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2007.11.26 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - e-mail: wtownley@mail.unomaha.edu

UNO One of 18 Universities to Participate in Voluntary Accountability Program

Omaha - The public can now learn about all facets of the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) thanks to a new, innovative template online. The Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA), as the program is known, is designed to improve public understanding of how public colleges and universities operate.

The five-page document (also referred to as a College Portrait) provides consistent, comparable and transparent information on the characteristics of institutions and students, cost of attendance, student engagement with the learning process and core educational outcomes. The information is intended for students, families, policy-makers, campus faculty and staff, the general public and other higher education stakeholders. UNO and 17 other public universities across the country have adopted the template.

“The VSA is an easy, efficient and effective way for families to compare colleges across the country on a number of criteria,” said Linda Mannering, director of Institutional Research at UNO. “Parents can view and print the online document, which guides them through information about attending UNO, such as tuition costs, academic programs and on-campus activities.”

The template has three parts: student and family information, student experiences and perceptions, and student learning outcomes. The College Cost Calculator, for example, allows students to determine how much financial aid they would receive – and how much money they would need to spend – on a college education, based on data such as family income and the number of siblings in college. The calculator feature will be available online in the coming weeks.

The VSA is a joint project by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC). By September 2008, a large number of schools are expected to join the initiative to share key information with student, parents and other stakeholders. 

“The increased demands for greater accountability for higher education prompted the development of the VSA,” Mannering said. “More than 100 UNO students provided feedback to develop key campus information items and buttons. Students said we should emphasize the friendly campus, helpful faculty and strong programs. The College Portrait icon, located at UNO homepage, links to the five-page template.”

Available by clicking the College Portrait icon on UNO’s homepage (www.unomaha.edu) or by visiting http://unoportfolio.unomaha.edu/vsa/, the five-page VSA provides student survey results and links to informational pages throughout the UNO Web site.

Visit www.voluntarysystem.org for more information on the VSA.

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