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

Presidents' Athletic Conference (Average)

2016 University Academic Rankings

The Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) is an athletic conference which competes in the NCAA's Division III. Of its 10 member schools, all private, liberal arts institutions of higher learning, eight are located in Western Pennsylvania. One member is in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, an area adjoining and historically tied to Western Pennsylvania, and the other is on the Kentucky side of the Cincinnati metropolitan area.


The PAC was founded in 1955 by the presidents of Western Reserve University (1955-1967), Case Institute of Technology (1955-1970), John Carroll University (1955-1988) and Wayne State University (1955-1967). Unlike other conferences at that time, the PAC was designed to be controlled by the presidents of the institutions rather than the athletic directors. Member institutions were to admit athletes on the same academic standards as other students and award scholarships only based on academic achievement or need.

By 1958, the PAC expanded east to include Allegheny College (1958-1984), Bethany College (1958-present), Thiel College (1958-present) and Washington & Jefferson College (1958-present). Eventually, many other member institutions joined the PAC, like Chatham University (2007-present), Geneva College (2007-present), Grove City College (1958-present), Saint Vincent College (2006-present), Thomas More College (2005-present), Waynesburg University (1990-present) and Westminster College (2000-present).

Some former PAC member institutions include Adelbert College (1967-1970), Alfred University (1996-1998), Carnegie Mellon University (1968-1989), Eastern Michigan University (1962-1967) and Hiram College (1972-1989).

Membership evolution[2]

1955 Charter members Western Reserve University, John Carroll University, and Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland, along with Wayne State University in Detroit, come together to form the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC).

1958 The PAC adds four additional members - Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa.; Bethany College in Bethany, W.Va.; Thiel College in Greenville, Pa.; and Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pa., bringing the total number of conference members to eight.

1967 Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University federated into a new institution known as Case Western Reserve University. The undergraduate student bodies remained separate, however, and both Case Tech and Adelbert College (the male undergraduate school of the former Western Reserve University) continued to field separate teams.

2007 Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pa., and Chatham University in Pittsburgh are both accepted into the PAC, bringing the conference to its current level of 10 full-time members.

2011 Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and Case Western Reserve in Cleveland are both admitted to the PAC as affiliate members in the sport of football beginning in the 2014-15 academic year.

Member schools | Current members | Associate members | Former members | Membership timeline | Sports | References

^ a b c d E. Lee, North (1991). "Chapter 14: The Frustrating Fifties". Battling the Indians, Panthers, and Nittany Lions: The Story of Washington & Jefferson College's First Century of Football, 1890-1990. Daring Books. pp. 161-168. ISBN 978-1-878302-03-8. OCLC 24174022.

External links

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Presidents' Athletic Conference Details

Presidents' Athletic Conference Details
detail value
conferencePresidents' Athletic Conference
overall ROI rank[-1
scores validTrue
Common Questions...

What are the academic rankings for Presidents' Athletic Conference (Average)?

1. number - for Academics.

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

What universities are similar to Presidents' Athletic Conference (Average)?

National Academic Rankings

(summary of all ranking placements)

Presidents' Athletic Conference National Academic Rankings

Presidents' Athletic 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)

Presidents' Athletic Conference Peer Universities, Similar Universities to Presidents' Athletic Conference

Presidents' Athletic Conference Peer Universities, Similar Universities to Presidents' Athletic Conference
match image university state conference public level rank overall ROI

Academic Peer Universities / Similar Academics

(mathematically similar academics)

Presidents' Athletic Conference Academic Peer Universities, Similar Academic Universities to Presidents' Athletic Conference

Presidents' Athletic Conference Academic Peer Universities, Similar Academic Universities to Presidents' Athletic Conference
match image university state conference public level rank overall ROI
Sunshine State Conference (Average)-Sunshine State Conference-Conf-Average-426
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (Average)-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference-Conf-Average-458
Division III Independents (Average)-Division III Independents-Conf-Average-472
College Conference of Illinois and Wisc (Average)-College Conference of Illinois...-Conf-AboveAverage-386
State University of New York Ath Conf (Average)-State University of New York A...-Conf-Average-467
Landmark Conference (Low)-Landmark Conference-Conf-AboveAverage-481
Old Dominion Athletic Conference (Average)-Old Dominion Athletic Conference-Conf-AboveAverage-485
Western Athletic Conference (Average)-Western Athletic Conference-Conf-Average--1