What Is A “Carnegie Classification?”

Flickr user Nida Haider

‘Carnegie Classification’ is the shortened version of ‘Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education’. This Classification is mainly used for educational and research purposes in order to identify groups of comparable institutions.

History of the Carnegie Classification

The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education was created in 1970 and first published in 1974. Its main aim was to create a consistent structure for classifying all accredited higher educational 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

In February 2016, an official updates called the “2015 Update” was released. This 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 is also used by the U.S. Department of Education and several higher education organizations to organize and categorize their data. In some cases, it is also used to determine colleges’ eligibility for grant money.

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!

College Raptor Staff

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