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Carnegie Classification of Over 4,660 Universities & Colleges

  • Published: 2016-02-02 : Author: Indiana University : Contact:
  • Synopsis: 2015 edition of Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education now available.

Produced by an Indiana University research center, it is the most comprehensive review of institutional diversity at more than 4,660 colleges and universities in the United States.

Information about individual institutions and searchable data showing how they compare to their peers are available on a new website, The full release of this information follows a month of public review.

The Carnegie Commission on Higher Education developed the Carnegie Classification of colleges and universities in 1970 to support its program of research and policy analysis. First published in 1973, it subsequently has been updated in 1976, 1987, 1994, 2000, 2005 and 2010.

In 2014, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching transferred responsibility for the project to IU Bloomington's Center for Postsecondary Research in the IU School of Education.

A team led by Victor H.M. Borden, professor of higher education and student affairs at the IU School of Education and the director of the project for the Center for Postsecondary Research, produced the updated classifications with input from an advisory group that included Martha Kanter, former U.S. undersecretary for education.

"Although intended for research and policy purposes, the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education has become an integral part of the fabric of higher education, as it is used by a variety of organizations for shaping accountability and opportunity," Borden said.

For example, the Association of Research Libraries uses the classifications to determine member eligibility, and many governmental grant programs are aimed at one or another of these classifications.

Paul LeMahieu, senior vice president for programs at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and its representative to the Carnegie Classification advisory board, said the quality of this release of new classifications affirms the "mutually beneficial" decision to move the project to IU.

"It is apparent, as the Center for Postsecondary Research issues its first release of the classifications, that it was a very good selection with which to entrust this role," LeMahieu said. "They have preserved what is essential in the system and the best of what more than 40 years of development has produced while innovating and testing improvements that will enhance the conceptual underpinnings and general utility of the system."

Key points include:

In addition to support from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, the Lumina Foundation awarded $500,000 to the Center for Postsecondary Research to update the Carnegie Classification so that it eventually includes other credentials than just the numbers of degrees.

The Center for Postsecondary Research is a research center of the IU School of Education. It promotes student success and institutional effectiveness through research and service to postsecondary institutions and related agencies. Center personnel assist institutions and agencies in gathering and using data for decision-making and institutional improvement. It also houses the National Survey of Student Engagement and has been involved in an ongoing partnership with the National Student Clearinghouse.

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