This is another comment on.
(The first comment is here.)
“Colleges have ashown themselves adept at “solving for the winning solution”(as in “need fewer transfers to get a higher US News ranking?”, just add to dorms, subract from educational requirements, problem solved).
Of course, no less should be expected from institutions with smart, unscrupulous leaders, willing followers (aka faculty), and naive “customers” (once quaintly referrred to as “students”).
If the administration is going to rate colleges on “…measures like dropout rates, earnings of graduates and affordability…” , I have no doubt that many schools will easily find the “winning solution.
Dropouts? Keep “customers” with more fun. less work and less stress. Of course, you could maintain standards (as low as they already are) and them more help from the faculty…but, then there is affordability. And many would drop out anyway.
Earnings? That’s already easy. The National Association of Colleges and Employers reported that in 2011 the “…median employer-based data…[of] actual starting salaries…” was $40,735. But, if you count graduates with only a part time job, or no job (but looking), it is $27,000. (See my blogpost “Median Starting Salaries for College Graduates $27,000 or $40,735?’ for links to the data. It’s at inside-higher-ed .)
It’s going to take a deep understanding of how colleges work before we can develop good policy. More importantly, it is going to take a lot of political will. They are powerful institutions.”