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Colleges Already Working On President’s Affordability Plan

President Obama announced a plan Thursday to rate colleges based on affordability.

iu sample gates

Photo: Courtesy of Indiana University

The president's plan would ultimately tie federal financial aid to affordability rankings.

Incoming Indiana University freshman Kyle Jennings says he applied to only one college. He came for IU’s business school — the ratings from sources like U.S. News & World Report influenced his decision.

“There are websites everywhere that say Kelly is one of the top 10 teachers, from highs school the students from Kelly those kind of things,” says Jennings.

President Obama announced Thursday he wants to add another college rating Jennings might consider — one that would rank schools based on their affordability.

“So that means metrics how much debt does the average students leave with, how easy is it to pay off, how many students graduate on time, how well do those graduates do in the work force,” Obama said during a press conference.

The president says he wants these rankings in place by 2015. By 2018, his administration hopes to tie these rankings to the distribution of federal financial aid, which currently is allocated in based on the numbers of students enrolled at a school.

But IU spokesperson Mark Land says many schools were already moving in this direction before Obama announced his college affordability plan.

“IU Bloomington has the highest 4 and 6 year graduate rate at any public university campus in Indiana and above the national average for public institutions,” says Land. “So when you look at those kind of measures, we feel pretty happy about where we would be.”

For people paying back student loans, Obama wants to cap their payments at 10 percent of their monthly income. But like many parts of the plan, that provision would need the approval of Congress.

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