The Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA) is an initiative by public 4-year universities to supply clear, accessible,and comparable information on the undergraduate student experience to important constituencies through a common web report – the College Portrait.
The VSA was developed in 2007 by a committed group of university leaders and is sponsored by two higher education associations - the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). Development and start-up funding was provided by the Lumina Foundation. Beginning in 2010, the VSA is supported by the participating institutions through annual dues.
Over 80 higher education leaders from 70 public colleges and universities contributed to the development of the VSA program and data reporting template during 2007.
The initial development and implementation of the VSA was funded by two grants from the Lumina Foundation as well as in kind contributions by participating institutions.
The concept of the VSA was first outlined in a 2006 discussion paper shared broadly among the members of NASULGC (now APLU) and AASCU. The paper and its two subsequent updates formed the basis for discussions among education officials, policy-makers, and academic leaders and ultimately the creation of the VSA.