College Ratings System Draft Framework Released

January 2015

The U.S. Department of Education released a draft framework for a college ratings system on December 19. The ratings proposal would place individual institutions of higher education into one of three categories: high-performing, low-performing, and those in the middle, with comparable groupings by two-year and four-year programs.

The department seeks to rate institutions on three sets of metrics: access, affordability, and outcomes. The access indicators would include percentage of Pell Grant recipients enrolled, family income quintiles, and first-generation college status. Affordability indicators would include average net price and net price by quintile. Lastly, outcome metrics would include completion rates, transfer rates, and labor market success.

The department is soliciting specific feedback on the metrics and ratings. Comments are due to the department on February 19 and may be submitted via email to