College joins national online college information initiative

Bates College announced today that it is participating with more than 600 independent U.S. colleges and universities in offering detailed information to explore schools online at http://www.ucan-network.org/.

More than a year in development, the University & College Accountability Network is intended to help prospective students and their families find an institution of higher education that best fits their needs. It is the first national consumer information resource created and provided directly to students and parents by colleges and universities themselves. The initiative is coordinated through the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

“It is a start at getting families the consistent information that they want and need as they compare colleges and universities,” said Bates President Elaine Tuttle Hansen.

“Choosing a college is one of life’s major decisions, with profound implications. But there are so many fine colleges and universities where motivated students can get an excellent education, and there are so many factors to consider in finding a good fit between the character of an institution and the needs and interests of a student. I would encourage everyone to visit the U-CAN site as part of their exploration of the rich and variegated landscape of American higher education today.”

Information included in the U-CAN 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 provides 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 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) surveys and the Common Data Set, is often difficult for consumers to find and decipher.

For other helpful college search Web sites and some thoughtful observations on the issue of national college rankings, Hansen recommends a July 15, 2007 op-ed in the Lewiston Sun Journal by James Fergerson, Bates’ director of institutional planning and analysis.

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