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

Big South Conference (Average)

2016 University Academic Rankings

The Big South Conference is a collegiate athletic conference affiliated with the NCAA's Division I. Originally a non-football conference, the Big South began sponsoring football in 2002. Its football teams are part of the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The Big South, founded in 1983, is firmly rooted in the South Atlantic region of the United States, with full member institutions located in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia with affiliates in Georgia and New Jersey.


Charter members included Armstrong State (now Armstrong Atlantic State University) (1983-1987), Augusta (later Augusta State University and now merged into Augusta University) (1983-1990), Campbell University (1983-1994; 2011-present), Baptist College (now Charleston Southern University) (1983-present), Coastal Carolina University (1983-present), Radford University (1983-present) and Winthrop University (1983-present).

The expansion of membership occurred during the 80's and 90's. Some of those members are the University of North Carolina at Asheville (1984-present), Davidson College (1990-1992), Liberty University (1991-present), the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (1992-1998), the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (1992-1997), Towson University (1992-1995), Elon University (1999-2003), High Point University (1999-present) and Birmingham-Southern College (2000-2007).

The Big South Conference began sponsoring football in 2002, with Charleston Southern, Elon (at the time) and Liberty (Gardner-Webb University also joined as a football-only member) fielding teams; Coastal Carolina and Virginia Military Institute (VMI) joined the conference as football-only members in 2003. In that same athletic year, VMI also joined the conference for all sports, but left to re-join the Southern Conference in 2014. Presbyterian College joined the conference in 2007, moving up from Division II, and became eligible for regular-season championships and conference honors during the 2008-09 athletic year. Gardner-Webb, which had been a football-only member since 2002, joined the conference for all sports on July 1, 2008. Campbell rejoined the Big South for all sports except football in the 2011-12 athletic year. Longwood University accepted an invitation to join the Big South on January 23, 2012, and membership formally began July 1 of that year; Longwood had been independent since 2004, during their transition to Division I. In 2014, following the departure of VMI, the conference returned to a single-division structure. On September 1, 2015, Coastal Carolina announced they would leave the conference following the 2015-16 school year to transition to FBS-level football and the Sun Belt Conference.

Member schools | Current full members

^ Campbell was a founding member of the Big South Conference in 1983. The Fighting Camels left in 1994 and rejoined in 2011 for all sports, except for their football program, which remains in the Pioneer Football League.

Current associate members | Divisional realignment, 2012-2014

With the additions of Campbell and Longwood to the Big South in 2011 and 2012, Big South commissioner Kyle Kallander stated the conference will break up into two divisions of six teams each beginning in 2012-2013. He also said the Big South Basketball Tournaments will be held at a single, neutral location. The divisional setup was as follows:

In men's and women's basketball, teams played the five other divisional opponents twice, one home and one away (ten games). They will play teams outside of the division once each (six games). This cuts the number of conference games to sixteen, as opposed to eighteen in previous years.

Following the departure of VMI for the Southern Conference in 2014, the conference returned to a single-division structure, and the basketb ... [more on wikipedia]

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Big South Conference (Average)", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0

Big South Conference Details

Big South Conference Details
detail value
conferenceBig South Conference
overall ROI rank[392
scores validTrue
Common Questions...

What are the academic rankings for Big South Conference (Average)?

1. number - for Academics.

2. number 392 for ROI (Return on Investment).

What universities are similar to Big South Conference (Average)?

1. Pace University-New York

2. University of North Dakota

3. Howard University

4. SUNY at Albany

5. University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

6. University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

7. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

National Academic Rankings

(summary of all ranking placements)

Big South Conference National Academic Rankings

Big South Conference National Academic Rankings
category rank scores difficulty smartest brainpower faculty research salary ROI overall ROI

Peer Universities / Similar Universities

(mathematically similar student body, size, academics, stem, salary... etc)

Big South Conference Peer Universities, Similar Universities to Big South Conference

Big South Conference Peer Universities, Similar Universities to Big South Conference
match image university state conference public level rank overall ROI
Pace University-New YorkNew YorkNortheast 10 ConferencePrivateAverage476465
University of North DakotaNorth DakotaBig Sky ConferencePublicAverage363266
Howard UniversityWashington DCMid Eastern Athletic ConferencePrivateAverage343429
SUNY at AlbanyNew YorkColonial Athletic Association ...PublicAverage188218
University of Wisconsin-Stevens PointWisconsinWisconsin Intercollegiate Ath ConfPublicAverage466414
University of Wisconsin-La CrosseWisconsinWisconsin Intercollegiate Ath ConfPublicAverage302258
University of Wisconsin-Eau ClaireWisconsinWisconsin Intercollegiate Ath ConfPublicAverage350253
The University of Tennessee-ChattanoogaTennesseeSouthern ConferencePublicAverage434464
Loyola University ChicagoIllinoisMissouri Valley ConferencePrivateAboveAverage228206
South Dakota State UniversitySouth DakotaMissouri Valley Conference / T...PublicAverage354263
University of Wisconsin-WhitewaterWisconsinWisconsin Intercollegiate Ath ConfPublicAverage479363
The University of MontanaMontanaBig Sky ConferencePublicAverage372232
University of Louisiana at MonroeLouisianaSun Belt ConferencePublicAverage485352
University of Nebraska at OmahaNebraskaThe Summit LeaguePublicAverage491364
SUNY College at BrockportNew YorkEmpire Eight / State Universit...PublicAverage473487
University of Puerto Rico-Rio PiedrasPuerto RicoIndependent Southeast RegionPublicAboveAverage176232
Saint Louis UniversityMissouriAtlantic 10 ConferencePrivateAboveAverage169165
Hofstra UniversityNew YorkColonial Athletic AssociationPrivateAboveAverage231298
University of San FranciscoCaliforniaWest Coast ConferencePrivateAboveAverage226241
University of New HampshireNew HampshireColonial Athletic Association ...PublicAverage221225
University of Rhode IslandRhode IslandColonial Athletic Association ...PublicAverage270328
University of North Carolina at GreensboroNorth CarolinaSouthern ConferencePublicAverage449439
St John's University-New YorkNew YorkBig East ConferencePrivateAverage309444
CUNY Queens CollegeNew YorkEast Coast ConferencePublicAverage307400
University of LouisvilleKentuckyAtlantic Coast ConferencePublicAverage258224
Oakland UniversityMichiganHorizon LeaguePublicAverage417270
University of MemphisTennesseeAmerican Athletic ConferencePublicAverage359314
Eastern Michigan UniversityMichiganMid American ConferencePublicAverage445385
Missouri State University-SpringfieldMissouriMissouri Valley ConferencePublicAverage301266
Towson UniversityMarylandColonial Athletic AssociationPublicAverage264365
Old Dominion UniversityVirginiaConference USAPublicAverage356368
Grand Valley State UniversityMichiganGreat Lakes Intercollegiate At...PublicAverage247239
East Carolina UniversityNorth CarolinaAmerican Athletic ConferencePublicAverage312325
West Virginia UniversityWest VirginiaBig Twelve ConferencePublicAverage320192
Northern Arizona UniversityArizonaBig Sky ConferencePublicAverage336333
Kent State University at KentOhioMid American ConferencePublicAverage347358
Ohio UniversityOhioMid American ConferencePublicAverage215174
Washington State UniversityWashingtonPacific 12 ConferencePublicAverage189193
San Diego State UniversityCaliforniaMountain West ConferencePublicAverage183218
Maryville University of Saint LouisMissouriGreat Lakes Valley ConferencePrivateAverage424426
Texas State UniversityTexasSun Belt ConferencePublicAverage364290
California State University-FullertonCaliforniaBig West ConferencePublicAverage362435
University of Northern IowaIowaMissouri Valley ConferencePublicAboveAverage252248
College of CharlestonSouth CarolinaColonial Athletic AssociationPublicAboveAverage219233
Salisbury UniversityMarylandEmpire Eight / Capital Athleti...PublicAboveAverage243358
University of VermontVermontAmerica EastPublicAboveAverage136191
SUNY College at OswegoNew YorkState University of New York A...PublicAboveAverage361450
University of North Carolina WilmingtonNorth CarolinaColonial Athletic AssociationPublicAboveAverage221228
State University of New York at New PaltzNew YorkState University of New York A...PublicAboveAverage341457
Loyola Marymount UniversityCaliforniaWest Coast ConferencePrivateAboveAverage218233

Academic Peer Universities / Similar Academics

(mathematically similar academics)

Big South Conference Academic Peer Universities, Similar Academic Universities to Big South Conference

Big South Conference Academic Peer Universities, Similar Academic Universities to Big South Conference
match image university state conference public level rank overall ROI
New Jersey Athletic Conference (Average)-New Jersey Athletic Conference-Conf-Average-436
SUNY OneontaNew YorkState University of New York A...PublicAverage365466
Gulf South Conference (Average)-Gulf South Conference-Conf-Average-340
Seton Hall UniversityNew JerseyBig East ConferencePrivateAboveAverage365390
Adelphi UniversityNew YorkNortheast 10 ConferencePrivateAboveAverage365444
University of North DakotaNorth DakotaBig Sky ConferencePublicAverage363266
Missouri Valley Conference (Low)-Missouri Valley Conference-Conf-Average-270
City University of New York Ath Conf (Average)-City University of New York At...-Conf-Average-463
Southern Illinois University-CarbondaleIllinoisMissouri Valley ConferencePublicAverage368278
Ramapo College of New JerseyNew JerseyNew Jersey Athletic ConferencePublicAverage369437
Atlantic Sun Conference (Average)-Atlantic Sun Conference-Conf-Average-440
Southern Conference (Average)-Southern Conference-Conf-AboveAverage-361
SUNY College at OswegoNew YorkState University of New York A...PublicAboveAverage361450
Texas State UniversityTexasSun Belt ConferencePublicAverage364290
Northwest Conference (Average)-Northwest Conference-Conf-AboveAverage-440
Northeast 10 Conference (Average)-Northeast 10 Conference-Conf-AboveAverage-427
California State University-FullertonCaliforniaBig West ConferencePublicAverage362435
Southern Athletic Association (Average)-Southern Athletic Association-Conf-AboveAverage-408