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

Cornell University

2016 University Academic Rankings

Cornell University (/kɔːrˈnɛl/ kor-NEL) is an American private Ivy League and federal land-grant doctoral university located in Ithaca, New York. Founded in 1865 by Ezra Cornell and Andrew Dickson White, the university was intended to teach and make contributions in all fields of knowledge - from the classics to the sciences, and from the theoretical to the applied. These ideals, unconventional for the time, are captured in Cornell's motto, a popular 1865 Ezra Cornell quotation: "I would found an institution where any person can find instruction in any study."

The university is broadly organized into seven undergraduate colleges and seven graduate divisions at its main Ithaca campus, with each college and division defining its own admission standards and academic programs in near autonomy. The university also administers two satellite medical campuses, one in New York City and one in Education City, Qatar.

Cornell is one of three private land grant universities in the nation and the only one in New York. Of its seven undergraduate colleges, three are state-supported statutory or contract colleges through the State University of New York (SUNY) system, including its agricultural and veterinary colleges. As a land grant college, it operates a cooperative extension outreach program in every county of New York and receives annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions. The Cornell University Ithaca Campus comprises 745 acres, but is much larger when the Cornell Plantations (more than 4,300 acres) are considered, as well as the numerous university-owned lands in New York City.

Since its founding, Cornell has been a co-educational, non-sectarian institution where admission has not been restricted by religion or race. Cornell counts more than 245,000 living alumni, and its former and present faculty and alumni include 34 Marshall Scholars, 29 Rhodes Scholars, 7 Gates Scholars, 50 Nobel laureates, and 14 living billionaires. The student body consists of nearly 14,000 undergraduate and 7,000 graduate students from all 50 American states and 122 countries. In 2016, Cornell University ranked 17th in the world for reputation according to the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.


Cornell University was founded on April 27, 1865; the New York State (NYS) Senate authorized the university as the state's land grant institution. Senator Ezra Cornell offered his farm in Ithaca, New York as a site and $500,000 of his personal fortune as an initial endowment. Fellow senator and experienced educator Andrew Dickson White agreed to be the first president. During the next three years, White oversaw the construction of the first two buildings and traveled to attract students and faculty. The university was inaugurated on October 7, 1868, and 412 men were enrolled the next day.

Cornell developed as a technologically innovative institution, applying its research to its own campus as well as to outreach efforts. For example, in 1883 it was one of the first university campuses to use electricity from a water-powered dynamo to light the grounds. Since 1894, Cornell has included colleges that are state funded and fulfill statutory requirements; it has also administered research and extension activities that have been jointly funded by state and federal matching programs.

Cornell has had active alumni since its earliest classes. It was one of the first universities to include alumni-elected representatives on its Board of Trustees.

Cornell expanded, particularly since World War II, when numerous students were funded by the GI Bill. Its student population in Ithaca in the 21st century totals nearly 20,000 students. The faculty also expanded, and by 1999, the university had about 3,000 faculty ... [more on wikipedia]

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Cornell University", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0

Cornell University Details

Cornell University Details
detail value
stateNew York
conferenceIvy League
overall ROI rank[39
scores validTrue
Common Questions...

What are the academic rankings for Cornell University?

1. number 15 for Academics.

2. number 39 for ROI (Return on Investment).

What universities are similar to Cornell University?

1. Northeastern University

2. Washington University in St Louis

3. Stanford University

4. Vanderbilt University

5. Duke University

6. University of Virginia

7. University of Miami

National Academic Rankings

(summary of all ranking placements)

Cornell University National Academic Rankings

Cornell University National Academic Rankings
category rank scores difficulty smartest brainpower faculty research salary ROI overall ROI
Div1 Private101411109862515
Stem Low122124131316136527
Ivy League687665266
New England Region7181778942710
State of New York224232272
Top Ten Top2501531301617201410639
Top Ten Ivy League687665266
Top Ten New England Region8109776476
Top Ten State of New York224232242

Peer Universities / Similar Universities

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

Cornell University Peer Universities, Similar Universities to Cornell University

Cornell University Peer Universities, Similar Universities to Cornell University
match image university state conference public level rank overall ROI
Northeastern UniversityMassachusettsColonial Athletic AssociationPrivateElite40109
Washington University in St LouisMissouriUniversity Athletic AssociationPrivateElite86
Stanford UniversityCaliforniaPacific 12 ConferencePrivateElite917
Vanderbilt UniversityTennesseeSoutheastern ConferencePrivateElite148
Duke UniversityNorth CarolinaAtlantic Coast ConferencePrivateElite133
University of VirginiaVirginiaAtlantic Coast ConferencePublicExcellent3227
University of MiamiFloridaAtlantic Coast ConferencePrivateExcellent4493
Harvard UniversityMassachusettsIvy LeaguePrivateElite210
Johns Hopkins UniversityMarylandCentennial ConferencePrivateElite1647
Carnegie Mellon UniversityPennsylvaniaUniversity Athletic AssociationPrivateElite219
Princeton UniversityNew JerseyIvy LeaguePrivateElite411
Tufts UniversityMassachusettsNew England Small College Ath ConfPrivateElite2334
Case Western Reserve UniversityOhioPresidents' Athletic Conferenc...PrivateExcellent2814
Georgia Institute of TechnologyGeorgiaAtlantic Coast ConferencePublicElite61
SUNY at BinghamtonNew YorkAmerica EastPublicExcellent65125
Northwestern UniversityIllinoisBig Ten ConferencePrivateElite1113
University of California-San DiegoCaliforniaDivision II IndependentsPublicExcellent2670
Columbia University in the City of New YorkNew YorkIvy LeaguePrivateElite742
University of Maryland-College ParkMarylandBig Ten ConferencePublicExcellent3460
University of Michigan-Ann ArborMichiganBig Ten ConferencePublicExcellent1716
University of California-Los AngelesCaliforniaPacific 12 ConferencePublicExcellent2984
University of Wisconsin-MadisonWisconsinBig Ten ConferencePublicExcellent3325
Rice UniversityTexasConference USAPrivateElite204
Carleton CollegeMinnesotaMidwest ConferencePrivateElite8443
Swarthmore CollegePennsylvaniaCentennial ConferencePrivateElite6748
University of North Carolina at Chapel HillNorth CarolinaAtlantic Coast ConferencePublicExcellent3764
University of Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh CampusPennsylvaniaAtlantic Coast ConferencePublicGood5075
Villanova UniversityPennsylvaniaColonial Athletic Association ...PrivateExcellent9968
University of RochesterNew YorkUniversity Athletic AssociationPrivateExcellent3993
University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignIllinoisBig Ten ConferencePublicExcellent2417
University of Minnesota-Twin CitiesMinnesotaBig Ten ConferencePublicExcellent3022
SUNY College at GeneseoNew YorkState University of New York A...PublicExcellent111184
Yale UniversityConnecticutIvy LeaguePrivateElite337
Lehigh UniversityPennsylvaniaPatriot LeaguePrivateExcellent6932
Massachusetts Institute of TechnologyMassachusettsNew England Football Conferenc...PrivateElite52
United States Naval AcademyMarylandDivision I Independents / Patr...PublicExcellent12648
United States Air Force AcademyColoradoMountain West ConferencePublicExcellent9130
Bucknell UniversityPennsylvaniaPatriot LeaguePrivateExcellent13193
St Olaf CollegeMinnesotaMinnesota Intercollegiate Ath ConfPrivateExcellent144127
Lafayette CollegePennsylvaniaPatriot LeaguePrivateExcellent165106
Union CollegeKentuckyMid - South Conference / Appal...PrivateBelowAverage162178
Williams CollegeMassachusettsNew England Small College Ath ConfPrivateElite58161
Colby CollegeMaineNew England Small College Ath ConfPrivateExcellent132155
Grinnell CollegeIowaMidwest ConferencePrivateExcellent114123
Reed CollegeOregonNo Conference AffiliationPrivateExcellent106144
Haverford CollegePennsylvaniaCentennial ConferencePrivateElite97182
The University of Texas at DallasTexasAmerican Southwest ConferencePublicGood7055

Academic Peer Universities / Similar Academics

(mathematically similar academics)

Cornell University Academic Peer Universities, Similar Academic Universities to Cornell University

Cornell University Academic Peer Universities, Similar Academic Universities to Cornell University
match image university state conference public level rank overall ROI
Johns Hopkins UniversityMarylandCentennial ConferencePrivateElite1647
University of Michigan-Ann ArborMichiganBig Ten ConferencePublicExcellent1716
Duke UniversityNorth CarolinaAtlantic Coast ConferencePrivateElite133
University of Southern CaliforniaCaliforniaPacific 12 ConferencePrivateElite2281
Carnegie Mellon UniversityPennsylvaniaUniversity Athletic AssociationPrivateElite219
Brown UniversityRhode IslandIvy LeaguePrivateElite2534
University of PennsylvaniaPennsylvaniaIvy LeaguePrivateElite127
University of California-BerkeleyCaliforniaPacific 12 ConferencePublicExcellent1826
Rice UniversityTexasConference USAPrivateElite204
Dartmouth CollegeNew HampshireIvy LeaguePrivateElite1921
Northwestern UniversityIllinoisBig Ten ConferencePrivateElite1113
Ivy League (Average)-Ivy League-Conf-Elite-20
Stanford UniversityCaliforniaPacific 12 ConferencePrivateElite917
Vanderbilt UniversityTennesseeSoutheastern ConferencePrivateElite148
University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignIllinoisBig Ten ConferencePublicExcellent2417