Facing pressure to shape up from Democrats in Congress, the federal Education Department, accreditors, and even traditional nonprofit institutions, a small group of proprietary colleges is trying to set a good example for the rest of its sector.

In an agreement released on Wednesday, the 20 colleges in the group pledge that, by December 15, they will post on their Web sites their cost of tuition, their graduation rates, and whether their academic programs will qualify students for licensure in a given field, among other details.

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