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

Southland Conference (Average)

2016 University Academic Rankings

The Southland Conference is a collegiate athletic conference which operates in the South Central United States (specifically Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas). It participates in the NCAA's Division I for all sports; for football, it participates in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). The Southland sponsors 17 sports, nine for women and eight for men, and is governed by a presidential Board of Directors and an Advisory Council of athletic and academic administrators. Tom Burnett was named the Southland's sixth commissioner on Dec. 23, 2002.


Founded in 1963, its members were Abilene Christian College (now Abilene Christian University; departed in 1973 for NCAA Division II, but moved to Division I and re-joined the Southland in 2013), Arkansas State College (now Arkansas State University; departed in 1987, now a member of the Sun Belt Conference), Arlington State College (now The University of Texas at Arlington, departed in 2012 now also in the Sun Belt), Lamar State College of Technology (now Lamar University; departed in 1987, but re-joined in 1999), and Trinity University (departed in 1971, now participating in NCAA Division III).

Since its founding, the Southland Conference has been the home for 18 college and university all-sports programs (see membership timeline below). In addition, the conference has also been home to some schools for one sport only. In the case of football, Troy fielded a team from 1996-2000 and Jacksonville State from 1997-2002. This has also been the case for some Olympic sports like men's tennis, in which the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) and the University of New Orleans (UNO) fielded teams as affiliate members before 2013, when UTPA joined the WAC and UNO became a full Southland member.

Member schools | Current members | Former members | Former associate members

^ Texas-Pan American (UTPA) ceased to exist at the start of the 2015-16 school year, when it merged with the nearby University of Texas at Brownsville to create the new University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV).

^ Nearly a year before the merger, the University of Texas System announced that UTRGV would directly inherit the UTPA athletic program. The new nickname of Vaqueros was announced in November 2014.

Membership timeline | Sports | Men's sponsored sports by school | Women's sponsored sports by school

Women's Bowling - The Southland Conference provides administrative support for the Southland Bowling League, but the SBL operates independently from regular conference operations. The women's bowling league was established in 2015 and includes Southland Conference members Sam Houston State and Stephen F. Austin, plus Arkansas State, Louisiana Tech, Monmouth, Tulane, Valparaiso and Vanderbilt.


Former and current NFL stars from the Southland include Gary Barbaro, Mike Barber, Fred Barnett, Bill Bergey, Derrick Blaylock, Bubby Brister, Ray Brown, Roger Carr, Mark Carrier, Larry Centers, Bruce Collie, Keith Davis, Fred Dean, Jackie Harris, Stan Humphries, Buford Jordan, Wade Key, Tim McKyer, Jeff Novak, Kavika Pittman, Mike Quinn, Billy Ryckman, Ricky Sanders, Eugene Seale, Rafael Septien, Terrance Shaw, Marcus Spears, Chad Stanley, Pat Tilley, Jeremiah Trotter, Marvin Upshaw, Lardarius Webb and Spergon Wynn.

The Southland was instrumental in founding the Independence Bowl, and the Southland champion served as the automatic home team for that bowl from 1976-1980.

On May 21, 2014, the Southland Conference approved the use of instant replay at all its home games becoming the first FCS league to fully commit to having all games utilize instant replay.

Men's basketball

Among notable NBA stars attending Southland Conference schools include Kar ... [more on wikipedia]

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

Southland Conference Details

Southland Conference Details
detail value
conferenceSouthland Conference
overall ROI rank[-1
scores validTrue
Common Questions...

What are the academic rankings for Southland Conference (Average)?

1. number - for Academics.

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

What universities are similar to Southland Conference (Average)?

National Academic Rankings

(summary of all ranking placements)

Southland Conference National Academic Rankings

Southland 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)

Southland Conference Peer Universities, Similar Universities to Southland Conference

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

Academic Peer Universities / Similar Academics

(mathematically similar academics)

Southland Conference Academic Peer Universities, Similar Academic Universities to Southland Conference

Southland Conference Academic Peer Universities, Similar Academic Universities to Southland Conference
match image university state conference public level rank overall ROI
Horizon League (Low)-Horizon League-Conf-Average--1
National (Average)--Conf-Average--1
Empire Eight (Low)-Empire Eight-Conf-Average--1
New Jersey Athletic Conference (Low)-New Jersey Athletic Conference-Conf-Average-479
Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (Average)-Heartland Collegiate Athletic ...-Conf-AboveAverage--1
Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Assoc (Average)-Michigan Intercollegiate Athle...-Conf-AboveAverage--1
Southern Athletic Association (Low)-Southern Athletic Association-Conf-AboveAverage--1