Carnegie Classification Frameworks

First-Time Classification

For the 2020 classification, campuses that have not previously received the classification will need to submit an application using what is referred to as the “first-time documentation framework.” A PDF version of the Documentation Framework to be used for planning purposes only is available here.  There is also a guide attached to this version to assist institutions in the documentation planning process. 


For the 2020 classification, institutions that received the classification in 2010 and are seeking to retain the classification will be able to re-apply through an reclassification process. A PDF version of the application for reclassification to be used for planning purposes only is available here.

Institutions that received the classification in 2015 will not need to do anything in 2020.   2015 classified campuses will retain the classification until 2025. To be reclassified in 2020, the 2010 campuses will need to reapply through a reclassification process announced in 2018.

Effective Approaches

  1. The First-Time Classification Framework is available on the Carnegie Foundation website with an embedded “guide” for applicants. It is advisable for applicants undertaking the Re-Classification Framework to consult the First-Time Classification for information from the “guide.”.

  2. Because this is an institutional classification, evidence for community engagement often comes from many parts of the campus as well as from community partners. Campuses that have been successful in achieving the classification report that it has been highly beneficial to form a cross-institutional team with community representation to work on the application. (See Zuiches, James J. et al. (2008). Attaining Carnegie's Community-Engagement Classification. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning40 (1), pp. 42-45; also available on the NERCHE website under Carnegie Classification resources)

  3. An authentic understanding of community engagement is enhanced when campuses describe successes as well as activities that didn't go as planned.  The latter provide opportunities for learning and improvement and can be described accordingly.

  4. Each section of the application has word limits. While it is understandable that you will want to tell everything about your campus’s community engagement activity, it is necessary to be judicious in selecting the most important and compelling evidence for the application.