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October 2, 2008


The University of Maine at Fort Kent is the first college or university within the state of Maine to post a campus profile under a voluntary national system intended to provide prospective students and their parents with a standardized view of undergraduate higher education. 

The Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) communicates information on the undergraduate student experience through a common web-reporting template, known as the College Portrait.  

 The UMFK College Portrait is located on the homepage of the University’s website at:   During the spring and summer of 2007, UMFK President, Dr. Richard W. Cost, served on the Family Information Task Force that was one of a number of national task forces selected by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU).  The task force worked on the project that led to the college profiles and the financial aid estimator, which are included in the College Portrait.  The format provides an array of common information that should prove useful to families trying to assess the best fit institutions for students.  

“As the system was developed and initiated in the year or so following our report to AASCU and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), we were pleased to be the first institution in Maine to provide the data needed to go live with the system, says UMFK President, Dr. Richard W. Cost.  

“There essentially are four parts to the profile:  1) Demographic data concerning students as well as success indicators such as graduation percentages over time; 2) The financial aid calculator, which still is still being completed to give families at least an estimate of cost and possible aid available; 3) Data regarding student engagement on campus; and 4) Data concerning student intellectual growth between the start and finish of the college education process,” Dr. Cost adds.  

“I believe this information is useful.  It is, we hope, a helpful guide in a process that is driven both by factual information and emotions.  It is a work in process, but I believe a very useful tool for families as they seek to compare a broad range of institutions, and to find those that are best suited to the needs of a particular student,” Dr. Cost concluded.  

VSA is a voluntary initiative for four-year public colleges and universities. It was developed through a partnership between the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC) in response to demands for greater accountability in higher education. 

·  Demonstrate accountability and stewardship to public

·   Measure educational outcomes to identify effective educational practices

·   Assemble information that is accessible, understandable, and comparable   

College Portrait has three parts: student and family information, student experiences and perceptions, and student learning outcomes.