The Elective Classification For Community Engagement

The seal of the classification for community engagement

What is 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.

How to Apply – 2026 Cycle

As a result of the changes imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are adjusting our timeline for future Carnegie cycles. All cycles will be every three years and campuses that obtain the classification will retain it for six years.


2026 cycle timeline overview

  • Framework (application questions) released and application 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


Campuses that have not previously received the classification will submit an application using the 2026 First-time Classification framework. In preparation for the 2026 First-time Classification framework, campuses may review the 2026 First-time Classification framework:

Campuses that received the classification in 2015 or 2020 and are seeking to retain the classification will submit an application using the 2026 Re-Classification framework. In preparation for the 2026 Re-Classification framework, campuses may review the 2026 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 encouraged to apply for the 2026 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.

For the 2026 cycle, campuses may use data from AY 2021-22, 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 (including fall 2024) 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 2021-22)” or “In 2022-23, the Center for Community Engagement…”


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 November 4, 2024. Campuses can cancel an initiated application and request a refund until March 15, 2025.

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 2026 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


Complete application by April 1, 2025. Campuses will be notified in December 2025, with a public announcement being made in January 2026.

Future Cycles


After the 2026 cycle is completed, we will shift to a 3-year application cycle, with the next application taking place in 2029. The structure is as follows:

  • Framework Released & Applications Available: January 25, 2027
  • Purchase/Initiate an Application by: November 8, 2027
  • Application deadline: April 3, 2028
  • Campuses notified: December 2028
  • Public Announcement: January 2029

What data can be used in the application?

In the 2029 cycle, campuses can use data from both AY 2024-25, AY 2025-26, and AY 2026-2027 if they will have had time to assess and understand the data.

Although 2026-27 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 (2026-27) 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.

Current Classified Campuses

A listing of campuses receiving classification in 2024 can be found here.

A listing of all campuses currently classified can be found here.

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

ACE Engage

As a means to bring together individuals who are leading community engagement efforts on their campuses and applying for the Carnegie Elective Classification for Community Engagement, we have created an online forum for applicants on a platform called ACE Engage. We are excited about this platform as a tool to connect, share resources, and discuss best practices for enacting and communicating community engagement.

What is ACE Engage?

ACE Engage is an online platform sponsored by the American Council on Education that acts as a hybrid social media and learning management platform.

What will the online forum include?

The Carnegie Elective Classifications team will post interactive content to support campuses that are currently or preparing to apply for the Elective Classification for Community Engagement. Some offerings will include:

  • Discussion posts
  • Monthly webinars
  • Informal Q&A sessions
  • Repository of resources related to the classification

This forum is intended to support you, which means that the content can also be created by you! Post a question, share a resource, or create group chats to connect with colleagues.

Who can join and how do I get started?

Anyone who is working in community engagement and has interest in preparing for the Elective Classification for Community Engagement may join the forum. Unlimited members of your team may participate.

Contact Us

For more information, or if you have any questions, please email us at