The initiative, announced by Obama in a speech at the University of Buffalo (New York), would create a new grading system from academic year 2015 focused on criteria such as the average cost of tuition, student debt, rates graduation and the percentage of low-income students.
“We understand that in the face of greater and greater global competition in a knowledge-based economy, a great education is more important than ever. A higher education is the single best investment you can make in your future,” Obama said in the speech, of the first bus tour stop. "Higher education can not be a luxury.´s ," added the president.
Some of the reforms Obama is proposing will require action from Congress, while others can be enacted through the executive branch. Obama’s plan includes:
- Implementing a new rating system before the 2015 academic year that rewards colleges and universities for performance. The rating system would allow students and their families to select schools that provide the “best value.”
- Tying financial aid to college performance. Under this plan, students who receive federal aid would not receive assistance for the next semester’s courses until they have completed their current coursework.
- Promoting innovation and competition among the nation´s universities by offering students a greater range of study options, including online courses.
- Easing the burden of student loan debt by allowing all borrowers to cap loan payments at 10 percent of monthly income.