August 29, 2008

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LEWISBURG, Pa. -- U-CAN, a voluntary consumer information initiative that includes Bucknell University and is coordinated by National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), has grown to 711 institutions.

Since NAICU unveiled U-CAN on Sept. 26, with 600 private colleges and universities initially on board, the number of participating institutions has grown by 19 percent. NAICU has 953 member schools, which enroll 85 percent of all students attending private colleges and universities in America.

Currently, 70 member institutions of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP) have provided a wide range of information about their schools to U-CAN, or the University & College Accountability Network, according to Brian C. Mitchell, former chair and current board member of the AICUP Board and president of Bucknell.

User-friendly format
With a design driven by consumer focus groups, the U-CAN site has been lauded for its rich and consumer-relevant information and colorful, user-friendly format -- by students, parents, college admissions counselors and policymakers. Since U-CAN went live, more than 358,000 users have visited the site, viewing more than 850,000 pages. (See Bucknell profile.)

“For years, we in higher education have been concerned that college rankings are mostly based on a limited set of input data instead of learning outcomes," Mitchell said. "By creating a reliable and accessible source of broad information about higher education institutions, users can make choices based on needs and educational goals.”

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 '2.0'
NAICU also announced that U-CAN “2.0” will be launched in mid-September, improving on a college search tool already noted for providing objective, comparable data on the factors that matter most to consumers: student costs broken out by category, tuition trends, admission and graduation rates, average student aid packages, average debt at graduation and more.

Site enhancements -- growing out of user comments and focus groups with parents and students -- will make it among the most searchable websites of its kind. The improved site will also provide guidance on how to prepare academically and financially for college, find the right fit and navigate the admissions and financial aid processes. NAICU is exploring the development and addition of a new element that would allow consumers to see how colleges are spending their tuition dollars.

NAICU serves as the unified national voice of independent higher education. With more than 1,000 member institutions and associations nationwide, NAICU reflects the diversity of private, nonprofit higher education in the United States.

Contact: Division of Communications


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