Last week President Obama proposed sweeping changes in how the federal government handles financial aid programs at colleges and universities. According to NYT, the President wants to put more money into Perkins loans, work-study programs and Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants. The catch, and it is a big one, is that institutions "would instead be rewarded for lower net tuition prices; restrained tuition growth; enrolling and graduating low-income students; and providing education and training that help graduates get jobs and repay their loan."
Since virtually every degree-granting institution participates in these programs, this would end up being a sweeping mandate. A few reactions:
1) Most public universities have seen huge budget cuts over the last four years. Some have reacted by raising tuition aggressively; others (including NC State) have done their best to hold the line on tuition.
2) More transparency in higher education would be a good thing. Why not require all schools to publish graduation rates and placement data by major? We do this routinely in MBA programs. Why not do it for liberal arts, agriculture and engineering?
3) The professoriate tends to be much more liberal than the general population. So presumably they will see the wisdom of more micromanagement from Washington and there will be nary a complaint on any college campus.