• The Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA)

    Clear, accessible, and comparable information
    on the undergraduate student experience.

  • Screenshot

    Visit the College Portrait Website!

    Explore over 300 college portraits from public universities across the nation at www.collegeportraits.org .

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    Sign Up for the VSA!

    Simple, straightforward presentation of comparable information directly from public universities at no charge to students and families.Data elements selected based on input from students and families seeking trustworthy data.

Net Price Calculator

A net price calculator meeting HEOA requirements is now available for VSA institutions through the College Portrait website.

Upcoming Webinar

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VSA News and Highlights

Bridging the Gulf

Dr. Philip P. DiStefano, Chancellor at the University of Colorado Boulder and Chair - VSA Oversight Board gives his...
Read more about this news...

The Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA)

The Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) is an initiative by public 4-year universities to supply clear, accessible,and comparable information on the undergraduate student experience to important constituencies through a common web report – the College Portrait.

The VSA was developed in 2007 by a committed group of university leaders and is sponsored by two higher education associations - the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). Development and start-up funding was provided by the Lumina Foundation. Beginning in 2010, the VSA is supported by the participating institutions through annual dues.

VSA Background & Development

Over 80 higher education leaders from 70 public colleges and universities contributed to the development of the VSA program and data reporting template during 2007.

The initial development and implementation of the VSA was funded by two grants from the Lumina Foundation as well as in kind contributions by participating institutions.

The concept of the VSA was first outlined in a 2006 discussion paper shared broadly among the members of NASULGC (now APLU) and AASCU. The paper and its two subsequent updates formed the basis for discussions among education officials, policy-makers, and academic leaders and ultimately the creation of the VSA.

Accountability Tool for Campuses

The VSA has been leveraged by institutions/systems to meet accountability requirements from governing boards, state legislatures, state coordinating offices, and other outside groups, reducing burden and duplication of effort. Examples include systems in California, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Nebraska, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

Because it provides evidence of institutional commitment to measurement of student outcomes and institutional improvement for regional accreditation, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation cites the College Portrait® as an important companion to accreditation.

Get clear, accessible, and comparable information on the undergraduate student experience by visiting the College Portrait website.