail because there will be no agreement as to the items to include in such a rating. Even if there were agreement as to the items to include, the weighting to give to each item would always remain in dispute.

If such a rating system were to be created, it would carry with it implications as to the worth or value of the instruction provided by the individual institutions. The diverse nature of postsecondary institutions, even within the same Carnegie classification, makes any effort to “rank” them meaningless.

The proposed items for the rating system include future employment and salary information. There is no existing means for collecting such information. Even if a collection method could be devised, its use would be burdensome for institutions. More importantly, whatever data were collected would be virtually unverifiable as to their accuracy. Finally, the value of postsecondary education goes well beyond its value as a means to future employment.

Furman encourages the Department to streamline its current information system so as to make comparisons of the characteristics of several institutions at the same time more efficient. Should a user then wish to look at the rich detail available about a given institution, he or she could then mine the wealth of information already collected by the Department.

Dr. Carl F. Kohrt
Interim President
Furman University
Greenville, South Carolina
Comment Period Closed
Jan 31 2014, at 11:59 PM ET
ID: ED-2013-IES-0151-0014
Tracking Number: 1jy-89vv-wc5e

Document Information

Date Posted: Feb 6, 2014
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Submitter Information

Submitter Name: Carl Kohrt
Category: Institution of Higher Education