I don’t know about everyone else, but when I say I go to Kalamazoo College, I think I’m getting just as good, if not a better, education than I would have at Harvard.
However, it’s difficult for people that haven’t gone to school here and experienced what we have to really understand that. Our smaller class sizes, lack of prominent alumni figures, and having a considerably less known name than Harvard make comparing the two almost impossible.
However, the Obama administration wants to do just that, and put all four year colleges on the same pedestal and rate them based on numbers such as graduation rates, tuition cost, scholarships, and GPA’s.
While comparing Kalamazoo and Harvard is difficult enough, the larger issue is that this system is attempting to dismantle institutions that serve people of color and benefit the already privileged universities catering to the white majority.
Because institutions like Harvard only admit the elite and thus better prepared students, their graduation rates and GPA scores would be higher than at Historically Black Colleges/Universities, or HBCU’s.
This means that this rating system would be sending middle class and people of color to universities where they would have no support system, which is rather counter-intuitive of the whole process.
The rating system also looks at the amount of financial aid, which makes sense for lower/middle class students trying to find a way to attend college. However, the way financial aid is distributed is also skewed.
Schools that have the highest financial aid endowments also have high graduation rates and GPAs, which is considerably easier when a large majority of the students that attend are white or upper middle class.
Not surprisingly, the college rating system in place right now does not give credit to the difficulties that students who attend HBCUs have, such as not being able to afford all four years of school and not being as well prepared as their white peers.
The largest issue that many have about this rating system is that in order to stay afloat in this competitive atmosphere, institutions that used to admit more at-risk students may enroll less to raise their ratings and also their financial aid.
This cycle is an easy way to dismantle all of the institutions that have dedicated themselves to serving students from lower/middle class disadvantaged America and turn them into the hundreds of thriving schools that cater to the majority.
While the rating system has good intentions, it is definitely problematic and, without serious structural reformatting and acknowledgment of the differences between schools such as K and Dillard University, this system will continue to exploit people of color and continue catering to the white majority.