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Voluntary Framework for Accountability (VFA)


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An Overview

The Iowa Department of Education (Department) has partnered with the Iowa Association of Community College Presidents to implement the Voluntary Framework for Accountability (VFA), a national effort to report on two-year college institutional effectiveness.

The VFA was designed by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to serve as an accountability framework for community colleges with success measures tailored for this sector of higher education. Designed specifically with community colleges in mind, the VFA contains measures which encompass and reflect the full breadth of the community college mission and the diversity of students' goals and educational experiences. Partnering with the community college presidents, the Department's Division of Community Colleges and Workforce Preparation funds the VFA membership costs for the community colleges and supports the statewide initiative as a data clearinghouse to ensure consistency in data reporting.

The VFA system provides the opportunity for internal, inter-college, and state-wide comparisons and benchmarking, both in pre-set and customized groups of colleges or states. The VFA Measures are subdivided into three major categories: credit Student Progress and Outcomes (SPO), credit and noncredit Career and Technical Education (CTE), and Adult Basic Education Outcomes (ABE). SPO is based on two-year and six-year cohort tracking, while CTE and ABE track only one year cohort progress during the year and one year past the cohort’s formation.

Visit the VFA website for more information.


VFA Brochure - A short document from American Association of Community Colleges describing the Voluntary Framework of Accountability.

Metrics Manual - This technical manual provides a detailed description of the cohorts and measures included in the Voluntary Framework of Accountability (VFA).

Reporting Schedule

Updated 3-16-23

Time Frame Department/Community College Action Task
3-16-23 Department The Department requests updates for Academic Year 2023 Calendar
3-30-23 Community College Action Send college academic year calendars to Department
6-1-23 Department Action Data elements submitted by Department to VFA website
7-1-23 Community College Action Data validations between Department/Colleges completed
7-25-23 Department Action Data locked into VFA system (no more submissions)
7-26-23 Community College Action Publish start date
8-25-23 Community College Action Publish end date
8-25-23 Community College Action Data system closes (no more review or corrections)

Steering Committee and Workgroups

President's VFA Steering Committee

  • Michael Ash (SCC-President)
  • Lisa Breja (IVCC-IR)
  • Chris Duree (IVCC-Chancellor)
  • Terry Murrell (WITCC-President)
  • Jesse Ulrich (ICCC-President)
  • Erin Volk (WITCC-IR)
  • Jeremy Varner (Department)
  • Jeffrey Fletcher (Department)

VFA Credit Workgroup

  • Erin Volk (WITCC-IR) - Chair
  • Lisa Breja (IVCC-IR)
  • Brandon Kadlec (NICC-IR)
  • Connie Buhr (HCC-IR)
  • Nancy Dugan (EICC-IR)
  • Deborah Kepple-Mamros (DMACC-Executive Director of the Office of Planning Assessment and Data)
  • Cort Iverson (KCC-Dir IR)
  • Katherine Knoblock (NCC-Applications Administrator)
  • Randi Gruver (ICCC-IR)
  • Vlad Bassis (Department)
  • Lisa Gard (Department)

VFA CTE Workgroup

  • Brenda Ireland (KCC-Mgr CE Ops) - Chair
  • Cort Iverson (KCC-IR)
  • Wendy Knight (NICC-Exec Dir Business & Community Solutions)
  • Kim Oaks (SWCC-Bus Coord)
  • Jolene Rogers (ILCC-Exec Dir Non Cr)
  • Stephanie Holliman-Ginkens (IHCC-IR)
  • Dennis Harden (Department)
  • Vlad Bassis (Department)
  • Lisa Gard (Department)

VFA Training Webinars

The American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) provides three unique webinars to guide and train you in doing the Volunteer Framework of Accountability (VFA). Participants will receive information on navigating the VFA data tools, reporting VFA data and tips on using the VFA data on campus. All users, especially new users, are highly encouraged to attend one or more of the instructional webinars. All webinars are free, but registration is required. Click on the links below to sign up. If you have any suggestions for webinar topics, email

VFA Webinar Descriptions

  1. New User Training - All users who are new to reporting VFA data are highly encouraged to register for our new user training curriculum. The two-part series will walk the new user through everything from logging in and navigating the VFA data tools, to what data are reported, to viewing the data using the VFA various reports and dashboards.
  2. VFA Driving Success - The Voluntary Framework of Accountability is the first national data system developed specifically for community colleges, by community colleges. In this 45-minute webinar, AACC staff will detail how colleges can use the VFA to: drive institutional improvement and student success, and be accountable to stakeholders.
  3. Returning Users Update - Geared toward college IR and IT professionals who had previously reported the VFA metrics, this webinar will review and clarify any changes to the VFA Metrics Manual and Raw Upload Guide from the previous version. There will be ample time to ask questions and seek clarifications on any of the metric or system updates and their implications.​

If you have questions or suggestions, email