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Rattler Nation: Carnegie Foundation to Make Major Changes to How it Classifies Research Universities
From Rattler Nation …
The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education is making changes to its most closely watched college labels.
The American Council on Education, which helps manage the classifications, is making several revisions, effective in 2025. The one that will capture the most attention is its drastic simplification of the criteria that determine what caliber of research university an institution is.
Carnegie Classification analysts have long used a complex formula, involving 10 factors and calculations that compare universities, to decide which ones will get the coveted “doctoral universities - very high research activity,” or “R1,” label. Now, just two factors will distinguish that designation from the R2 level (“high research activity”): how much money an institution spends on research, and how many doctorates it awards in a year.
In 2025, the cutoff for the R1 label will be spending $50 million on research, and awarding at least 70 doctorates, in any research field, in a year. For R2, it’s $5 million in research expenditures, and 20 doctorates. There will also be a new category, “research colleges and universities,” for colleges with at least $2.5 million in research expenditures annually.
The Carnegie Classifications were designed 50 years ago to help researchers, policy makers and college officials themselves make sense of the complex, diffuse mélange of roughly 4,000 American colleges and universities whose missions, resources and student bodies vary greatly. That the Carnegie framework has, for many people inside and outside higher education, become reducible to one factor is among the reasons why officials at the American Council on Education, which last year joined the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in managing the classification concluded that it needed an overhaul.
The new changes could make it easier for several HBCU’s to achieve the coveted R-1 status. Earlier this year, FAMU reported a record $96.4 million in research awards in an August press release, though it reported vastly different numbers in its final year-end outcomes on president Robinson’s 2023 goals.
In any case, FAMU, which is one of 11 HBCUs that currently holds Carnegie R-2 status, has set a goal of achieving R-1 status by 2030. Currently, no HBCU holds the R-1 designation.