As a resource for research, NACU conducts comparative studies that provide an opportunity for its campuses to share knowledge that contribute to data-driven decisions and improved strategy. Both longitudinal and short-term research projects collect and analyze data that aim to create efficiencies and positive change. NACU receives grant funding for some projects.


Benchmarking Dashboards: NACU hosts benchmarking and ROI dashboards containing ten years of IPEDS data for NACU campuses in the categories of admissions, enrollment, financial aid, finance, and human resources.

Enrollment Dashboard: A partnership with Applied Policy Research looks at monthly enrollment data as a benchmark for tracking progress. Only participating NACU campuses are able to access the data. An institution’s enrollment management office serves as the point of contact.


Benchmarks for Efficiency and Change: A research study funded by the TIAA Institute that collects and analyzes direct and indirect costs for the delivery of instruction. Data analysis will yield the effective operating margins that support financial sustainability.

Educating for Civic Professionalism: A partnership with the Kettering Foundation to understand the role of academic leadership in advancing civic professionalism. Learn more about our Civic Professionalism project.


Expense and Value Opportunity Assessment: A partnership with Expense Reduction Analysts that provides a no cost Opportunity Assessment to increase ROI with goods and services.

NACU Quick Studies: A series of brief studies based on campus interest in areas of academics and operations.

Net Tuition Project: A partnership with Applied Policy Research that compares and analyzes annual net tuition and the impact on campuses. This study has been conducted for more than ten years.

For more information about NACU research projects, contact Sean Creighton.