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

Mountain West Conference Academic Rankings

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

2016 Mountain West Conference Academic Rankings

2016 Mountain West 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 League111111111212209|921.20|702241|932183|9118|941.00|991491251|751.50|992209/1473/33Elite2843.43580824691005957563427True
-Conf-Ivy League (Low)-Ivy League121113433212127|891.96|512172|912090|8735|883.33|971491251|751.50|992127/1418/32Elite2843.43217824691005957563427True
PublicColorado State University-Fort CollinsColoradoMountain West Conference221161211531700|712.68|331959|821888|79143|521.00|991298951|653.00|971700/1133/26AboveAverage33342.953372359877564580039911True
PublicUnited States Air Force AcademyColoradoMountain West Conference112487488111982|831.90|521956|811808|75200|336.00|941804258|901.50|991982/1321/30Excellent53173.257039520719000True
PublicUtah State UniversityUtahMountain West Conference484313233311650|692.82|291931|801856|7787|712.33|981411769|712.50|981650/1100/25AboveAverage17402.951602427133914770030100True
PublicSan Diego State UniversityCaliforniaMountain West Conference5432467641061625|682.70|321933|811864|78128|575.33|95985565|497.00|931625/1083/24Average22312.801002839450894610037318True
-Conf-Mountain West Conference (Average)-Mountain West Conference335473434761672|702.69|331906|791815|76152|493.67|961237523|626.00|941672/1115/25AboveAverage32372.911411788741824980031561True
PublicUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHawaiiMountain West Conference / Big...73910221221281605|672.70|321828|761682|70104|661.67|98378593|198.50|921605/1070/24Average35392.803111412653814400045624True
PublicUniversity of New MexicoNew MexicoMountain West Conference655599888241610|672.71|321891|791807|75300|08.00|921421959|714.00|961610/1073/24Average29502.8002179260524680034110True
PublicUniversity of WyomingWyomingMountain West Conference36111235556451655|692.74|311813|761600|67125|594.67|951402018|705.50|951655/1103/25AboveAverage38422.95591012426964830028921True
PublicUniversity of Nevada-RenoNevadaMountain West Conference877854545881585|662.76|311839|771730|72132|564.00|961081371|548.00|921585/1057/24Average26422.80901683930954780036510True
-Conf-Mountain West Conference (Low)-Mountain West Conference8107797876781585|662.86|291847|771746|73300|07.00|931237523|628.00|921585/1057/24Average32372.91591788741824980031561True
PublicBoise State UniversityIdahoMountain West Conference898799888671550|652.85|291836|761737|72300|08.00|921259453|637.50|931550/1033/23Average26642.8001933328944470032612True
PublicSan Jose State UniversityCaliforniaMountain West Conference10106699888781525|642.87|281865|781783|74300|08.00|921120900|568.50|921525/1017/23Average35432.8502666460495270036413True
PublicUniversity of Nevada-Las VegasNevadaMountain West Conference1111109788779111475|612.96|261817|761725|72183|397.33|931024635|5110.00|901475/983/22BelowAverage18552.80402380347124380036082True
PublicCalifornia State University-FresnoCaliforniaMountain West Conference121212119988811121380|583.05|241733|721619|67300|08.00|92911399|4611.50|891380/920/21BelowAverage19432.8002051126684300032090True

Common Questions...

What are the best colleges in the Mountain West Conference?

1. Colorado State University-Fort Collins

2. United States Air Force Academy

3. Utah State University

4. San Diego State University

5. University of Hawaii at Manoa

6. University of New Mexico

7. University of Wyoming

2016 Top 10 Mountain West Conference Academic Rankings

2016 Top 10 Mountain West 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 League111111212209/1473/33Elite2843.43580824691005957563427
-1.50-Conf-Ivy League (Low)-Ivy League121113212127/1418/32Elite2843.43217824691005957563427
12.17PublicColorado State University-Fort CollinsColoradoMountain West Conference221161511700/1133/26AboveAverage33342.953372359877564580039911
23.67PublicUnited States Air Force AcademyColoradoMountain West Conference112477111982/1321/30Excellent53173.257039520719000
33.83PublicUtah State UniversityUtahMountain West Conference484313311650/1100/25AboveAverage17402.951602427133914770030100
44.00PublicSan Diego State UniversityCaliforniaMountain West Conference543246961625/1083/24Average22312.801002839450894610037318
-4.17-Conf-Mountain West Conference (Average)-Mountain West Conference335473761672/1115/25AboveAverage32372.911411788741824980031561
55.33PublicUniversity of Hawaii at ManoaHawaiiMountain West Conference / Big...7399221071605/1070/24Average35392.803111412653814400045624
65.80PublicUniversity of New MexicoNew MexicoMountain West Conference655588241610/1073/24Average29502.8002179260524680034110
76.17PublicUniversity of WyomingWyomingMountain West Conference36101035451655/1103/25AboveAverage38422.95591012426964830028921
86.99PublicUniversity of Nevada-RenoNevadaMountain West Conference877854891585/1057/24Average26422.80901683930954780036510
-7.83-Conf-Mountain West Conference (Low)-Mountain West Conference8107787791585/1057/24Average32372.91591788741824980031561
98.00PublicBoise State UniversityIdahoMountain West Conference898788671550/1033/23Average26642.8001933328944470032612
108.62PublicSan Jose State UniversityCaliforniaMountain West Conference10106688791525/1017/23Average35432.8502666460495270036413