Alma To Participate in National Web Initiative
Alma College is among more than 550 institutions that will
participate in a new Web-based project that will give prospective
students and their parents accurate comparative data to help them when
making a decision on which college to attend.
The University and College Accountability Network, or U-CAN, debuts Sept. 26. The site was created by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, of which Alma is a member.
Participating colleges will create a two-page profile that will include such information as the number of students who applied to the college, the number accepted and the number who enrolled. In addition, the profile will provide gender and ethnic background about students, graduation rates and tuition and student loan statistics. There also will be links to relevant areas on each college’s own Web site.
The U-CAN site comes as federal education officials and members of Congress have encouraged schools to provide better information to the public, and amid concerns that there has been too much reliance on rankings by publications such as U.S. News and World Report.
“No single ranking or measure is sufficient to determine institutional quality,” says Alma College President Saundra Tracy. “At the same time, we understand the importance of supporting families’ need for information as they consider college. The U-CAN initiative is one way of providing useful and accurate data.”
Alma College has joined with other private colleges and universities in agreeing not to participate in the reputation portion of the U.S. News & World Report’s annual ranking of America’s Best Colleges. Alma will continue to provide institutional data to the magazine.
“A major concern with rankings like those promoted by U.S. News is that variables used to rank schools do not directly relate to student outcomes and what is learned in the classroom,” says Tracy. “Institutional quality is better measured in student learning and success.”
U-CAN will not include reputational surveys or rankings. Instead, students and families will have free online access to objective and measurable data that’s supplemented by hyperlinks to an institution’s Web site.
U-CAN is the first national consumer information tool developed by colleges and universities — either private or public. The types of information collected and the design of the college and university profiles were shaped by consumer focus groups.
Once U-CAN is launched, Alma’s profile, and those of hundreds of other private colleges and universities, will be accessible for free at www.ucan-network.org.
Posted: Mon, September 24th, 2007 at 9:25AM