The Elective Classification for Community Engagement

Defining Community Engagement

Community engagement describes collaboration between institutions of higher education and their larger communities (local, regional/state, national, global) for the mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources in a context of partnership and reciprocity. The purpose of community engagement is the partnership of college and university knowledge and resources with those of the public and private sectors to enrich scholarship, research, and creative activity; enhance curriculum, teaching, and learning; prepare educated, engaged citizens; strengthen democratic values and civic responsibility; address critical societal issues; and contribute to the public good.

The 2024 Cycle

As a result of the changes imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are adjusting our timeline for future Carnegie cycles. We recognize that campuses are currently focused on challenges the pandemic has created for the campus and for community partners. These trying times will demand full attention to centering community partnerships in COVID-related response plans and budgetary changes in order to advance community engagement and assist in the recovery of communities. 

The 2023 cycle that we previously announced will move to 2024. After the 2024 classification, all cycles will be every two years (2024, 2026, 2028, 2030…) and campuses that achieve the classification will retain it for six years.

2024 Cycle Timeline Overview

  • Framework (application questions) released:  January 27, 2022
  • Applications Available on GivePulse: March 1, 2022
  • Purchase/Initiate an Application by: October 31, 2022
  • Application Deadline: May 1, 2023
  • Campuses Notified: December 2023
  • Public Announcement: January 2024

2026 Cycle Timeline Overview

  • Framework Released & Applications Available: January 26, 2024
  • Purchase/Initiate an Application by: November 4, 2024
  • Application deadline: April 1, 2025
  • Campuses notified: December 2025
  • Public Announcement: January 2026

The 2024 Cycle Frameworks

Campuses that have not previously received the classification will submit an application using the 2024 First-time Classification framework:

Campuses that received the classification in 2015 and are seeking to retain the classification will submit an application using the 2024 Re-Classification framework:

What if my campus was classified in 2015 and needs to re-classify in 2025?
Campuses that need to re-classify in 2025 are welcome to choose their preference between the 2024 (1 year early) or the 2026 (1 year late) cycles.

What data can be used in the application?

Typically, the data provided in the application should reflect the most recent academic year. However, we understand that COVID has likely impacted data from 2021-2022, 2020-2021, and 2019-2020.

For the 2024 cycle only, campuses may use data from AY 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21, and 2021-22 within the application. Campuses may use the data that provides the best representation of their community engagement: data provided for one question or set of questions can be from one academic year and data provided for another question or set of questions can be from a different academic year.

For each question and/or example, indicate the year that the data represents. For example: “(AY 2019-20)” or “In 2018-19, the Center for Community Engagement…”

In the 2026 cycle, campuses can use data from both AY 2022-23 and AY 2023-24 if they will have had time to assess and understand the data.

Although 2023-24 data may be available, not all campuses will have been able to assess and make sense of that data. Campuses will be welcome to use more recent data (2023-24) in the application, if they will have had the time to understand the outcomes and impacts of the data and believe it will offer a better representation of their campus.

The application will ask to indicate the data year(s) within the application questions.

Online Application 

Applications are available on Institutional representatives should visit the application payment page via GivePulse, where they will be prompted to select an application type (first-time or re-classification). After the payment is complete, an email receipt will be generated and will include a unique link to the classification framework application portal. There, you will be able to complete the application and save your progress as a draft. 

Applications must be initiated by October 31, 2022. Campuses can cancel an initiated application and request a refund until March 15, 2023. 

I’ve registered for the application. How do I access my institution’s application on GivePulse?

  1. Log in to
  2. From the account navigation on the top right corner, select “My Activity” and then “Surveys”
  3. Select the survey “First Time Classification” or “Re-Classification: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching” depending on your institution’s application status
  4. Within the application, there is a tab “Collaborators”. Within this section, you can add the names and email address of the individuals who will prepare the application.

Application Fees

Application fees are collected to support the administration of the Elective Classifications. The 2024 cycle of the Elective Classification for Community Engagement will institute a sliding scale fee structure. The Elective Classification for Community Engagement, in principle, is intended to be a tool of continuous improvement and building a community of practice. As stewards of the classification, we believe that varied perspectives among applicants and classified institutions are the pillar of advancing the practices of engaging in mutually beneficial and reciprocal community partnerships to contribute to the public good. It is therefore essential that the classification be accessible to institutions of higher education from diverse contexts. 

The prior flat-rate fee structure ascribed to the common confusion between what is “equal” and what is “equitable.” An application fee according to an institution’s available resources – as designated by instructional expenses and the number of FTEs – constitutes a more equitable system for applying for the classification. Instituting a sliding scale adheres to the principles of economic justice while also securing the requisite financial resources to administer the classification. 

The Classification is intended to invite wide participation and not exclude any campus from participating because of the inability to cover the application fee. Campuses may request a fee waiver prior to accessing the online application by emailing us at

Current Classified Campuses

A listing of the institutions that currently hold the Elective Classification for Community Engagement can be found here

A listing of classified campuses from 2006 to present can be found here



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