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 Iowa University Academic Rankings

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

2016 Iowa University Academic Rankings

2016 Iowa 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 IowaIowaBig Ten Conference231111111411845|772.60|352045|851987|8358|811.00|991333839|672.50|981845/1230/28Good17283.104452235476164500040191True
PrivateGrinnell CollegeIowaMidwest Conference114333333542070|861.81|551739|721816|76300|03.00|971277662|643.50|972070/1380/31Excellent28113.250173404250059317True
PrivateDrake UniversityIowaPioneer Football League / Miss...325533333321780|742.59|351693|711430|60300|03.00|971476095|743.00|971780/1187/27AboveAverage13252.950336416984430046316True
PublicIowa State UniversityIowaBig Twelve Conference782222222221685|702.72|321972|821908|8099|672.00|981499625|753.00|971685/1123/25AboveAverage29312.952602889355424950031920True
PublicUniversity of Northern IowaIowaMissouri Valley Conference663433333851710|712.71|321856|771660|69300|03.00|971207886|606.50|941710/1140/26AboveAverage22312.9501014217864240030057True
PrivateCornell CollegeIowaMidwest Conference449633333971745|732.64|341090|451225|51300|03.00|971192907|607.50|931745/1163/26AboveAverage21302.950108603670050525True
PrivateCoe CollegeIowaIowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conf5510733333761735|722.68|331069|451218|51300|03.00|971212721|617.00|931735/1156/26AboveAverage16312.950143514500049220True
PrivateLuther CollegeIowaIowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conf99883333314101611|672.73|321181|491101|46300|03.00|971071852|5411.00|891611/1074/24Average20302.800238504320049775True
PrivateDordt CollegeIowaGreat Plains Athletic Conference8711103333322141625|682.72|32850|351022|43300|03.00|97714064|3615.50|851625/1083/24Average17392.8001399603190040100True
PrivateSimpson CollegeIowaIowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conf10101211333331191600|672.74|31800|33985|41300|03.00|971117821|5610.50|901600/1067/24Average23312.8001660654130044972True
PrivateSaint Ambrose UniversityIowaMidwest Classic Conference14147123333325161500|632.88|281230|51957|40300|03.00|97709344|3518.00|821500/1000/23Average22372.80027147943190041280True
PrivateCentral CollegeIowaIowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conf1111131333333681575|662.78|30750|31933|39300|03.00|971272886|649.00|911575/1050/24Average21372.800141104340046645True
PrivateNorthwestern CollegeIowaGreat Plains Athletic Conference121214143333324171529|642.86|29658|27844|35300|03.00|97711952|3618.50|821529/1019/23Average17342.800120503190040628True
PrivateClarke UniversityIowaMidlands Collegiate Athletic Conf131315163333326221513|632.86|28625|26800|33300|03.00|97706224|3520.00|801513/1008/23Average24402.8009492513190042060True
PrivateBuena Vista UniversityIowaIowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conf141516153333313121500|632.89|28600|25816|34300|03.00|971072371|5414.00|861500/1000/23Average20452.80020352603520042348True
PrivateUpper Iowa UniversityIowaNorthern Sun Intercollegiate C...2022693333312121433|603.01|251418|591069|45300|03.00|971102942|5514.00|861433/956/22BelowAverage11542.80044397234030038658True
PrivateMorningside CollegeIowaGreat Plains Athletic Conference141616173333316151500|632.89|28600|25797|33300|03.00|971023832|5116.50|841500/1000/23Average17422.800132115023590039888True
PrivateMount Mercy UniversityIowaMidwest Classic Conference202021193333321201433|602.98|25467|19683|28300|03.00|97714272|3619.50|811433/956/22BelowAverage26392.80014443183190040048True
PrivateLoras CollegeIowaIowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conf191820183333323241458|612.97|26516|22728|30300|03.00|97713852|3621.00|791458/972/22BelowAverage19412.8001490793190040153True
PrivateSt Luke's CollegeIowaNo Conference Affiliation181919253333327271467|612.98|25533|22533|22300|03.00|97705401|3523.50|771467/978/22BelowAverage002.8002540319000True
PrivateWartburg CollegeIowaIowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conf222122203333317191425|592.99|25450|19675|28300|03.00|971002138|5019.00|811425/950/21BelowAverage30362.800166104190047440True
PrivateFaith Baptist Bible College and Theological SeminaryIowaNo Conference Affiliation171718213333318221490|622.95|26580|24580|24300|03.00|97766432|3820.00|801490/993/22Average0662.800250423190027008True
PrivateGraceland University-LamoniIowaHeart of America Athletic Conf...232523223333319241353|563.09|23306|13546|23300|03.00|97726044|3621.00|791353/902/20BelowAverage6492.80015948123190037105True
PrivateWilliam Penn UniversityIowaMid - States Football Associat...252325243333315201345|563.09|23290|12534|22300|03.00|971045577|5219.50|811345/897/20BelowAverage24702.8001698934170035060True
PrivateIowa Wesleyan CollegeIowaUpper Midwest Athletic Confere...242424273333320261349|563.09|23297|12297|12300|03.00|97716112|3622.50|781349/899/20BelowAverage18732.80047303190039588True
PrivateUniversity of DubuqueIowaIowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conf25262523333331111345|563.10|23290|12537|22300|03.00|972042608|10013.00|871345/897/20BelowAverage15572.80017753466030037560True
PrivateGrand View UniversityIowaMid - States Football Associat...272727263333310171255|523.17|21110|5384|16300|03.00|971130584|5718.50|821255/837/19BelowAverage21562.8002005593970034788True

Common Questions...

What are the best colleges in Iowa?

1. University of Iowa

2. Grinnell College

3. Drake University

4. Iowa State University

5. University of Northern Iowa

6. Cornell College

7. Coe College

2016 Top 10 Iowa University Academic Rankings

2016 Top 10 Iowa 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
11.50PublicUniversity of IowaIowaBig Ten Conference231111311845/1230/28Good17283.104452235476164500040191
22.50PrivateGrinnell CollegeIowaMidwest Conference114333442070/1380/31Excellent28113.250173404250059317
33.50PrivateDrake UniversityIowaPioneer Football League / Miss...325533221780/1187/27AboveAverage13252.950336416984430046316
43.83PublicIowa State UniversityIowaBig Twelve Conference782222121685/1123/25AboveAverage29312.952602889355424950031920
54.17PublicUniversity of Northern IowaIowaMissouri Valley Conference663433651710/1140/26AboveAverage22312.9501014217864240030057
64.67PrivateCornell CollegeIowaMidwest Conference448633771745/1163/26AboveAverage21302.950108603670050525
75.33PrivateCoe CollegeIowaIowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conf559733561735/1156/26AboveAverage16312.950143514500049220
86.50PrivateLuther CollegeIowaIowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conf997833881611/1074/24Average20302.800238504320049775
96.67PrivateDordt CollegeIowaGreat Plains Athletic Conference8710933991625/1083/24Average17392.8001399603190040100
107.00PrivateSaint Ambrose UniversityIowaMidwest Classic Conference10106103310101500/1000/23Average22372.80027147943190041280