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CU-Boulder in the 2006 Carnegie Classification

Notes by Lou McClelland 11/2005

The Carnegie Foundation has now released their new classification system for higher ed institutions. We are the ONLY school, public or private, that is exactly A&S+prof/HGC, CompDoc/Nmed, HU, FT4/MS/HT, L4/NR.

History: Up to Nov 17 2005 we were classified by Carnegie as "doctoral extensive," meaning, gives doctorates in lots of fields. In the prior classification scheme, which many still use, we were classified as "Research I," which depended on numbers/fields of doctorates and on research funding. All the AAU's were Research I's except Oregon, though many other schools were Research I's as well.

The main feature of the new version is that each institution is categorized on five dimensions -- Carnegie says 5, but it's really 10 because most of the 5 are themselves based on multiple dimensions! The oddity is that, as in the classification scheme currently in use, research activity/funding is not used in the classifications at all.

Carnegie is using IPEDS data (reported to the US government) and "College Board data" -- which means, Common Dataset for college guides, with one Common Dataset user the guide done by College Board.

Carnegie takes GREAT pains to emphasize that none of the dimensions are quality ratings, just ways that institutions differ.

Our classifications are listed below (in the following, plain/bold = the category, italics = where Carnegie says we fall; my comments are in the bulleted lists). Details on all at

Undergraduate Instructional Program:
A&S+Prof/HGC: Arts & sciences plus professions, high graduate coexistence

  • Means: we give bachelor's degrees which are 60% but not 80% in "A&S" disciplines, also give bachelor's degrees in "professions" (including engineering and I think business), and most of our UG degrees are in CIP codes (disciplines) where we also give graduate degrees.
  • N=29 4-yr publics are in this category, from UVa and UNCarolina to Montclair St and Portland St. Berkeley and others are in A&S-focus, meaning, a higher pct of bachelors degrees in "A&S" disciplines.

Graduate Instructional Program:
CompDoc/NMed: Comprehensive doctoral (no medical)

  • Means: lots of doctorates in lots of fields, and no MD's
  • N=55 4-yr publics are like this, including all or most of the non-medical public AAU's but also others like Texas Tech, Middle Tennessee State.    

Enrollment Profile:
HU: High undergraduate

  • Means: 10-24% of our fall FTE enrollment is in grad level and law. We'd have to move an enormous amount to get to the next category, with 25%+ grad/first professional. ("FTE" here means 100% of full-time plus 33% of part-time reported to IPEDS)
  • N = 238 4-yr publics like this including Mines, CSU, Eastern Michigan, Oregon, Arizona, Irvine, etc. Other AAUs are in "majority UG" (vs. high)      

Undergraduate Profile:
FT4/MS/HT: Full-time four-year, more selective, high transfer

  • Means: 4-year not 2-year, undergrads are < 20% part -time;
  • "More selective" is the top category based on 25th percentile ACT/SAT scores of entering freshmen. They do not now list the cutoffs but say it defines about 1/5 of all institutions. Other categories are "inclusive" and "selective". This is a really course categorization - there obviously are many places with far higher 25th percentiles than ours.
  • "High transfer" means that  > 20% of new UG in fall, are transfers. This is actually correct for us, though we are barely over 20%. This is the one where we hit right near a cut-off and get shunted the direction we probably think is inaccurate.
  • N = 52 4-yr publics in this category including SUNY-Stony Brook, Iowa State, CSU, Fashion Institute of Technology Carnegie's listing for us notes that we are within 5 percentage points of the cutoff for high transfer      

Size and Setting:
 L4/NR: Large four-year, primarily nonresidential define

  • Means: 10,000+ FTE with < 25% of UG living on campus. This is accurate but another one where we could be close to the cut-off point (on the on-campus measure), depending on how they've defined everything.
  • N=113 4-yr publics like this including Cal States, CUNYs, Arizona, Kansas, Oregon
  • We are the ONLY school, public or private, that is exactly A&S+prof/HGC, CompDoc/Nmed, HU, FT4/MS/HT, L4/NR.
  • Other subsets:
    • Equal us except not L4/NR (large 4yr, non-residential): Rutgers, SUNY Binghamton, U-Mass Amherst
    • Equal us except not HU (high UG): None
  • All 4 yr, public, A&S+prof, high grad coexistence, comprehensive doc, no med/vet: us, George Mason, Rutgers, SUNY Bing, UC-Riverside, U Conn, U Mass, UNC (Colorado), Oregon
  • All 4 yr, public, A&S+prof, HGC, comp doc, no med/vet, large 4 yr, primarily non-residential: Us, George Mason, Oregon

Remember, research expenditures are not used in the classifications in any way.

So what? Not much. The Carnegie classifications are to be used by ed researchers and others for categorizing institutions, period. They probably could have saved Price WaterhouseCooper a lot of work in doing peer lists. They do not include research funding (or AAU membership) in any way.

My guess is that institutions will still say "we're a Research I" and "we're a doctoral extensive." At least, I can't quite imagine myself saying, oh, we're a A&S+prof/HGC, CompDoc/Nmed, HU, FT4/MS/HT, L4/NR. Maybe if this all sticks we could have buttons made. But we will need to list this in JTF, maybe in admissions stuff, if public/leg/etc. becomes familiar.

We will stick with US AAU publics as our main peer group, and with the subset with no medical for things where that makes a difference.

Last revision 04/07/06

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