American Association of State Colleges & Universities (AASCU)

The American Association of Colleges & Universities (AASCU) is a nonprofit membership organization that works to expand student access, success and opportunity, promote world-class teaching and experiential learning tied to career advancement, and support applied research and service that advances economic development and quality of life in communities across the country. AASCU serves nearly 400 public colleges, universities, and systems.

AASCU focuses on 5 key action areas:

  1. Promote understanding of and support for public higher education and its unique role in providing affordable, high quality education and serving as stewards of place that empower regional economic development and help local communities thrive.
  2. Support innovation in teaching and learning through research and collaborative projects with the end goal of improving all students’ educational and career outcomes./
  3. Build partnerships with philanthropy, government, and business that leverage our collective power to promote economic and social mobility, student success, and build a dynamic, globally competent workforce.
  4. Develop and advocate for public policy that furthers academic quality and innovation, access, equity and inclusion, and regional stewardship and economic progress.
  5.  Create professional development opportunities for member presidents and other leaders, with an unequaled investment in growing and diversifying the leadership pipeline.

The Transparency and Accountability Program (one of several programs) focuses on work with partner organizations to provide innovative tools, metrics and reporting frameworks that member institutions can use to (1) inform data-driven improvement efforts and (2) communicate about their performance to a variety of stakeholders, including students, policy makers and the public. AASCU is engaged in two major initiatives in the area of transparency of accountability:

  • Student Achievement Measure (SAM): The Student Achievement Measure (SAM) is a collaborative effort by six leading higher education associations to enhance transparency and provide the public with a more comprehensive measure of college student progress and completion.
  • Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA): Created in 2007 through a partnership between the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and AASCU, the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) promotes greater accountability through accessible, transparent and comparable information on public four-year institutions of higher education.

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