The College Portrait is a source of basic, comparable information about public colleges and institutions presented in a common, user-friendly format. It is designed to be trustworthy source of reliable data for prospective students and their families.
The College Portrait was created as part of the Voluntary System of AccountabilityTM, (VSA) - a program designed to provide greater accountability through accessible, transparent, and comparable information. The VSA and College Portrait are sponsored by two nonprofit organizations in Washington DC – the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). More than 80 higher education leaders from 70 public institutions were involved in developing the College Portrait.
AASCU and APLU represent more than 500 public colleges and universities across the United States. Participation in the VSA is voluntary; however, over half of the 500 member institutions – nearly 300 at last count.
Student Achievement Measure (SAM)
Nationally, more than one in five students who complete a degree do so at an institution other than the one where they started, and 15 percent of students had previously attended college in at least one other state, according to a recent study by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Yet the typical method for calculating graduation rates, as stipulated by federal legislation, counts only those students who enroll full-time and then start and finish at their first college or university. SAM provides an improved measure to better account for the success of these students.