Free Web Resource for Students and Parents to Mark First Anniversary with Enhanced Functionality and Record Campus Participation WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 /EMWNews/ -- U-CAN (http://www.ucan-network.org/), a voluntary consumer information initiative of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU, http://www.naicu.edu/), has reached a milestone in campus participation. Nearly 11 months after the free, consumer-focused website was launched, the roster of private colleges and universities signed up to participate has grown to 711 institutions. Since NAICU unveiled U-CAN on Sept. 26, 2007, with 600 private colleges and universities onboard, the number of participating institutions has grown by 19 percent. The association has 953 member schools, which enroll 85 percent of all students attending private colleges and universities in America. With a design driven by consumer focus groups, the U-CAN site has been lauded (http://www.ucan-network.org/id.11,id2.646/default.asp) for its rich and consumer-relevant information, and colorful, user-friendly format -- by students, parents, college admissions counselors, and policymakers. Since U-CAN went live, more than 358,000 users have visited the site, viewing more than 850,000 pages. U-CAN "2.0" to Launch in September 2008 U-CAN "2.0" will be launched in mid-September 2008, improving on a college search tool already noted for providing objective, comparable data on the factors that matter most to consumers: student costs broken out by category, tuition trends, admission and graduation rates, average student aid packages, average debt at graduation, and much more. Site enhancements -- growing out of user comments and focus groups with parents and students -- will make it among the most searchable websites of its kind. The improved site will also provide guidance on how to prepare academically and financially for college, find the right fit, and navigate the admissions and financial aid processes. NAICU is exploring the development and addition of a new element that would allow consumers to see how colleges are spending their tuition dollars. NAICU serves as the unified national voice of independent higher education. With more than 1,000 member institutions and associations nationwide, NAICU reflects the diversity of private, nonprofit higher education in the United States. They include traditional liberal arts colleges, major research universities, church- and faith-related institutions, historically black colleges, Hispanic-serving institutions, single-sex colleges, two-year colleges, and schools of law, medicine, engineering, business, art, and other professions.
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