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College Portrait

A Voluntary System of Accountability

The College Portrait was developed to improve people’s understanding of how public colleges and universities operate.  Because the information provided in the College Portrait is developed from a common reporting template, it provides consistent, comparable, transparent data regarding the characteristics of individual institutions, their students, the cost of attendance, student engagement, and basic educational outcomes.  By reviewing the College Portraits of various colleges and universities, students have the opportunity to choose the institution that best meets their abilities, interests, and goals.

The Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) is a voluntary initiative for 4-year public colleges and universities. Developed through a partnership between the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), the VSA is designed to help institutions meet the following objectives:

  • Demonstrate accountability and stewardship to the public
  • Measure educational outcomes to identify effective educational practices
  • Assemble information that is accessible, understandable, and comparable
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