Classification Descriptions

All accredited, degree-granting colleges and universities in the United States represented in the National Center for Education Statistics IPEDS system are eligible for inclusion in the Carnegie Classifications (as of the year a classification is issued, and subject to the availability of required data). Accreditation status is based on information provided by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education. For more information on accreditation, see

The classifications and categories are documented in this section. For a detailed explanation of how the categories were defined and the data used, refer to the Methodology.

All-inclusive Classifications

These classifications include all eligible institutions, subject to data availability. They are derived from national data on institutional characteristics and activities from sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, the National Science Foundation, and the College Board.

Classifications are time-specific snapshots of institutional attributes and behavior based on data from 2008 to 2010. Institutions might be classified differently using a different time frame.

Elective Classifications

These classifications rely on voluntary participation by institutions.

News & Announcements

IU research center to house Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education More

Updated Carnegie Classifications Show Increase in For-Profits, Change in Traditional Landscape. More

Carnegie Selects Colleges and Universities for 2010 Community Engagement Classification More

Classifications FAQs

Answers to questions you may have about the Carnegie Classifications. More

Reading Room

Rethinking and Reframing the Carnegie Classification
Alexander C. McCormick and Chun-Mei Zhao

Carnegie's Community-Engagement Classification: Intentions and Insights (PDF)
Amy Driscoll

Attaining Carnegie's Community-Engagement Classification (PDF)
James J. Zuiches and the NC State Community Engagement Task Force
from Change (January/February 2008)

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