WASHINGTON (AP) — The Education Department is seeking the public’s help in developing a rating system for America’s colleges and universities.

The department announced Wednesday that it will be playing host to public forums on the ratings system next month in California, Virginia, Iowa and Louisiana with plans to present a draft system late next year.

The goal of the ratings system sought by President Barack Obama is to help reign in the rising costs of college and to make institutions of higher learning more accountable in areas such as graduation rates.

Members of the higher education community have questioned whether it is the federal government’s job to create such a system and whether it would be fair.