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 West Conference (Low)

2016 University Academic Rankings

The Big West Conference (BWC) is a mid-major collegiate athletic conference that is classified with NCAA Division I. When the conference began in 1969, its name was the Pacific Coast Athletic Association (PCAA). After nineteen years, in 1988, its name was changed to the Big West Conference. The conference stopped sponsoring college football after the 2000 season.

History | Creation of the Pacific Coast Athletic Association

The Big West Conference was formed on July 1, 1969, as the Pacific Coast Athletic Association. The charter all-sports members of the PCAA were Cal State Los Angeles, Fresno State, Long Beach State, San Diego State, San Jose State, and UC Santa Barbara. The University of the Pacific joined only for football, becoming an all-sports member two years later.

Four of these charter members (Cal State Los Angeles, Fresno State, Long Beach State, and San Diego State) had previously been members of the nation's premier Division II conference, the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). After capturing multiple national championships, the members sought a higher level of play, which could be found within the university ranks. Charter football member Pacific and charter all-sports members San Jose State and UC Santa Barbara had also been CCAA members in the past, but had moved to the West Coast Athletic Conference (now West Coast Conference) before joining the PCAA.


Since its inception as the Pacific Coast Athletic Association, the conference has seen many changes throughout the years. Utah State was the first institution outside of California to join the conference in 1978. This opened the floodgates for many other schools to affiliate with the PCAA; notable schools include UNLV, Nevada, Louisiana Tech, and Boise State, among others.

In 1983, the PCAA became the first western conference to introduce women's athletic programs, giving the opportunity for all its members to have their women student-athletes compete at the same level as their male counterparts. This proved vital for Hawaiʻi as their only participation in the conference was for their women's sports.

However, turnover of universities started to take its toll. Many left to join conferences that were perceived as more well-known, such as the Western Athletic Conference or the Mountain West Conference, while others did not see the benefit of travel since historically many of the teams have been California-based. From the departures of Idaho and Utah State in 2005 until the arrival of Hawaiʻi in 2012, all members were based in California, reducing both the cost and travel time between the universities. When Hawaiʻi joined, it agreed to help defray a portion of travel costs to that state for the league's California members. Between full and associate members, there have been no fewer than 25 members in the conference's history, while only two of the original seven charter members remain (Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara).

The change to the Big West

To mark its 20th year as an athletic conference, in 1988 the Pacific Coast Athletic Association decided to change its name to the Big West Conference. The move signaled the changing landscape within the conference. With such schools as Utah State, UNLV, Nevada, New Mexico State, and Hawaii now in the fold, the name change was more representative of the population. In addition, the conference had signed a contract with ESPN to have its men's basketball games telecast as the third game of a triple header known as "Big Monday" - the other conferences being featured were the Big East and the Big 12 so the name Big West fit the "big" theme.

Member schools | Current members | Full members | Affiliate members | Former members

Many of the former members of the Big West are now members of either the Western Athletic Conference or th ... [more on wikipedia]

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

Big West Conference Details

Big West Conference Details
detail value
conferenceBig West Conference
overall ROI rank[385
scores validTrue
Common Questions...

What are the academic rankings for Big West Conference (Low)?

1. number - for Academics.

2. number 385 for ROI (Return on Investment).

What universities are similar to Big West Conference (Low)?

1. Oklahoma State University

2. Kansas State University

3. Texas Tech University

4. University of Nevada-Reno

5. University of Louisville

6. Washington State University

7. Oregon State University

National Academic Rankings

(summary of all ranking placements)

Big West Conference National Academic Rankings

Big West Conference National Academic Rankings
category rank scores difficulty smartest brainpower faculty research salary ROI overall ROI
Big West Conference-89886557
Top Ten Big West Conference-89886557

Peer Universities / Similar Universities

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

Big West Conference Peer Universities, Similar Universities to Big West Conference

Big West Conference Peer Universities, Similar Universities to Big West Conference
match image university state conference public level rank overall ROI
Oklahoma State UniversityOklahomaBig Twelve ConferencePublicAverage182124
Kansas State UniversityKansasBig Twelve ConferencePublicAverage249168
Texas Tech UniversityTexasBig Twelve ConferencePublicAverage176104
University of Nevada-RenoNevadaMountain West ConferencePublicAverage289340
University of LouisvilleKentuckyAtlantic Coast ConferencePublicAverage258224
Washington State UniversityWashingtonPacific 12 ConferencePublicAverage189193
Oregon State UniversityOregonPacific 12 ConferencePublicAverage152202
The University of Texas at San AntonioTexasConference USAPublicAverage330180
West Virginia UniversityWest VirginiaBig Twelve ConferencePublicAverage320192
University of Massachusetts-AmherstMassachusettsMid - American Conference / At...PublicAboveAverage88144
University of North Carolina at CharlotteNorth CarolinaDivision I-AA Independents / C...PublicAverage292207
Florida Atlantic UniversityFloridaConference USAPublicAverage305303
University of New MexicoNew MexicoMountain West ConferencePublicAverage265153
University of Oklahoma-Norman CampusOklahomaBig Twelve ConferencePublicAboveAverage13754
San Jose State UniversityCaliforniaMountain West ConferencePublicAverage386389
Auburn UniversityAlabamaSoutheastern ConferencePublicAboveAverage13979
University of Nebraska-LincolnNebraskaBig Ten ConferencePublicAboveAverage11998
The University of Texas at El PasoTexasConference USAPublicBelowAverage499294
University of Akron Main CampusOhioMid American ConferencePublicAverage331251
San Diego State UniversityCaliforniaMountain West ConferencePublicAverage183218
California State University-Long BeachCaliforniaBig West ConferencePublicAverage318387
Clemson UniversitySouth CarolinaAtlantic Coast ConferencePublicAboveAverage9851
University of MemphisTennesseeAmerican Athletic ConferencePublicAverage359314
Oakland UniversityMichiganHorizon LeaguePublicAverage417270
University of ToledoOhioMid American ConferencePublicAverage405285
University of North DakotaNorth DakotaBig Sky ConferencePublicAverage363266
Colorado State University-Fort CollinsColoradoMountain West ConferencePublicAboveAverage143139
Kennesaw State UniversityGeorgiaAtlantic Sun ConferencePublicAverage290291
Virginia Commonwealth UniversityVirginiaAtlantic 10 ConferencePublicAboveAverage178207
University of California-IrvineCaliforniaBig West ConferencePublicAboveAverage108162
University of Wisconsin-MilwaukeeWisconsinHorizon LeaguePublicBelowAverage420367
Indiana University-Purdue University-IndianapolisIndianaThe Summit LeaguePublicAverage427342
Georgia State UniversityGeorgiaSun Belt ConferencePublicAverage253230
Louisiana State University and Agricultural & Mechanical CollegeLouisianaSoutheastern ConferencePublicAboveAverage14888
The University of Tennessee-KnoxvilleTennesseeSoutheastern ConferencePublicAboveAverage116188
San Francisco State UniversityCaliforniaCalifornia Collegiate Athletic...PublicBelowAverage428458
University of Colorado BoulderColoradoPacific 12 ConferencePublicAboveAverage7959
University at BuffaloNew YorkMid American ConferencePublicAboveAverage124190
University of KansasKansasBig Twelve ConferencePublicAboveAverage172130
Boise State UniversityIdahoMountain West ConferencePublicAverage389329
Iowa State UniversityIowaBig Twelve ConferencePublicAboveAverage12971
Western Michigan UniversityMichiganMid American ConferencePublicBelowAverage446320
University of California-RiversideCaliforniaBig West ConferencePublicAverage167212
Illinois State UniversityIllinoisMissouri Valley ConferencePublicAverage279222
University of ArizonaArizonaPacific 12 ConferencePublicAverage12486
University of Illinois at ChicagoIllinoisHorizon LeaguePublicAboveAverage159111
Mississippi State UniversityMississippiSoutheastern ConferencePublicAboveAverage197130
University of California-Santa CruzCaliforniaDivision III IndependentsPublicAverage157208
Rutgers University-New BrunswickNew JerseyBig Ten ConferencePublicAboveAverage56115
California State University-ChicoCaliforniaCalifornia Collegiate Athletic...PublicAverage392409

Academic Peer Universities / Similar Academics

(mathematically similar academics)

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

Big West Conference Academic Peer Universities, Similar Academic Universities to Big West Conference
match image university state conference public level rank overall ROI
West Virginia UniversityWest VirginiaBig Twelve ConferencePublicAverage320192
California State University-Long BeachCaliforniaBig West ConferencePublicAverage318387
Big Sky Conference (Low)-Big Sky Conference-Conf-Average-245
Conference USA (Low)-Conference USA-Conf-Average-272
America East (Low)-America East-Conf-Average-364
Mountain West Conference (Low)-Mountain West Conference-Conf-Average-285
Lawrence Technological UniversityMichiganWolverine - Hoosier Athletic ConfPrivateAboveAverage319146
Atlantic 10 Conference (Low)-Atlantic 10 Conference-Conf-AboveAverage-336
University of Minnesota-MorrisMinnesotaUpper Midwest Athletic ConferencePublicAboveAverage321161
The New SchoolNew YorkNo Conference AffiliationPrivateAboveAverage325420
Allegheny CollegePennsylvaniaNorth Coast Athletic ConferencePrivateAboveAverage322411
Covenant CollegeGeorgiaUSA South Athletic ConferencePrivateAboveAverage322432
Centennial Conference (Low)-Centennial Conference-Conf-AboveAverage-415
Minnesota Intercollegiate Ath Conf (Average)-Minnesota Intercollegiate Ath Conf-Conf-AboveAverage-242
University of Minnesota-RochesterMinnesotaNo Conference AffiliationPublicAboveAverage324144
Soka University of AmericaCaliforniaNo Conference AffiliationPrivateAboveAverage317447
No Conference Affiliation (Low)-No Conference Affiliation-Conf-Good-338