NASPA has joined with 25 other leading higher education associations to provide comments on the Postsecondary Institution Ratings System (PIRS) framework released by the U.S. Department of Education on December 19th. In a letter submitted to the Department on February 15th, the joining associations raised critical concerns prior to the release of the initial ratings – expected in the coming months ahead of the 2015-16 academic year.
President Obama’s goal to support the college-choice decision-making process of students by elevating access to actionable information through the ratings system is commendable. However, the lack of detail surrounding the metrics as well as the limited time frame in which institutions will be able to study and provide feedback on the worthiness of the final metrics create heavy concern among members of the higher education community. Further, we question whether the metrics offer a true reflection of institutional performance and raise issue with the potential for misinformation provided through the ratings system to negatively affect student choice.
In the letter, we articulate our concerns and request that the Department reconsider the release of the ratings system.