Benchmark Institutions

The Office of Institutional Research & Effectiveness maintains several lists of benchmark institutions used by members of the University community. These lists are fundamental to Bellarmine's continuous improvement efforts, especially in connection to strategic planning, program evaluation, accreditation, and compliance.

The selection of peer and aspirant institutions represents a concerted, intentional, and occasionally iterative process completed by each respective committee, working group, or office whose ongoing assessment practices include benchmarking. Because each entity has a specific purpose or need in developing a benchmark institution list, not all lists are the same—but there is frequent overlap between lists.

KPI Peer and Aspirant Institutions

A new, empirically-derived list of peer and aspirant institutions developed by IR&E based on Bellarmine's key performance indicators. Last updated: January 2020. Click here for information on the methodology.

Peer Institutions

Aspirant Institutions

Atlantic Sun (ASUN) Athletic Conference

This benchmark list consists of institutions in Bellarmine's NCAA Division I athletic conference, the Atlantic Sun (ASUN) Conference.

Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities (AIKCU)

The current roster of AIKCU institutions are:

Council of Independent Colleges (CIC)

A group of 46 benchmark institutions selected from among the 700+ CIC member colleges. This list is used for annual finance benchmarking and is also one of the comparison groups used for the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). Last updated: February 2019; new institutions added to the benchmark list for AY19-20 are denoted with an asterisk (*).

National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)

For each NSSE administration, Bellarmine uses the CIC benchmark group as one comparison group (see above) as well as a list of Kentucky institutions as a second group. The Kentucky group appears below. A third comparison group (not listed) consists of all private, not-for-profit institutions in the Midwest and Southeast U.S. regions who administered the NSSE within the past two years (n = 227). Last updated: May 2018


A list of colleges and universities whose libraries are comparable to the W. L. Lyons Brown Library at Bellarmine University. Last updated: July 2019; new institutions added since the last benchmarking project in 2011 are denoted with an asterisk (*).

Updating Benchmark Institution Lists

If you have any questions about these lists, or would like to submit your group's list for inclusion on this website, please contact the Office of Institutional Research & Effectiveness.