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Univ. moves from R1 to R2 research tier in Carnegie Classification

The Carnegie Classification of Institutions in Higher Education released the 2021 classifications for research activity in universities and colleges across the U.S. As of Dec. 15, Brandeis dropped from being classified as an R1 institution to an R2 institution, according to the Carnegie Classification page

The main difference between R1 and R2 research institutions lies in the relative level of funding and research output from the university, according to the Carnegie Classification page. R1 institutions have a “very high research activity” while R2 institutions have “high research activity.” 

Both R1 and R2 institutions are awarded with at least 20 research or scholarship doctoral degrees and have had at least $5 million spent in the past year on research expenditures. 

While the classifications have been released publicly, there is still a six-week review period during which Chief Administrators and Institutional Research Directors will review the basis for the classifications, according to the page. The classifications will be deemed as official by the end of January 2022. 

The Carnegie Classification provides a standard framework to capture the differences in university goals and output since the 1970s, according to their webpage. The website states that, “this framework has been widely used in the study of higher education, both as a way to represent and control for institutional differences.” 

The Carnegie classification updates as needed, according to their page, in order to reflect substantial changes in institutions. Since it was established in the 1970s, the classifications have been updated in 1976, 1987, 2000, 2005, 2010, 2015, 2018 and 2021. 

Additionally, the Carnegie Classification arrives at its classification using empirical data from universities and colleges. The data sources from which the classifications are drawn include the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from 2019-2020 as well as the 2019 and 2020 National Science Foundation surveys in Higher Education and Research Development and the Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering

The methodology for ascertaining university rankings is detailed on their website. The research expenditures and output that the Carnegie Classification system considers is not limited to research within the realm of science, technology, engineering and math, but rather also includes research from the humanities and social sciences. 

This tool has been used by researchers, administrators and policymakers across the nation. It is used to determine the grants and federal and state funding that institutions receive and even serves to inform the U.S. News and World Report rankings of universities. It was originally produced by the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University.

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