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

Western Athletic Conference Academic Rankings

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

2016 Western Athletic Conference : No Conference Affiliation Academic Rankings

2016 Western Athletic Conference : No Conference Affiliation 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 League111111111212127|891.96|512172|912090|8735|881.00|991491251|751.50|992127/1418/32Elite2843.43217824691005957563427True
PublicUniversity of Missouri-Kansas CityMissouriWestern Athletic Conference111122122211740|732.57|361885|791697|71183|391.67|981385349|691.50|991740/1160/26AboveAverage44542.95311045356934380033136True
PrivateSeattle UniversityWashingtonWestern Athletic Conference222333133431735|722.67|331724|721484|62300|02.33|981116615|563.00|971735/1157/26AboveAverage19292.950443728364930054705True
-Conf-Western Athletic Conference (Average)-Western Athletic Conference332332132451512|632.93|271741|731489|62251|162.00|981216189|613.50|971512/1008/23Average36522.85301260624694615035034True
PublicNew Mexico State UniversityNew MexicoSun Belt Conference / Western ...444411111331415|592.99|251671|701393|58125|591.00|991319702|663.00|971415/943/21BelowAverage39492.801461278430454510032180True
PublicThe University of Texas-Pan AmericanTexasWestern Athletic Conference553233133111400|583.04|241722|721597|67300|02.33|981494423|752.50|981400/933/21BelowAverage25532.8001785831575590025753True
PublicChicago State UniversityIllinoisWestern Athletic Conference336633133551430|602.97|261366|571025|43300|02.33|981056062|535.00|951430/953/21BelowAverage77752.800391212994090030976True
PublicCalifornia State University-BakersfieldCaliforniaWestern Athletic Conference665533133661350|563.09|231505|631164|48300|02.33|98870159|446.00|941350/900/20BelowAverage15532.800763510854190033459True
-Conf-Western Athletic Conference (Low)-Western Athletic Conference675532132461350|563.12|221621|681324|55300|02.00|981216189|615.50|951350/900/20BelowAverage36522.85311260624694615035034True

Common Questions...

What are the best colleges in the Western Athletic Conference?

1. University of Missouri-Kansas City

2. Seattle University

3. New Mexico State University

4. The University of Texas-Pan American

5. Chicago State University

6. California State University-Bakersfield

2016 Top 10 Western Athletic Conference : No Conference Affiliation Academic Rankings

2016 Top 10 Western Athletic Conference : No Conference Affiliation 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
-1.00-Conf-Ivy League (Low)-Ivy League111111212127/1418/32Elite2843.43217824691005957563427
11.33PublicUniversity of Missouri-Kansas CityMissouriWestern Athletic Conference111122211740/1160/26AboveAverage44542.95311045356934380033136
22.50PrivateSeattle UniversityWashingtonWestern Athletic Conference222333431735/1157/26AboveAverage19292.950443728364930054705
-2.80-Conf-Western Athletic Conference (Average)-Western Athletic Conference332332451512/1008/23Average36522.85301260624694615035034
33.27PublicNew Mexico State UniversityNew MexicoSun Belt Conference / Western ...444411331415/943/21BelowAverage39492.801461278430454510032180
43.60PublicThe University of Texas-Pan AmericanTexasWestern Athletic Conference553233111400/933/21BelowAverage25532.8001785831575590025753
54.20PublicChicago State UniversityIllinoisWestern Athletic Conference336633551430/953/21BelowAverage77752.800391212994090030976
65.00PublicCalifornia State University-BakersfieldCaliforniaWestern Athletic Conference665533661350/900/20BelowAverage15532.800763510854190033459
-5.20-Conf-Western Athletic Conference (Low)-Western Athletic Conference675532461350/900/20BelowAverage36522.85311260624694615035034