Land-grant colleges and universities occupy a special place in the landscape of American higher education. Publicly funded agricultural and technical educational institutions were first founded in the mid-nineteenth century with the Morrill Act, which established land grants to support these schools. They include such prominent names as Cornell, Maryland, Michigan State, MIT, Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers, Texas A&M, West Virginia University, Wisconsin, and the University of California—in other words, four dozen of the largest and best public universities in America. Add to this a number of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and tribal colleges—in all, almost 300 institutions. Their mission is a democratic and pragmatic one: to bring science, technology, agriculture, and the arts to the American people.
In an effort to support and enhance public universities’ use of data for strategic planning and decision-making, APLU and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) are pleased to announce the launch of the new Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA). Designed by institutions for institutions, the VSA provides a robust, interactive, and user-friendly platform to compare and analyze key performance metrics across colleges and universities.