College costs have been rising for decades. Slowing — or even better, reversing — that trend would get more people into college and help reduce student debt. The Obama administration is working on an ambitious plan intended to rein in college costs, and it deserves credit for tackling this tough job.
Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s going to work, at least not in controlling tuition at public colleges, which enroll a vast majority of students. The plan might dampen prices at expensive private colleges, but some of them may close if they can’t survive on lower tuition.
The program is an attempt to rate colleges according to practical measures like dropout rates, earnings of graduates and affordability. The aim is to improve the quality of higher education while also bringing down costs.