Selected Peer and Aspirational Institutions

University Dashboard

A University Dashboard of 16 measures was developed to track institutional progress toward meeting projected six-year goals. Each measure will be compared to the measures of selected peer institutions throughout a five-year timeline.

Download the List of peer and aspirational institutions (PDF)

Those measures include: 

  • Undergraduate Enrollment 
  • Under-Represented Minorities as Percent of Undergraduate Enrollment 
  • Total International Enrollment 
  • Percent of Undergraduates Pell-Eligible 
  • New Freshmen Average ACT 
  • First-Year Retention Rate 
  • Six-Year Graduation Rate 
  • Bachelor’s Degrees Awarded 
  • Master’s Degrees Awarded 
  • Doctoral Degrees Awarded 
  • Tenure-Track Faculty as Percent of Total Full-Time Faculty 
  • Extramural Research Funding 
  • Endowment Assets 
  • University Investments 
  • Debt Burden Ratio 
  • Composite Financial Index (CFI).


Six peer institutions were selected because they share identified common key characteristics. 

  1. Georgia State University – very impressive progress in student success measures 
  2. University of Houston – similar in size and with goal of enhanced national distinction 
  3. Western Michigan University – a Mid-American Conference university with similar demographic characteristics 
  4. Ohio University – An Ohio university similar in size and academic quality 
  5. University of North Texas – An institution similar to Kent State but with impressive upward trajectory in research over the last 10 years 
  6. Utah State University – A university that is geographically diverse from Kent State but similar in academic quality and student success 


Five aspirational universities were selected to help guide the Strategic Roadmap planning and tracking process. Each university reflected a recent upward trajectory in national distinction. 

  1. Clemson University – An example of how a university can focus on strengths and a narrower range of programs to achieve targeted excellence 
  2. Pennsylvania State University – An example of how a system of campuses working as “one university” can bring the resources of a public research university to serve a large geographic footprint 
  3. University of South Florida – An example of how a focused, ambitious and metric-driven strategic plan can propel a university to excellence 
  4. Temple University – An example of how a regionally recognized university moves toward national prominence through effective communication 
  5. Virginia Commonwealth University – An example of how a focus on university priorities and significant and sustained success in a major sport (men’s basketball) can help propel a university’s brand nationally.