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Templates Proposed to Address Institutional Accountability

July 11, 2007

In response to the increasing pressure from Congress and the U.S. Department of Education for colleges and universities to provide data on accountability measures and learning outcomes, two associations representing public universities have unveiled a draft template proposing their own "Voluntary System of Accountability." The American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges would use the system to ask institutions to voluntarily provide data on graduation and retention rates, financial aid, tuition and other costs, and students’ performance on standardized measures of learning outcomes, most of which are already available on college campuses.  The two associations anticipate board approval of the system in November. 

Similarly, the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities has also developed a template that will provide consumer-friendly institutional profiles for students and families. Posted in a central location, the profiles will link to additional descriptive information on college Web sites. NAICU’s "University and College Accountability Network," also known as U-CAN, will not require participating institutions to present student-learning outcome assessments in a standardized format.

For more information on these organizational initiatives and templates, visit the Voluntary System of Accountability Web page and NAICU’s U-CAN Web page.