Do we have to use the same baseline year for all credits?

No, you are welcome to choose the baseline that you feel is most appropriate for each credit. However, we do encourage institutions to stick with the baseline they’ve chosen for subsequent reports to provide continuity for benchmarking purposes.

A baseline year may be any year from 2005 to the present OR a year, 1990 to 2004, that the institution has adopted as part of its sustainability plans or policies or in the context of other reporting obligations.

Recommended best practices for defining a baseline include:

  • Using the average of three consecutive years to reduce the impact of outliers.
  • Using the same baseline year for multiple credits to reduce reporting requirements. For example, institutions using 2005 for all STARS credits that are baseline-based would only have to calculate baseline weighted campus user data once.
  • Ensuring that baseline and performance year data are valid and reliable (e.g., that the data were gathered in the same manner).

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