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

State of Alabama University Academic Rankings

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examples: Yale "Wake Forest" "Big Ten" TX NC

2016 Alabama University Academic Rankings

2016 Alabama University Academic Rankings
rank value image public university state conference scores difficulty smartest brainpower faculty research r pop r stem r other salary ROI overall ROI scores value difficulty value smartest value brainpower value faculty value research value salary ROI value overall ROI value scores level stem drop gpa avg research undergrads grads salary price scores valid
PublicUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamAlabamaConference USA1233311111141745|732.59|351904|791719|72149|501.00|991281547|646.00|941745/1163/26AboveAverage34512.954821167970194220033957True
PublicAuburn UniversityAlabamaSoutheastern Conference232213332411730|722.63|341963|821888|79133|562.67|971515212|762.50|981730/1153/26AboveAverage31312.951472062952834830046348True
PublicUniversity of Alabama in HuntsvilleAlabamaGulf South Conference214522225321730|722.38|411773|741512|63144|522.00|981582808|793.00|971730/1153/26AboveAverage100502.9580561817305300035606True
PublicThe University of AlabamaAlabamaSoutheastern Conference771144453531665|692.77|311966|821903|79170|443.67|961469716|734.50|961665/1110/25AboveAverage10322.90503075252955590042329True
PrivateBirmingham Southern CollegeAlabamaSouthern Athletic Association2414966665861730|722.67|331060|441202|50300|05.67|941328737|666.50|941730/1153/26AboveAverage21382.950118504110046788True
PrivateSamford UniversityAlabamaSouthern Conference688866665641680|702.80|301535|641262|53300|05.67|941394835|706.00|941680/1120/25AboveAverage8272.950305118824250042270True
PublicUniversity of South AlabamaAlabamaSun Belt Conference12116655444981465|612.96|261688|701424|59178|414.00|961300819|658.00|921465/977/22BelowAverage33572.80391147943264370026984True
PrivateJudson CollegeAlabamaNo Conference Affiliation5515136666522151715|712.72|321030|431030|43300|05.67|94766430|3815.00|851715/1143/26AboveAverage15622.95037803190029742True
PublicJacksonville State UniversityAlabamaOhio Valley Conference131277666651091445|602.99|251586|661277|53300|05.67|941283399|649.50|911445/963/22BelowAverage27642.800764710124040027029True
PublicTroy UniversityAlabamaSun Belt Conference1515546666512101400|583.03|241692|711537|64300|05.67|941231286|6210.50|901400/933/21BelowAverage29642.8001511439273890025280True
PublicUniversity of MontevalloAlabamaPeach Belt Conference10911126666518141572|652.83|291305|541068|45300|05.67|94880966|4414.50|861572/1048/24Average14552.80026644063230035280True
PrivateUniversity of MobileAlabamaSouthern States Athletic Conference810171166665161655|692.85|29910|381077|45300|05.67|942086007|1006.50|941655/1103/25AboveAverage7562.95014661346030033565True
PrivateSpring Hill CollegeAlabamaSouthern States Athletic Conference9618146666524191625|682.73|32850|351016|42300|05.67|94694342|3518.50|821625/1083/24Average9382.80012371393190047764True
PublicUniversity of North AlabamaAlabamaGulf South Conference14139106666513131442|603.00|251517|631137|47300|05.67|941157552|5813.50|871442/961/22BelowAverage16632.80058859563600023395True
PublicAuburn University at MontgomeryAlabamaSouthern States Athletic Conference191810156666515151367|573.06|241344|56973|41300|05.67|941123098|5615.00|851367/911/21BelowAverage40642.80043776804120028930True
PrivateHuntingdon CollegeAlabamaUSA South Athletic Conference151419196666514151400|583.03|24400|17611|25300|05.67|941152461|5815.00|851400/933/21BelowAverage21472.800116003870035135True
PrivateTuskegee UniversityAlabamaSouthern Intercollegiate Athle...18171618666657111370|573.06|241001|42737|31300|05.67|941352613|6812.00|881370/913/21BelowAverage41552.80025885154960034354True
PublicAlabama State UniversityAlabamaSouthwestern Athletic Conference222112166666516181280|533.15|211296|54879|37300|05.67|941084978|5417.00|831280/853/19BelowAverage23702.80048127073750025222True
PrivateOakwood UniversityAlabamaNo Conference Affiliation171620206666523221372|573.05|24343|14586|24300|05.67|94742398|3721.00|791372/914/21BelowAverage41602.8001880593190035750True
PrivateFaulkner UniversityAlabamaMid - South Conference / South...112424246666517191565|654.00|0-2400|0-2400|0300|05.67|94960000|4818.50|821565/1043/23Unknown0672.80026706653560031530False
PublicAlabama A & M UniversityAlabamaSouthwestern Athletic Conference232213176666521221210|503.19|201167|49743|31300|05.67|94771862|3921.00|791210/807/18BelowAverage48652.800421011233190028384True
PrivateSoutheastern Bible CollegeAlabamaNo Conference Affiliation191921226666519211367|573.09|23333|14333|14300|05.67|94806626|4020.50|801367/911/21BelowAverage0792.80017303190019693True
PublicUniversity of West AlabamaAlabamaGulf South Conference21202221666652121333|563.10|22267|11520|22300|05.67|941623680|8112.50|881333/889/20BelowAverage22722.800192220675300025388True
PrivateStillman CollegeAlabamaSouthern Intercollegiate Athle...242323236666520241205|503.20|209|0254|11300|05.67|94775234|3922.00|781205/803/18BelowAverage36622.800105603190027541True

Common Questions...

What are the best colleges in Alabama?

1. University of Alabama at Birmingham

2. Auburn University

3. University of Alabama in Huntsville

4. The University of Alabama

5. Birmingham Southern College

6. Samford University

7. University of South Alabama

2016 Top 10 Alabama University Academic Rankings

2016 Top 10 Alabama University Academic Rankings
rank value public name state conference scores difficulty smartest brainpower faculty research salary ROI overall ROI scores level stem drop gpa avg research undergrads grads salary price
12.17PublicUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamAlabamaConference USA123331841745/1163/26AboveAverage34512.954821167970194220033957
12.17PublicAuburn UniversityAlabamaSoutheastern Conference232213211730/1153/26AboveAverage31312.951472062952834830046348
32.67PublicUniversity of Alabama in HuntsvilleAlabamaGulf South Conference214522121730/1153/26AboveAverage100502.9580561817305300035606
43.83PublicThe University of AlabamaAlabamaSoutheastern Conference761144331665/1110/25AboveAverage10322.90503075252955590042329
56.00PrivateBirmingham Southern CollegeAlabamaSouthern Athletic Association249966551730/1153/26AboveAverage21382.950118504110046788
66.60PublicUniversity of South AlabamaAlabamaSun Belt Conference886655671465/977/22BelowAverage33572.80391147943264370026984
76.83PrivateSamford UniversityAlabamaSouthern Conference678866461680/1120/25AboveAverage8272.950305118824250042270
87.00PrivateJudson CollegeAlabamaNo Conference Affiliation5510106610101715/1143/26AboveAverage15622.95037803190029742
87.00PublicTroy UniversityAlabamaSun Belt Conference10105466981400/933/21BelowAverage29642.8001511439273890025280
107.60PublicJacksonville State UniversityAlabamaOhio Valley Conference997766781445/963/22BelowAverage27642.800764710124040027029