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Michael L. Lomax recently wrote this at the Washington Post.

A proposed federal college rating system could hurt disadvantaged students

Last month, the Obama administration released the draft metrics of its long-awaited college rating system. Unfortunately, the proposed system appears to have major shortcomings — and it threatens to divert attention from the real challenges facing colleges and universities that educate large numbers of disadvantaged students.

Since the passage of the 1965 Higher Education Act, the role of the federal government has been to see that students with limited means get the opportunity for a college education. That job is far from finished — and the rating system won’t add a dollar of funding to close a growing resources gap or fulfill our nation’s promise of equal opportunity.

The rating system will, however, greatly expand federal intrusion into higher education — and it could create perverse incentives to game the ratings, potentially leading to reduced access to college for some low-income and minority students.

For anyone committed to equal opportunity, the case for expanding federal student aid is overwhelming. In the current decade, an estimated 1.4 million to 2.4 million students who are academically prepared for four-year colleges will not earn their bachelor’s degrees simply because they lack the resources to pay for college. At the same time, the maximum Pell Grant award of $5,730 now pays for less than one-third of the cost of attending a four-year public college — the lowest share in the history of the program.

The opportunity to attend college should be available to every qualified student who wants to earn a degree. And the failure to invest in equal educational opportunity is both a personal tragedy for those who will never gain the benefits of a college education and a national tragedy of wasted economic potential.