I share and applaud President Obama's interest in promoting value and affordability in higher education, as well as increasing opportunities for low- and middle-income students and families. I also applaud the concept of ratings -- not rankings. As the administration develops its strategy for assessing college performance, I ask them to keep in mind the following points:
-The breadth of educational offerings we provide in our country demands an evaluation system that takes into account a variety of institutional missions and student demographics. Indeed, that variety is one of the great strengths of the American system of higher education.
-Post-graduate success is contingent upon more than income. Careers in public service, non-profit sector, and teaching are integral to our communities. Ratings that put too much emphasis on graduate earnings could dissuade institutions from encouraging their students to pursue careers that are of great value to our communities.
I have to presume that President Obama recognizes that for many students, there's more to college than gaining the credentials for their first job--especially as many of today's students will require an education that prepares them for engaged citizenship and a series of careers throughout their lifetimes. As President Obama and his administration refine the details of their plan, I urge them to consider the value of an education that provides that flexibility.
--Janet Morgan Riggs, Gettysburg College President
From the Harrisburg Patriot-News