Terms of Use

Transition of the Voluntary System of Accountability

The VSA is transitioning from a focus on the College Portrait website for consumer information to providing colleges and universities with rich integrated data sets and a set of analytical and benchmarking tools. The goal is to offer institutional users a comprehensive and flexible set of tools, data products, and professional development opportunities designed to advance institutional data capacity and use.

Features of the New VSA

National Datasets for Benchmarking. VSA participants will have access to custom institution-level national datasets, cleaned and merged at appropriate levels, for analysis and reporting. Data available in the initial release include: selected IPEDS surveys; Higher Education Research & Development survey expenditure figures (NSF); and Student Achievement Measure (SAM) data. More data sources will be investigated and added throughout 2018 and the coming years.

Analysis Tools & Reports. VSA participants will have access to interactive benchmarking reports, analysis tools, and templates that utilize data from IPEDS, SAM and other public sources. The interactive platform will only be available to paid subscribers through the VSA platform. Institutional users will have the ability to conduct custom benchmarking and download visualizations and reports for internal use.

Institutional Agreement

As a VSA participant, the institution agrees to abide by the following conditions, reporting requirements, data sharing stipulations, and timelines.

Use of data, analytic tools, and reports provided by the VSA system

Participation in the VSA program will grant the institutional users access to analysis tools and reports, national benchmarking data and other data products supplied by the VSA program. These offerings and services are exclusive benefits of VSA participation. Institutional users may access analysis tools and reports only through the secure VSA portal.

  • Users will not share analysis tools and reports, national benchmarking data and other data products supplied by the VSA program with any third parties or entities outside of the institution.
  • Any employee of the institution with the appropriate institutional domain name in his or her e-mail address may gain access to analysis tools and reports by creating an authorized account in the VSA portal. Contractors affiliated with the institution or any other third parties are not authorized to create accounts in the VSA system. Institutions will not share access to their VSA accounts with any individual who is not a current employee of the institution.
  • The VSA data products and tools are intended for analyses, benchmarking and reporting to internal and external university audiences, which may include system offices, governing boards, accreditors, and governmental entities. Some of the data sources will include licensing agreements with the VSA that may limit how the data is to be used or disseminated outside the institution. Institutional users agree to observe those limits. If questions arise about the use or distribution of data sets, reports, or tools, users are to contact the VSA Administrative staff for guidance.

Conditions of Participation

Any regionally accredited, four-year, public university or college in the United States or its territories is eligible to participate in the VSA program.

The cost to subscribe to the VSA is $2,000 per institution. APLU and AASCU members, as well as VFA participants receive a 50% discount. Each subscribing institution is able to add additional users from their campus community at no additional cost. The VSA is open only to institutions of higher education.An institution may withdraw from VSA participation at any time after formal notification to the VSA Executive Director by the institution’s president or senior administrator. After the formal date of withdrawal, no individuals from the campus domain name may access the VSA data and tools.

The institution acknowledges that it is receiving value in the form of access to analysis tools and reports, access to national benchmarking data and data products, access to and use of the VSA website, documentation, and opportunities for professional development, and in return the VSA is receiving value in the form of the institution’s participation and compliance with this agreement.

Participation in VSA is a voluntary activity. The institution understands and agrees that Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, their officers, employees, and board members, and VSA contractors have supplied VSA as a service to participating institutions and bear no responsibility for any errors of fact that appear on a participating institution’s profile, within the data sets. Including errors supplied or entered by the institution.

All of the above terms and conditions constitute an agreement by and between the institution and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU), the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), and the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA).