A look at the current set of comments to Obama administration’s proposed college rating system reveals much confusion about program goals and a great deal skepticism about its viability.

It’s like Obamacare for Higher Education!

The Obama administration on Thursday released hundreds of pages of formal comments on its proposed college rating system, documents that mostly underscore the deep reservations that many higher education leaders have about the plan but also highlight pockets of support.

Nearly every major higher education group submitting comments on the rating system expressed concerns about the proposal.

Molly Corbett Broad, president of the American Council on Education, in a letter signed by 19 higher education associations, outlined a range of pragmatic concerns about how the ratings regime may harm higher education but also questioned whether producing such a system was an appropriate role for the federal government to play in the first place.

“Beyond the many questions and technical challenges that surround the development and implementation of a proposed rating system, rating colleges and universities is a significant expansion of the federal role in higher education and breaks new ground for the department,” Broad wrote. “Moreover, it is extremely important to note that a federal rating system will carry considerably more weight and authority than those done by others.”

Comments from other higher education associations largely echoed the concerns of many college leaders: they worry that a ratings system will create improper incentives for institutions, undermine the value of higher education and cut off access to institutions that serve low-income and underprivileged students.

But none were as forceful in criticizing the proposed ratings system as the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. David Warren, the group’s president, said that his members were fundamentally opposed to the concept of a college ratings system.

“Private, independent college leaders do not believe it is possible to create a single metric that can successfully compare the broad array of American higher education institutions without creating serious unintended consequences,” Warren wrote, adding that any rating system would reflect policy makers’ priorities rather than those of individual students searching for a college.

“By its nature, a metric is quantitative,” he wrote. “Whereas finding a ‘best fit’ college has qualitative aspects that are equally as, or even more important than, the quantitative aspects.”