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

Southeastern Conference Academic Rankings

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

2016 Southeastern Conference : SEC Academic Rankings

2016 Southeastern Conference : SEC 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
PrivateVanderbilt UniversityTennesseeSoutheastern Conference111123133212223|930.50|882244|942171|9068|772.33|981671994|841.50|992223/1482/33Elite2683.32544685158355730062320True
-Conf-Ivy League (Average)-Ivy League222113233432209|921.20|702241|932183|9118|942.67|971491251|753.00|972209/1473/33Elite2843.43580824691005957563427True
PublicUniversity of FloridaFloridaSoutheastern Conference222231412831908|802.33|422115|882074|8683|721.00|991418885|715.00|951908/1272/29Good33153.1070632829166304950042831True
-Conf-Ivy League (Low)-Ivy League2222189811432127|891.96|512172|912090|8735|888.00|921491251|753.50|972127/1418/32Elite2843.43217824691005957563427True
PublicTexas A & M University-College StationTexasSoutheastern Conference764412521121730|722.64|342046|851998|8337|881.33|991682779|842.00|981730/1153/26AboveAverage29182.9569647093145495520039873True
-Conf-Southeastern Conference (Average)-Southeastern Conference4344567441061865|782.43|392072|862021|84101|665.00|951393015|707.00|931865/1244/28Good24233.053912605794024793845325True
PublicUniversity of GeorgiaGeorgiaSoutheastern Conference383368786951877|782.68|332081|872032|85112|637.00|931400478|706.50|941877/1251/28Good17173.202762688283154660040890True
PublicUniversity of South Carolina-ColumbiaSouth CarolinaSoutheastern Conference4355410111191381785|742.57|362017|841957|8295|689.67|901223771|618.50|921785/1190/27AboveAverage17282.952152486681054390043847True
PublicThe University of Tennessee-KnoxvilleTennesseeSoutheastern Conference55779776514101745|732.64|341978|821907|79136|556.00|94942217|4710.00|901745/1163/26AboveAverage22352.953102166487223860047870True
PublicUniversity of Missouri-ColumbiaMissouriSoutheastern Conference576611991081081745|732.65|342003|831943|81145|528.67|911389124|698.50|921745/1163/26AboveAverage18302.952362764277834410038624True
PublicAuburn UniversityAlabamaSoutheastern Conference74101081110912341730|722.63|341963|821888|79133|5610.00|901515212|765.50|951730/1153/26AboveAverage31312.951472062952834830046348True
PublicLouisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical CollegeLouisianaSoutheastern Conference7999126557561695|712.72|321964|821896|79167|455.00|951467834|737.00|931695/1130/25AboveAverage26382.952882557254724890041867True
-Conf-Southeastern Conference (Low)-Southeastern Conference7137712121412118101730|722.78|311989|831925|80166|4512.00|881420854|719.00|911730/1153/26AboveAverage24233.051472605794024793845325True
PublicUniversity of KentuckyKentuckySoutheastern Conference111412127434411131665|692.79|301930|801852|77119|603.33|971383934|6910.50|901665/1110/25AboveAverage20392.953652222369804580037602True
PublicUniversity of ArkansasArkansasSoutheastern Conference101311115131312137101675|702.78|301933|811857|77102|6612.67|871426896|719.00|911675/1117/25AboveAverage18372.951192183644014720035156True
PublicThe University of AlabamaAlabamaSoutheastern Conference1111881414141414461665|692.77|311966|821903|79170|4414.00|861469716|738.00|921665/1110/25AboveAverage10322.90503075252955590042329True
PublicMississippi State UniversityMississippiSoutheastern Conference1312131310527106101660|692.77|311888|791787|74144|524.00|961451843|739.00|911660/1107/25AboveAverage29372.952301653636024640033958True
PublicUniversity of MississippiMississippiSoutheastern Conference14101414131211131112141625|682.73|321876|781781|74168|4411.67|881289394|6413.00|871625/1083/24Average10382.801211810144024160034752True

Common Questions...

What are the best colleges in the SEC?

1. Vanderbilt University

2. University of Florida

3. Texas A & M University-College Station

4. University of Georgia

5. University of South Carolina-Columbia

6. The University of Tennessee-Knoxville

7. University of Missouri-Columbia

2016 Top 10 Southeastern Conference : SEC Academic Rankings

2016 Top 10 Southeastern Conference : SEC 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
11.50PrivateVanderbilt UniversityTennesseeSoutheastern Conference111123212223/1482/33Elite2683.32544685158355730062320
-1.83-Conf-Ivy League (Average)-Ivy League222113432209/1473/33Elite2843.43580824691005957563427
22.00PublicUniversity of FloridaFloridaSoutheastern Conference222231531908/1272/29Good33153.1070632829166304950042831
-2.67-Conf-Ivy League (Low)-Ivy League222217432127/1418/32Elite2843.43217824691005957563427
34.00PublicTexas A & M University-College StationTexasSoutheastern Conference764412121730/1153/26AboveAverage29182.9569647093145495520039873
-4.17-Conf-Southeastern Conference (Average)-Southeastern Conference434455751865/1244/28Good24233.053912605794024793845325
44.83PublicUniversity of GeorgiaGeorgiaSoutheastern Conference383357631877/1251/28Good17173.202762688283154660040890
55.17PublicUniversity of South Carolina-ColumbiaSouth CarolinaSoutheastern Conference4355410971785/1190/27AboveAverage17282.952152486681054390043847
66.33PublicThe University of Tennessee-KnoxvilleTennesseeSoutheastern Conference5577861091745/1163/26AboveAverage22352.953102166487223860047870
76.83PublicUniversity of Missouri-ColumbiaMissouriSoutheastern Conference576698771745/1163/26AboveAverage18302.952362764277834410038624
87.50PublicAuburn UniversityAlabamaSoutheastern Conference749979351730/1153/26AboveAverage31312.951472062952834830046348
97.83PublicLouisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical CollegeLouisianaSoutheastern Conference7988105451695/1130/25AboveAverage26382.952882557254724890041867
108.33PublicUniversity of KentuckyKentuckySoutheastern Conference1010101064891665/1110/25AboveAverage20392.953652222369804580037602
-8.50-Conf-Southeastern Conference (Low)-Southeastern Conference710771010591730/1153/26AboveAverage24233.051472605794024793845325