U-CAN Press Release

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September 26, 2007

CONTACT: Tony Pals, tony@naicu.edu
office: (202) 739-0474 cell: (202) 288-9333

First-of-Its-Kind College Consumer Information Web Site Debuts

Washington, DC - Potential college students and their parents have gained a new and distinctive resource for exploring and comparing private colleges and universities. U-CAN-or the University & College Accountability Network-was unveiled at a news conference today by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), the largest organization representing nonprofit, private institutions in the United States.

U-CAN is the first national consumer information resource created and provided directly to students and parents by colleges and universities themselves. Over 600 private colleges and universities have signed on to participate in the initiative, with over 440 profiles published so far. Another 150 profiles are expected to be published within the week.

"We are very excited about the launch of U-CAN," said NAICU President David L. Warren. "There are many consumer sources out there, but U-CAN offers something distinct.

"The college profiles provide a unique mix of 47 quantitative elements, narrative descriptions, and 25 hyperlinks to campus web sites," Warren said. "Institutions not only report cut-and-dry statistics, but also have the opportunity to express what makes them special."

About U-CAN
The U-CAN consumer information initiative is designed to give, in a common format, prospective students and their families concise, Web-based consumer-friendly information on individual private colleges and universities. U-CAN consists of hundreds of institutional profiles that contain comparable data and targeted links to the institution's Web site for information on specific aspects of the institution. The profiles are displayed in a common template that NAICU developed.

Through focus groups conducted in cities across the nation, prospective students and parents from all backgrounds identified the information they most need to make an informed college choice. Their comments shaped the format and content of the U-CAN site. U-CAN is totally free both to users and to the colleges and universities that choose to participate.

U-CAN profiles also include information identified by policy-makers as important for institutional accountability. Congress and the U.S. Department of Education have called for comparable, concise, relevant, and easily accessible information to help the public better evaluate and choose colleges.

The in-depth information included in the college and university profiles covers admissions, enrollment, academics, student demographics, graduation rates, most common fields of study, transfer of credit policy, accreditation, faculty information, class size, tuition and fee trends, price of attendance, financial aid, campus housing, student life, and campus safety. U-CAN will give consumers easy access to information on average loans at graduation, undergraduate class-size breakdown, and net tuition for hundreds of colleges. This information, which comes from the U.S. Department of Education's IPEDS survey and the Common Data Set, is often difficult for consumers to find and decipher.

The institutional profiles also are highly "clickable." Twenty-five targeted hyperlinks take students to specific pages of an institution's Web site. The links and narrative descriptions complement the profile's statistical data, and provide an opportunity to see what makes each college or university unique.

By the time the U-CAN web site goes live on September 26, 2007, more than 600 private colleges and universities will have signed up. NAICU is at the beginning stages of the site. U-CAN will continue to grow and improve as institutions work to enhance their profiles and NAICU responds to feedback from the public.

NAICU serves as the unified national voice of independent higher education. With nearly 1,000 member institutions and associations nationwide, NAICU reflects the diversity of private, nonprofit higher education in the United States. NAICU members enroll 85 percent of all students attending private institutions. They include traditional liberal arts colleges, major research universities, church- and faith-related institutions, historically black colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, single-sex colleges, art institutions, two-year colleges, and schools of law, medicine, engineering, business, and other professions.
For more information, visit www.ucan-network.org/mediakit.