University Benchmarks

Ranking the Top 100 Academic Universities ranks the universities that attract and produce the best academic students.

There are many 'University Rankings' on the internet. Most rankings rely heavily on subjective metrics like 'reputation' and 'selectivity'. UniversityBenchmarks is purely an academic ranking model. The rankings are based on the reported academic and financial metrics of the colleges. There are no subjective factors like 'reputation' that are used. The calculations are performed using normal statistical models. All universities are considered equal and there is no weighting of the ranking categories.

The university 2014-2015 dataset is comprised of over 2400 US Universities & Colleges and comes from multiple sources using the most favorable reported metrics for a university.

The universities are ranked against each other in each filtered set. It is an iterative process whereby lower ranking universities are removed and the set is re-ranked until the final set of 100 is reached.

Selecting 'Rank Top 10 Only' will show the Top 10 for each filter category ranked against each other.

The academic rankings of the universities within the major conferences (ACC, Big12, Big10, Pac12, SEC) are available.

The 2017 rankings will be available in August.

  • It is possible for universities to be ranked higher/lower than one another depending on the filter set.
  • Conference averages are based on the top 8 schools in the conference.
  • Public Schools are highlighted
  • Clicking on the university's seal icon will take you to the university's website.

Ranking Fields

Rank - Overall rank based on the average of the ranking fields (Scores, Difficulty, Smartest, Brainpower, Faculty and Research).

Scores - SAT & ACT scores. The university's test scores are corrected for dropout rate when score level is Good, Excellent or Elite. This will slightly boost scores for highly competitive schools.

Difficulty - Academic rigor is estimated based on how difficult it is to get an "A" at the university. An estimated GPA at the university is calculated for the average US Student. University grade inflation, average GPA, and STEM density are factors.

Smartest - University that can field the highest scoring students based on the average US University size. Higher Smartest Rank = "Smartest for the Average University"

Brainpower - The average "smartest" rank using 5 reference populations (CalTech, MIT, Stanford, GaTech and Berkeley). Higher Brainpower Rank = "Higher Density of Smart Students". The university ranked higher can mathematically field 'X' number of smarter students than universities ranked below them.

Faculty - Ranking based on number of % of faculty with awards and academy membership.

Research - Ranking is achieved by iteratively ranking the average of 3 research metrics (r-pop, r-stem, r-other ). The lowest ranked college is then removed and the new set is re-ranked. The result is the schools with potentially the strongest research environments per student bubble up to the top regardless of size or research budget.

  • r-pop - Average research spending for student population
  • r-stem - STEM research spending
  • r-other - Other/Medical/Health research spending

Salary ROI - "Salary Return on Investment" is not used in the overall ranking but is provided for additional information. Using the undergraduate average starting and mid-career salaries, the rank is based on a 20yr salary accumulation (with raises) minus the cost of a 4 year education at the university. Salaries are normalized across the country using the average COLA for the university's geo-economic region (7 regions total). The COLA effect is diminished by the level of the university. Elite, Excellent and Good universities have a greater distribution of graduates across the country and a diminishing COLA effect. The resultant value would be the graduate's spending potential over the 20yr period.

Overall ROI - "Overall Return on Investment" is not used in the overall ranking but is provided for additional information. The average of Overall Rank and Salary ROI. This would be the "Best academic bang for the buck". Colleges that produce the best education, at the best price, with the best return will be ranked higher.

Color Key - ranks are colorized as follows 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 50 100

The 2016 University Academic Rankings

American Athletic Conference Academic Rankings

Search :
examples: Yale "Wake Forest" "Big Ten" TX NC

2016 American Athletic Conference Academic Rankings

2016 American Athletic Conference Academic Rankings
rank value image public university state conference scores difficulty smartest brainpower faculty research r pop r stem r other salary ROI overall ROI scores value difficulty value smartest value brainpower value faculty value research value salary ROI value overall ROI value scores level stem drop gpa avg research undergrads grads salary price scores valid
-Conf-Ivy League (Average)-Ivy League111111121312209|921.20|702241|932183|9118|941.33|991491251|752.00|982209/1473/33Elite2843.43580824691005957563427True
-Conf-Ivy League (Low)-Ivy League111112322312127|891.96|512172|912090|8735|882.33|981491251|752.00|982127/1418/32Elite2843.43217824691005957563427True
PrivateTulane University of LouisianaLouisianaAmerican Athletic Conference142332152741995|832.39|402058|861932|80112|631.67|981239434|624.00|961995/1330/30Excellent1003.25167789247114470063110True
PublicUniversity of South FloridaFloridaAmerican Athletic Conference554231111521730|722.56|362006|841948|81112|631.00|991274843|643.50|971730/1153/26AboveAverage51432.9540831067108714270031824True
PublicUniversity of HoustonTexasAmerican Athletic Conference615413425311690|702.28|431990|831929|8061|802.67|971424946|712.50|981690/1127/25AboveAverage48492.641173303778774480034121True
PublicUniversity of Central FloridaFloridaAmerican Athletic Conference461165634871740|732.62|342062|862016|84146|514.00|961214021|616.00|941740/1160/26AboveAverage28342.951165267180964270036989True
PrivateSouthern Methodist UniversityTexasAmerican Athletic Conference233729898451989|832.31|422030|851864|78103|668.33|921382025|694.50|961989/1326/30Excellent18243.2523639148815010063985True
-Conf-American Athletic Conference (Average)-American Athletic Conference464264434571792|752.58|352016|841954|81139|543.33|971366570|685.00|951792/1195/27AboveAverage28313.011232338972324768845724True
PrivateUniversity of TulsaOklahomaAmerican Athletic Conference3281056379221922|802.29|431863|781655|69125|585.00|951527141|763.50|971922/1282/29Good32303.1022347312095640052055True
PublicTemple UniversityPennsylvaniaAmerican Athletic Conference7865745431091675|702.78|301964|821897|79153|493.00|971126975|568.50|921675/1117/25AboveAverage17302.951272828791984540040700True
PublicUniversity of CincinnatiOhioAmerican Athletic Conference77761010101010151675|702.76|311946|811874|78300|010.00|901676564|844.50|961675/1117/25AboveAverage23382.95024300110135470043008True
-Conf-American Athletic Conference (Low)-American Athletic Conference79871091089581675|702.81|301942|811868|78300|09.00|911366570|687.00|931675/1117/25AboveAverage28313.01222338972324768845724True
PublicUniversity of MemphisTennesseeAmerican Athletic Conference7910987666681570|652.82|291831|761722|72167|446.33|941247356|627.50|931570/1047/24Average23562.80501707339864390035902True
PublicEast Carolina UniversityNorth CarolinaAmerican Athletic Conference101098989879101545|642.83|291853|771763|73190|377.67|921160097|589.50|911545/1030/23Average19392.80282225252594170036299True

Common Questions...

What are the best colleges in the American Athletic Conference?

1. Tulane University of Louisiana

2. University of South Florida

3. University of Houston

4. University of Central Florida

5. Southern Methodist University

6. University of Tulsa

7. Temple University

2016 Top 10 American Athletic Conference Academic Rankings

2016 Top 10 American Athletic Conference Academic Rankings
rank value public name state conference scores difficulty smartest brainpower faculty research salary ROI overall ROI scores level stem drop gpa avg research undergrads grads salary price
-1.00-Conf-Ivy League (Average)-Ivy League111111312209/1473/33Elite2843.43580824691005957563427
-1.17-Conf-Ivy League (Low)-Ivy League111112312127/1418/32Elite2843.43217824691005957563427
12.50PrivateTulane University of LouisianaLouisianaAmerican Athletic Conference142332741995/1330/30Excellent1003.25167789247114470063110
23.33PublicUniversity of South FloridaFloridaAmerican Athletic Conference554231521730/1153/26AboveAverage51432.9540831067108714270031824
23.33PublicUniversity of HoustonTexasAmerican Athletic Conference615413311690/1127/25AboveAverage48492.641173303778774480034121
43.83PublicUniversity of Central FloridaFloridaAmerican Athletic Conference461165871740/1160/26AboveAverage28342.951165267180964270036989
54.33PrivateSouthern Methodist UniversityTexasAmerican Athletic Conference233729451989/1326/30Excellent18243.2523639148815010063985
-4.33-Conf-American Athletic Conference (Average)-American Athletic Conference464264571792/1195/27AboveAverage28313.011232338972324768845724
55.67PrivateUniversity of TulsaOklahomaAmerican Athletic Conference3281056221922/1282/29Good32303.1022347312095640052055
76.17PublicTemple UniversityPennsylvaniaAmerican Athletic Conference7865741091675/1117/25AboveAverage17302.951272828791984540040700
87.83PublicUniversity of CincinnatiOhioAmerican Athletic Conference77761010151675/1117/25AboveAverage23382.95024300110135470043008
-8.33-Conf-American Athletic Conference (Low)-American Athletic Conference7987109581675/1117/25AboveAverage28313.01222338972324768845724
98.60PublicUniversity of MemphisTennesseeAmerican Athletic Conference7910987681570/1047/24Average23562.80501707339864390035902
109.00PublicEast Carolina UniversityNorth CarolinaAmerican Athletic Conference101098989101545/1030/23Average19392.80282225252594170036299