Peer Institutions

Peer List for Western Washington University

On December 10, 2004, the Board of Trustees of Western Washington University, upon recommendation of the President, approved the following list of 25 peer institutions for Western, with the understanding that the listing may be reviewed and altered over time to adequately serve Western’s analytic needs of resource management, performance measurement and trend analysis. It was also determined and acknowledged that if this peer group is to become a resource in Western’s presentations to the Higher Education Coordinating Board, the Legislature and the Governor, additional work on the development of detailed statistical information would be required.

Questions and comments concerning this list should be directed to Kirk England


Currently, the Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB) uses one peer group for Washington public comprehensive universities for the purpose of various comparisons (e.g. comparing average faculty salaries, comparing funding per students FTE, etc.). The HECB-identified peer group is made up of all public comprehensives in the nation – anywhere from 230 to 275 public institutions, depending upon annual participation in various surveys that inform various national peer studies.

While this method of peer comparison has been useful to the State, to Western and to the HECB, particularly in the area of comparing average faculty salaries over time, it was thought by Western to be too large and general a peer group for comparison studies in the other areas of higher education management and programming.  Some areas that Western is interested in exploring within the context of a smaller peer group include: developing benchmarks for self-assessment, program review and evaluation; assisting in management analysis to identify areas of excellence with regard to the best practices or areas in need of attention; and providing guidance for policy development and strategic planning.

Criteria used to identify Western’s Peer Group

Western developed a listing of a select group of regional public comprehensives similar to Western in the mission as well as in national reputation for academic excellence. The criteria used to develop Western’s initial listing of “peer” institutions include:

  • Master’s I Carnegie Classification
  • Public funding
  • National reputation for academic excellence (e.g., USN&WR, Regional Tier 1 Public Institutions).
  • Faculty excellence
  • Institutional mission similar to Western
  • Enrollment between 5,000 and 20,000
  • Institutional diversity

Global Challenge States Peer List

For information related to the establishment of the Global Challenge States Peer List please see "Higher Education Per-Student Funding Comparisons" prepared by OFM.

Updated versions of the "New Economy Index" can be found here.

Research and Analysis

Peer Lists

WWU Peers

Global Challenge State Peers

Washington State Public Institutions of Higher Education

Miscellaneous Research and Analysis