Amherst College President Biddy Martin wrote in the Chronicle of Higher Education that President Barak Obama is correct to prioritize the affordability of higher education, but urges caution in setting standards of accountability.
"Our understanding of value ought to include students’ intellectual growth and understanding; the lasting impact of what they learn and the unpredictable ways in which its benefits make themselves felt over time," she wrote. "The financial success of graduates is a crucial bottom line, but we reduce a college education to the development of job skills and future income at our collective peril."
"President Obama stresses postgraduation income for understandable reasons," she concluded, "He sees higher education as the key to a middle-class life ... Higher education has been a path to opportunity and upward mobility for countless Americans and is a significant part of the mission for which we receive public support. In return, we owe the public a concerted effort to control costs while aggressively recruiting and supporting students who might otherwise not consider or imagine graduating from our colleges—or from college at all."