What Is A “Carnegie Classification?”

A Carnegie Classification is mainly used for educational and research purposes in order to identify groups of comparable institutions.

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‘Carnegie Classification’ is the shortened version of ‘Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education’. The classification, for educational and research purposes, identifies groups of comparable institutions.

History of the Carnegie Classification

Created in 1970, the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education published for the first time in 1974.

Its main aim was to create a consistent structure for classifying all accredited higher education institutions in the United States.

Although the classification has been updated regularly through the years to include new colleges and universities, the structure of all updates remained the same in order to allow comparisons across different years.

Classification Updates

The February 2016 “2015 Update” release saw a few changes, including the addition of an elective Community Engagement classification and five other classification profiles, in addition, the “basic” classification.

Types of Classifications

  • Doctorate-granting Universities
  • Master’s Colleges and Universities
  • Baccalaureate Colleges
  • Associates Colleges
  • Special Focus Institutions
  • Tribal Colleges
  • Not Classified

The Benefit of the Classifications

Over the years, the Carnegie categories have become the accepted standard in U.S. higher education. It is used to develop the Best Colleges ranking and the U.S. Department of Education and several higher education organizations also uses it to organize and categorize their data. In some cases, the categories also determine colleges’ grant money eligibility.

You can see a school’s Carnegie Classification on their page right here on College Raptor! Along with your acceptance odds to that school and what sort of financial aid they might offer you if you sign up with a free account!

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