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The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating Systemâ„¢ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Technical Manual

The following materials outline the minimum requirements and reporting criteria associated with STARS. The data collected for each credit is documented in the online Reporting Tool

STARS 2.1 (current version)

Credit Checklist (Google sheet | Excel) - a quick snapshot of the credits included in the current version of STARS

Technical Manual - the definitive guide to STARS credits and criteria

STARS 2.1 Technical Manual cover


STARS 2.1 Technical Manual | Administrative Update Two | Published January 2017

Download as a single PDF document or access individual credits below.

Summary of Changes




Supporting Materials

  • Data Tracking Sheets - optional spreadsheets that can be shared with data providers. These files are made available for those institutions that like to supplement the online Tool with standalone spreadsheets for data collection and tracking purposes. Data must be entered into the online Reporting Tool independently.


See table below or download a zipped file containing all credits. There are several different ways to share credits with data providers and de-centralize the reporting process (see our knowledge base article).

Academics (AC)



Engagement (EN)

Campus Engagement

Public Engagement

Operations (OP)

Air & Climate



Food & Dining






Planning & Administration (PA)

Coordination & Planning

Diversity & Affordability


Wellbeing & Work


Innovation & Leadership (IN)

Innovation (optional)

Exemplary Practice (optional)


* credit does not apply to all institutions 

STARS 2.0 (valid until May 31, 2017)

Credit Checklist (PDF | xls) - a quick snapshot of the credits included in STARS 2.0

Technical Manual

STARS 2.0 Technical Manual 

STARS 2.0 Technical Manual | Administrative Update Two | Published January 2014  

Current participants have until May 19, 2017 to report under version 2.0. 

Download as a single PDF document.

Version 2.0 summary page (with access to individual credits) 



Supporting Materials 

  • Standards & Terms (online version | PDF) - all underlined text in the Technical Manual is defined here

Prior (Inactive) Versions

Archived versions of the Technical Manual are available, including detailed summaries of the changes made between each iteration. 

Credit Development

The current version of STARS incorporates feedback and suggestions from hundreds of diverse stakeholders and experts (see the Technical Development Policy and archived versions of the Technical Manual). 

The STARS governance structure collectively strives to ensure that each credit is objective, measurable, and actionable. STARS is designed to incorporate the full spectrum of sustainability achievement, and upper levels of achievement represent highly ambitious, long-term goals. Therefore there are some credits for which few, if any, institutions will achieve full points currently. 

Given the diversity of higher education institutions, each STARS credit should be appropriate for most institution types. In order to accommodate this diversity, some STARS credits do not include detailed specifications but are instead flexible or open. In other cases, credits include an applicability criterion, so that the credits only apply to certain types of institutions. By following this approach, institutions are not penalized when they do not earn credits that they could not possibly earn due to their circumstances.