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

National (Average)

2016 University Academic Rankings

Higher education in the United States is an optional final stage of formal learning following secondary education. Higher education, also referred to as post-secondary education, third stage, third level, or tertiary education occurs most commonly at one of the 4,726 Title IV degree-granting institutions, either colleges or universities in the country. These may be public universities, private universities, liberal arts colleges, or community colleges. High visibility issues include greater use of the Internet, such as massive open online courses, competency-based education, cutbacks in state spending, rapidly rising tuition and increasing student loans.

Strong research and funding have helped make American colleges and universities among the world's most prestigious, making them particularly attractive to international students, professors and researchers in the pursuit of academic excellence.

Unlike Tertiary education system of UK (and in addition Australia), American education is unique in the world to place strong emphasis on Liberal Arts education in its higher education curriculum.


As of 2012, the latest figures available in 2015, the US has a total of 4,726 Title IV-eligible, degree-granting institutions: 3,026 4-year institutions and 1,700 2-year institutions. The US had 21 million students in higher education, roughly 5.7% of the total population. About 13 million of these students were enrolled full-time which was 81,000 students lower than 2010.:table 224

A US Department of Education longitudinal survey of 15,000 high school students in 2002, and again in 2012 at age 27, found that 84% of the 27-year-olds had some college education, but only 34% achieved a bachelor's degree or higher; 79% owe some money for college and 55% owe more than $10,000; college dropouts were three times more likely to be unemployed than those who finished college; 40% spent some time unemployed and 23% were unemployed for six months or more; and 79% earned less than $40,000 per year.

Types of colleges and universities

Colleges and universities in the U.S. vary in terms of goals: some may emphasize a vocational, business, engineering, or technical curriculum (like polytechnic universities and land-grant universities) while others may emphasize a liberal arts curriculum. Many combine some or all of the above, being a comprehensive university.

In the US, the term "college" refers to either one of three types of education institutions: stand-alone higher level education institutions that are not components of a university, including 1) community colleges, 2) liberal arts colleges, or 3) a college within a university, mostly the undergraduate institution of a university. Unlike colleges versus universities in other portions of the world, a stand-alone college is truly stand-alone and is not part of a university, and is also not affiliated with an affiliating university.

Almost all colleges and universities are coeducational. During a dramatic transition in the 1970s, all but a handful of men's colleges started accepting women. Over 80 percent of the women's colleges of 1960s have closed or merged, leaving fewer than 50 in operation. Over 100 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) operate, both private (such as Morehouse College) and public (such as Florida A&M).

Higher education created accreditation organizations independent of the government to vouch for the quality of their degree. The accreditation agencies rate universities and colleges on criteria such as academic quality, the quality of their libraries, the publishing records of their faculty, and the degrees which their faculty hold, and their financial solvency. Nonaccredited institutions exist, such as Bible colleges, but the students are not eligible for federal loans. ... [more on wikipedia]

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

National Details

National Details
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Common Questions...

What are the academic rankings for National (Average)?

1. number - for Academics.

2. number -1 for ROI (Return on Investment).

What universities are similar to National (Average)?

National Academic Rankings

(summary of all ranking placements)

National National Academic Rankings

National 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)

National Peer Universities, Similar Universities to National

National Peer Universities, Similar Universities to National
match image university state conference public level rank overall ROI

Academic Peer Universities / Similar Academics

(mathematically similar academics)

National Academic Peer Universities, Similar Academic Universities to National

National Academic Peer Universities, Similar Academic Universities to National
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Southland Conference (Average)-Southland Conference-Conf-Average--1
Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Assoc (Average)-Michigan Intercollegiate Athle...-Conf-AboveAverage--1
Horizon League (Low)-Horizon League-Conf-Average--1
Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (Average)-Heartland Collegiate Athletic ...-Conf-AboveAverage--1
Southern Athletic Association (Low)-Southern Athletic Association-Conf-AboveAverage--1