Number of Colleges Participating in Consumer Information Initiative Tops 700

2008-08-13 14:49:00

    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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