Accountability Issues

Public colleges and universities are obligated to be responsible and trusted guardians of the public’s resources and communicate clearly and effectively about their stewardship of the public’s investment in them. AASCU is committed to greater public accountability and has been a leader in promoting improved data systems, greater transparency and increased focus on student learning outcomes. AASCU calls on its members to participate in the AASCU/APLU Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA), designed to improve transparency of institutional and student data, core educational outcomes and student engagement.

Policy Advisories

Federal Advisories 


State Advisories 

Policy Publications

Policy Matters

  • State Early Commitment Programs: A Contract for College Success? - May 2009 (View PDF
  • Enhancing College Student Success Through Developmental Education - August 2008 (View PDF
  • In-State Tuition for Undocumented Immigrants: States' Rights and Educational Opportunity - August 2007 (View PDF
  • Tuition Discounting at AASCU Institutions - February 2007 (View PDF

Public Policy Agenda Priorities

AASCU Public Policy Agenda Priorities Related to Accountability 

P-20 Student Data Systems 

  • Support the continued development of intra-state data systems and the advancement of an integrated network of state data systems, based on common data elements, to serve as a privacy-protected state-based system of student-level longitudinal data. 
  • Discourage federal efforts that require states to collect overly burdensome or intrusive student data; support data collection that directly informs key educational outcomes. 
  • Encourage the federal government to issue clarifying guidance on permissible data sharing that does not undermine the integrity of the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). 

Consumer Information and College Costs 

  • Oppose any attempts to impose federal cost containment measures on institutions. 
  • Encourage the adoption and use, where applicable, of voluntary reporting structures such as the Voluntary System of Accountability. 

Degree Attainment Reporting 

  • Focus national educational attainment goals and federal evaluation efforts on the absolute number of Americans with a degree or certificate, rather than solely on institutional graduation rates. 
  • Work to devise more accurate completion measures that encompass the persistence and success of all students, including transfer and part-time students. 
  • To the extent that graduation rates are used as a metric in institutional evaluation, improve their value using students’ federal financial aid status as a proxy for income, and assure that these disaggregated rates are reported in IPEDS. These graduation rates were identified in the HEOA for the following groups: Pell Grant recipients, Subsidized Stafford Loan recipients who are not Pell Grant recipients, and students who do not receive any federal aid or who receive only unsubsidized loans. 
  • Work to devise more accurate completion measures that encompass the persistence and success of all students, including transfer and part-time students 


  • Support mandatory public disclosure and dissemination of findings from final accreditation reports. 
  • Encourage the six regional accrediting associations to clearly define and broadly communicate their expectations for assessing and reporting student learning in a manner that is aligned with the AASCU/APLU Voluntary System of Accountability. 

      Transfer of Credit 

  • Oppose the direct involvement of the federal government in regulating inter-institutional academic practices, such as the transfer of credit. Academic matters are most appropriately handled through the collaborative efforts of accreditors and statewide, system and institutional boards. 

      Fraud and Abuse in Federal Student Financial Aid Program 

  • 90/10 Rule:Support integrity in federal student financial aid programs and strengthen the original intent of the “90/10 Rule.” This can be done by including all federal sources of income in the 90 percent calculation.  
  • Oppose any efforts to weaken regulation of an institution of higher education’s financial viability for participation in the Title IV student financial aid programs. 
  • Loan Program Integrity: Encourage and support federal loan program policies that discourage institutional manipulation of students and loan program data in order to hide fraud and abuse. An example of this manipulation is placing students in deferment solely in order to improve an institution’s Cohort Default Rate. 

      Campus Safety, Security and Emergency Preparedness 

  • Oppose onerous, costly and unfunded campus security mandates from the federal government. 
  • Encourage and fund federal, state and institutional partnerships that enhance campus safety and security. 


National Reports 

  • Trends in College Spending
    Delta Cost Project
    Download PDF

    State Tax Revenues are Slowly Rebounding
    The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government
    September 2010
    Download pdf

  • Taking the Next Step: The Promise of Intermediate Measures for Meeting Postsecondary Completion Goals
    Jobs for the Future
    September 2010
    Download pdf 

State Reports 

  • Closing the Talent Gap: A Business Perspective - What Florida Needs from its Talent Supply Chain
    Florida Council of 100
    January 2010
    Download pdf

  • The Final Report of the Higher Education Work Group
    Higher Education Work Group
    November 2009
    Download pdf