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New rating system to impact Universities

A proposed federal higher education rating system could change the way the University functions and is funded.

While there’s no telling yet what the criteria for the rating system will be, Vice Provost Joe Frizado said the “devil [will be] in the details.”

The University’s ratings are determined by private organizations such as U.S. News and World Report. Like these rating systems, a government operated one could be subject to flaws, Frizado said.

“Any ranking system can be a blessing or a curse depending on how it’s applied,” he said. “Sometimes we place too great a store on a rating system instead of looking at what it’s based upon.”

Universities are often ranked in systems based on opinions of people such as college presidents and guidance counselors, he said.

The U.S. News and World Report rankings also base its numbers off6enrollment numbers, tuition fees and student-faculty ratio. The University is ranked 173 out of 1800 universities in the rankings, tied with Ball State University and Western Michigan University, among others.

The system will be tied to federal funding for universities, which Frizado said has “gotten everybody’s attention.”

“There’s a lot of nervous anxiety about it,” he said.

One of system’s components could be how well graduates do in the job market and how high their salaries are, Frizado said. This type of criteria could be a disadvantage for the University, he said.

The University does not have a college of engineering, a medical school or a law school. A high percentage of graduates get education degrees, which Frizado said has a dramatically different average salary than degrees in law and medicine.

Senior Ashlee Norman is concerned with the ties between federal funding and the rankings and what it could mean for smaller universities that might fall lower on the list. She thinks the decreased funding could impact students.

“[It’s] extremely unfair because college is already expensive,” she said.

Senior Brandon Slone thinks that funding schools based off rankings could be harmful, but he’s waiting to see what criteria universities will be ranked on before he makes a judgment of the system.

“I just personally disagree that funding should be based on [rankings],” he said, “but it does depend on the actual criteria.”

Although this system may prove problematic for some schools, Frizado said Ohio universities are already acclimated to funding being tied to performance through state laws.

Half of state funding to the University is currently based off the completion of degrees, he said.

The University could make small adjustments to compete in this ranking system, but Frizado said it can’t realistically make dramatic changes.

“We’re not going to go out and build a college of engineering tomorrow to raise the potential salaries of our graduates in four or five years from now,” he said.

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