Concerned about President Obama's new plan that seeks to tie federal aid to college costs, Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline said "the devil is in the details."

Obama on Thursday unveiled plans for a system that would rate colleges based on their value for the money students spend on tuition -- then tie those ratings to disbursement of federal student aid.

Tuition costs at U.S. colleges have soared over the past three decades, forcing students and families to take on more debt to afford a college degree. A report released this summer by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education showed that 2010 graduates racked up $29,800 in debt, on average.

Obama's plan would create a ratings system that would allow students and parents to select schools based on the best value. The proposal also would urge Congress to tie federal student aid to college performance, creating an incentive for schools to keep costs in check.

"While I am pleased the president's new plan recognizes the importance of promoting innovation and competition in higher education, I remain concerned that imposing an arbitrary college ranking system could curtail the very innovation we hope to encourage -- and even lead to federal price controls," said Kline, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee.

According to the White House, the average tuition at a four-year public college has increased by more than 250 percent over the past three decades. Over that same period, the average family income increased only 16 percent.


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