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Lehigh posts profile on U-CAN

Starting today, prospective students can search and review information about Lehigh University and more than 500 participating institutions through the University and College Accountability Network (U-CAN).

(Click here to see Lehigh’s U-CAN profile.)

The free, Web-based tool provides a one-stop shop for prospective students and their parents through profiles stocked with concise, comparable data of private, nonprofit colleges and universities.

J. Leon Washington, dean of admissions and financial aid, believes this program will enhance the college search process.

“This project represents a pivotal step in the right direction by providing prospective students and their families with consistent, accurate and readily accessible information in one place,” he says.

The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) developed U-CAN in response to calls for college and universities to produce consistent, comparable information. Lehigh shares NAICU’s commitment, says Carl O. Moses, deputy provost for academic affairs.

“We believe that it's important for people to have ready access to information about Lehigh, and we are committed to ensuring that the information is accurate and up-to-date,” he says. “U-CAN presents this information in a common structure, which will facilitate comparisons across schools.”

U-CAN profiles display detailed information about admissions, alumni success, program offerings, financial and academic aid, and an overview of the student population. Prospective students can quickly see information that was once difficult to access, such as average loans a student accrues by graduation.

Unlike many college comparison programs, U-CAN allows schools to briefly describe their mission as well as highlight unique or exceptional programs and student life activities.

Prospective students and their families can search the NAICU member database for schools based on distance from home zip code, state and institutional affiliation or mission. This function allows students to narrow their college search, Washington says.

“The search feature provides students with the capability to explore potential schools,” he says. “I think students will be able to make better informed decisions about college choices.”

Several other Lehigh Valley colleges have posted profiles on U-CAN, including Lafayette College, Moravian College and Muhlenberg College.

Lehigh offers an institutional profile displaying similar information to that listed on the U-CAN site. This Web page offers information on academics, resources, scholarship and financial aid offerings, and campus life.

Prospective students seeking to compare information on Lehigh to other institutions can also visit the U.S. Department of Education’s Web site called the College Navigator. The site displays public information submitted by colleges and universities to the department’s National Center for Education Statistics. Users can search for institutions, view side-by-side comparisons and save favorites.

The College Navigator, U-CAN profiles, and similar programs simplify the search process, but a visit to campus is still the best way to evaluate whether Lehigh is the right fit, Moses says.

“No matter how much information we can share with prospective students and their families through the Web or in print, we strongly urge students to visit us,” he says. “Our faculty, students, and staff are our richest resources, and we want prospective students to experience what it's like to be here and interact with such extraordinary people.”

--Becky Straw

Posted on Wednesday, September 26, 2007

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