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) launched a new Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) earlier this summer. 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.
The new VSA, which was created through a partnership between APLU and AASCU, allows users to build custom visualizations and graphical reports with the SAS-Visual Analytics platform in just minutes and eliminates the need to spend days searching, downloading, integrating, and analyzing data. Subscribers can also add as many campus users as they would like, download the entire custom dataset, and take advantage of education and training opportunities related to the use of analytics on campus.
Designed to bring flexibility to campus users, the VSA offers more than 25 benchmarking reports based on a custom national dataset containing more than 350 variables from roughly 4,200 institutions. Data available on the platform include: enrollment, cost of attendance, graduation rate, research and development expenditures, financial aid, admissions, student-faculty ratio, and much, much more.
Each interactive report offers a national profile of a population of institutions defined by the user. Users can also benchmark their institution against a custom comparison group. All reports can be downloaded and printed. Later this summer, the VSA will add trend reports on the current metrics. In the fall, the VSA will offer eight years of merged, cleaned, and integrated data for subscribers to download.