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Tier 1 FAQ

What is a Tier 1 University?

The Carnegie Classification of Institutions is the gold standard for objective ranking of an institution’s degree-granting and research capacity.

UNLV is currently classified as a “High Research” university (Tier 2, in the top 4.5 percent of all 4,600 U.S. colleges and universities). UNLV’s goal is to be classified as a “Very High Research” university, placing it among the top 100 institutions (Tier 1, top 2.3 percent).

Why Does Nevada Need Tier 1 (“Very High”) Research Universities?

“Very High Research” universities improve the quality of life and yield huge returns on state and community investments in higher education. Tier 1 universities:

  • Drive major economic impact in their states (double to triple our current $1.5B impact)
  • Improve the human infrastructure and health care of their regions
  • Attract industries by providing research and educational support to their workforces
  • Produce a highly qualified workforce
  • Attract students from around the world
  • Expand the community's export economy
  • Bring in large federal grants and private industry contracts
  • Create patents and business startups
How will UNLV develop a plan to achieve Tier 1 status?

UNLV will study comparable Tier 1 universities; benchmark needed inputs and expected outputs; analyze all levels of the institution to assess current status and needed changes; and set quantitative benchmarks to measure progress.

What are UNLV’s Tier 1 performance targets?

In order to reach Tier 1 status, UNLV would need a:

  • $80 million increase in sponsored research per year
  • 100% increase in per capita sponsored research dollars
    • i.e., double grant and contract dollars per faculty member per year
  • 20% improvement in six-year undergraduate graduation rate
  • 100 more research doctorates graduating per year
  • $7 million increase per year in patent and licensing revenue
What are the funding gaps UNLV needs to fill to become Tier 1?

To attain Tier 1 status, UNLV will need to generate resources -- from state, community, external sources -- to expand its annual operating expenditures by $300 million per year by 2033. The funds would be used in part for:

  • 300 more faculty
  • 2 million gross square feet in additional research space (labs)
  • A $20 million to $40 million annual increase in capital investment

The sources of the funds include:

  • A $30 million restoration in state funding (approximately 40% of what was cut)
  • A $20 million increase in annual revenue from contracts and licenses
  • A $300 million increase in endowment
  • A $60 million increase in annual gifts

If achieved, UNLV would be contributing more than $3 billion (double current impact) to regional and state economy

What are the goals for UNLV’s Tier 1 initiative (5-year horizon)?
  • An enrollment of 30,000 students (headcount)
  • An instructional faculty 1,150 positions
  • An increase of tenure-track faculty to 900 positions
  • The six-year graduation rate that surpasses 50%
  • To grant 4,200 bachelor's and 1,500 graduate/professional degrees per year
  • More than 200 research doctorates awards per year
  • $75 million annually in grants and contracts
  • 30 degree programs ranked in top 150 nationally
  • Total campus space expands by 400,000 GSF