Introducing the New VSA for 2018

Introducing the New VSA for 2018

Higher education increasingly relies on accurate data to make decisions regarding institutional planning, accountability, and marketing. At the same time, securing public trust requires institutional transparency.  Institutions are expected to provide consistent and standardized metrics to show progress on student success, institutional performance, and institutional efficiency.  Higher education institutions are asked to do more with less. How are institutions responding to the public in a climate where funding is declining?  How do institutions use data for planning?

Ten years ago, institutions participated in the VSA to demonstrate their commitment to taking voluntary and meaningful steps toward transparency and accountability by offering profile data about their institutions and information about student learning outcomes.  Missing from this framework are benchmarking data and standardized metrics using nationally available data. IPEDS provides some data for comparison purposes, but there are limitations on its utility.

Amidst a growing desire for standardized metrics, the VSA built a national dataset with more than 350 data points for more than 4,200 Title IV-participating institutions.  Through a versatile reporting platform, VSA Analytics delivers a set of custom reports with a nationally recognized set of metrics on institutional performance and student success. VSA Analytics offers a new, interactive approach to build informative and compelling visualizations to tell a story and benchmark institutional performance.

VSA Analytics users can build their reports using standardized templates and a set of predefined variables. Reports can be customized to feature an individual institution or a subset of institutions based on variables that describe the institution.  Charts can be downloaded as PDF files, making it easy to create instant handouts to share with stakeholders. 

VSA subscribers can do the following:
Build custom reports on key performance metrics
Incorporate Student Achievement Measure (SAM) data into their key performance metrics
Examine KPIs for comparison groups based on customized sector profiles
Download reports to PDF and data to Excel
Download the entire VSA integrated national dataset

Created in partnership with the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the VSA has long been a tool for public institutions to demonstrate accountability and transparency, particularly in the areas of access, cost, student progress, and student outcomes. The new VSA allows for increased customization and flexibility for institutions to build reports using nationally available data on students.

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