About UNLV Peers

Universities compare and exchange information with other institutions to inform themselves and their constituencies about the well-being of their institution and to identify areas in need of attention. As a result, the information collected through inter-institutional comparisons is widely used to inform strategic planning efforts and to fine-tune decision making.


Comparison institutions fall into one of four categories or types: competitors, aspiration institutions, peers, and predetermined groups (Teeter and Brinkman, 2003.) The latter category consists of institutions that are classified together based on definitions that are established outside of the institution. The most commonly used predetermined classification is that developed by the Carnegie Foundation. Which of the four groups is selected depends both on the purpose of the comparison, and the criteria used. Frequently used criteria include institutional mission, level and mix of degrees offered, location or setting, enrollment, professional schools, financial and human resources, and research activity.    


Higher education institutions may select different sets of peer institutions for different purposes.  For example, an institution may select a set of financial peer institutions for the purpose of comparing revenues, research expenditures and faculty salaries. Similarly another set of peers may be selected to inform, or tuition increases or policy development in specific areas


The initial set of universities used to select UNLV’s sets of peers is a predetermined group of 105 public comprehensive doctoral institutions, defined by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in its 2005 classification. Variables were selected primarily from the U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the National Science Foundation Survey of Research and Development Expenditures and U.S. News and World Report’s America’s Best Colleges. The selection of variables was based on relevance to the UNLV’s mission as well as reliability and availability of data. Additional measures may be added as they become available to assist in the strategic planning effort.