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The Cost Study 2021 – Carnegie Classifications

Based on the 2018 Carnegie Taxonomy Basic Classification

(Click here to use the Institution Lookup tool)


In 2005, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Higher Education instituted a new Basic Classification taxonomy of higher education institutions. Since the 2005 cycle of The Cost Study, we have utilized this classification grouping for Research Universities, Doctoral Universities, Comprehensive (Master’s) Colleges and Universities, and Baccalaureate Colleges. These classifications were updated in 2010, 2015 and 2018. The 2020 cycle  will continue to group institutions as below based on 2018 Carnegie Classifications. The abbreviations indicated reflect the 2015 system but are still congruent with the 2018 classification criteria.

  • Research Institutions will now include:
    • Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity (R1)
    • Doctoral Universities – High Research Activity (R2)
  • Doctoral Institutions will now include:
    • Doctoral / Professional Universities  (R3)
  • Comprehensive Institutions will now include:
    • Master’s Colleges & Universities – Larger Programs (M1)
    • Master’s Colleges & Universities – Medium Programs (M2)
    • Master’s Colleges & Universities – Smaller Programs (M3)
  • Baccalaureate Institutions will now include:
    • Baccalaureate Colleges – Arts & Science Focus (B1)
    • Baccalaureate Colleges – Diverse Fields (B2)


We will note all Special Focus Institutions (SF)