We have reported that many higher education luminaries, including Janet Napolitano (Former U.S. homeland security secretary turned as president of the University of California system), expressed skepticism about the workability of a college rating system the Obama administration is developing.

Inside Higher Ed’s Michael Stratford reports on the comments received about the proposal, obtained during town hall sessions on college campuses, a handful of open hearings, and closed-door meetings with college presidents and student leaders.

College leaders and especially faculty members wrote that they were concerned about how the department would factor graduates’ earnings into a rating system, worrying that such a focus does not reflect the true value of higher education. They said they were also concerned that the use of earnings data would punish colleges for producing graduates in important but lower-earning fields, such as teaching or nonprofit work.

A December Gallup/Inside Higher Ed poll found that that most college presidents are skeptical that the ratings system will be effective in reducing the cost of college.

One professor, for instance, wrote that she was concerned that the rating system would treat education “as if it were a stock investment, making earnings after graduation a sign of the quality of one’s education.”

The majority of people who emailed the department were critical of the ratings system, but several who wrote in did embrace the idea.

For instance, the Education Trust, a nonprofit organization that advocates for low-income students, wrote that it supports the department’s efforts to develop a ratings system. Such a system would, among other things, highlight the success gaps for low-income and minority students in higher education and help institutions better serve those students, the organization said.