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

Conference USA Academic Rankings

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

2016 Conference Usa Academic Rankings

2016 Conference Usa 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
PrivateRice UniversityTexasConference USA111112224112189|910.77|812175|912100|8816|952.00|981881706|941.00|992189/1459/33Elite3873.30108392626956390056316True
-Conf-Ivy League (Average)-Ivy League121121221222209|921.20|702241|932183|9118|941.67|981491251|752.00|982209/1473/33Elite2843.43580824691005957563427True
-Conf-Ivy League (Low)-Ivy League222222322222127|891.96|512172|912090|8735|882.33|981491251|752.00|982127/1418/32Elite2843.43217824691005957563427True
PublicFlorida International UniversityFloridaConference USA432223733821625|682.68|331977|821917|8090|702.67|971245928|625.00|951625/1083/24Average32492.801134100986014380035509True
-Conf-Conference USA (Average)-Conference USA334433332621683|702.66|331931|801851|77133|562.67|971344856|674.50|961683/1122/25AboveAverage31432.901202046351754667536885True
PublicUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamAlabamaConference USA224941111721745|732.59|351904|791719|72149|501.00|991281547|645.00|951745/1163/26AboveAverage34512.954821167970194220033957True
PublicFlorida Atlantic UniversityFloridaConference USA7654368661081560|652.83|291881|781800|75148|515.67|941188094|597.00|931560/1040/23Average33522.80612547648214460034316True
PublicUniversity of North TexasTexasConference USA373381010117651650|692.83|291955|811888|79161|469.00|911324108|665.50|951650/1100/25AboveAverage16472.95402975867284360029926True
PublicThe University of Texas at San AntonioTexasConference USA897657859321540|642.84|291862|781776|74152|496.00|941478019|744.50|961540/1027/23Average47682.80572428543435590029854True
PublicUniversity of North Carolina at CharlotteNorth CarolinaDivision I-AA Independents / C...6565711111010571580|662.75|311875|781789|75160|4710.33|901349726|676.00|941580/1053/24Average33442.80282221650224520032542True
PublicOld Dominion UniversityVirginiaConference USA888711437213101540|642.84|291834|761738|72181|403.00|971133706|5710.50|901540/1027/23Average19462.801012011548174310039248True
PublicLouisiana Tech UniversityLouisianaConference USA541112996911251585|662.72|321748|731513|63162|468.00|921486404|745.50|951585/1057/24Average39492.8027953216934700033273True
PublicMiddle Tennessee State UniversityTennesseeConference USA81098121212121212121535|642.84|291833|761735|72189|3712.00|881171216|5911.00|891535/1023/23Average20502.8062026224674160037704True
-Conf-Conference USA (Low)-Conference USA8128712111211106101540|642.91|271838|771742|73181|4011.00|891344856|678.50|921540/1027/23Average31432.90272046351754667536885True
PublicThe University of Texas at El PasoTexasConference USA1414131165445491365|573.06|231717|721599|67157|484.00|961469319|737.50|931365/910/20BelowAverage37552.80741981732625590032029True
PublicUniversity of Southern MississippiMississippiConference USA111112131085889101505|632.85|291727|721474|61176|416.67|931205540|6010.50|901505/1003/23Average34492.80501200527873810029170True
PublicWestern Kentucky UniversityKentuckyConference USA12121010131313131311131480|622.94|261773|741655|69300|013.00|871175389|5912.00|881480/987/22BelowAverage18462.8001745227194270033356True
PublicMarshall UniversityWest VirginiaConference USA13131414131313131314141470|612.97|261656|691388|58300|013.00|871025794|5114.00|861470/980/22BelowAverage17522.800953638453830028020True

Common Questions...

What are the best colleges in the Conference USA?

1. Rice University

2. Florida International University

3. University of Alabama at Birmingham

4. Florida Atlantic University

5. University of North Texas

6. The University of Texas at San Antonio

7. University of North Carolina at Charlotte

2016 Top 10 Conference Usa Academic Rankings

2016 Top 10 Conference Usa 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
11.17PrivateRice UniversityTexasConference USA111112112189/1459/33Elite3873.30108392626956390056316
-1.33-Conf-Ivy League (Average)-Ivy League121121222209/1473/33Elite2843.43580824691005957563427
-2.00-Conf-Ivy League (Low)-Ivy League222222222127/1418/32Elite2843.43217824691005957563427
22.90PublicFlorida International UniversityFloridaConference USA432223721625/1083/24Average32492.801134100986014380035509
-3.33-Conf-Conference USA (Average)-Conference USA334433521683/1122/25AboveAverage31432.901202046351754667536885
33.67PublicUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamAlabamaConference USA224941621745/1163/26AboveAverage34512.954821167970194220033957
45.00PublicFlorida Atlantic UniversityFloridaConference USA765435881560/1040/23Average33522.80612547648214460034316
55.17PublicUniversity of North TexasTexasConference USA373378541650/1100/25AboveAverage16472.95402975867284360029926
66.65PublicUniversity of North Carolina at CharlotteNorth CarolinaDivision I-AA Independents / C...656569441580/1053/24Average33442.80282221650224520032542
77.00PublicThe University of Texas at San AntonioTexasConference USA897656341540/1027/23Average47682.80572428543435590029854
87.94PublicOld Dominion UniversityVirginiaConference USA8887941091540/1027/23Average19462.801012011548174310039248
97.99PublicLouisiana Tech UniversityLouisianaConference USA54101087271585/1057/24Average39492.8027953216934700033273
109.40PublicMiddle Tennessee State UniversityTennesseeConference USA10109810109101535/1023/23Average20502.8062026224674160037704