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Juniata Joins Other Colleges for National Database Comparing Institutions

(Posted October 1, 2007)

Thomas R. Kepple, Juniata president

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College has joined nearly 600 other colleges and universities in a comprehensive database that will help students and parents choose higher education institutions that best fit their needs based on objective and comprehensive information not typically covered by national rankings in general interest magazines. Juniata and the 58 other member institutions of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania (AICUP) have provided a wide range of information about their schools to U-CAN, or the University & College Accountability Network, joining nearly 600 colleges and universities across the country as participants in the database, which debuted at a press conference at Bucknell University Sept. 26. Juniata recently joined other liberal arts colleges who are members of the Annapolis Group in boycotting the reputational ratings portion of the U.S. News & World Report college rankings. \"I believe both colleges and families benefit from unbiased data that help students make informed decisions in finding a college that best fits their interests,\" says Thomas R. Kepple, president of Juniata College. \"The new U-CAN database and other sources such as the National Survey of Student Engagement and the magazine rankings can all be source material for an informed student.\" According to Brian C. Mitchell, chair of the AICUP Board and president of Bucknell University, Pennsylvania has more private colleges and universities participating in U-CAN than any other state. Private institutions produce almost 50 percent of the degrees in Pennsylvania and enroll 41 percent of the state\'s students. \"For years, we in higher education have been concerned that college rankings like those produced by U.S. News & World Report are mostly based on a limited set of input data instead of learning outcomes,\" Mitchell said. \"Now we have done something about it, creating a reliable and accessible source of broad information about higher education institutions that will allow users to make choices based on their needs and educational goals.\" The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) led the development of U-CAN - www.ucan-network.org - which provides, in a common format, prospective students and their families concise, Web-based consumer-friendly information on individual private colleges and universities. Juniata, which is one of the few national liberal arts colleges to be included in every major college guide, has recently been rated 60th in the nation by the Washington Monthly Gollege Guide and is ranked in the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the U.S. News & World Report rankings. Juniata also was recently added to the \"Fiske College Guide\" and is one of 40 institutions profiled in the influential college guide, \"Colleges that Change Lives,\" by former New York Times Education editor Loren Pope. Last but not least, Juniata was recently included in a college guide \"100 Best Colleges\" in Cosmo Girl magazine. The U-CAN database consists of hundreds of institutional profiles that contain comparable data and targeted links to more detailed information available on each institution\'s Web site. For ease of use, the profiles are displayed in a common template that NAICU developed, based on consumer feedback. Through focus groups conducted in cities across the nation, prospective students and parents from all backgrounds identified the information they most need to make an informed college choice. Their comments shaped the format and content of the U-CAN site. U-CAN is free both to users and to the colleges and universities that choose to participate. The in-depth information included in the college and university profiles covers admissions, enrollment, academics, student demographics, graduation rates, most common fields of study, transfer of credit policy, accreditation, faculty information, class size, tuition and fee trends, price of attendance, financial aid, campus housing, student life, and campus safety. U-CAN also gives consumers easy access to information on average loans at graduation, undergraduate class-size breakdown, and net tuition for hundreds of colleges. This information, which comes from the U.S. Department of Education\'s IPEDS survey and the Common Data Set, is often difficult for consumers to find and decipher.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.