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NCSA College Power Rankings

The College Power Rankings from NCSA are calculated for each college and university at the NCAA Division I, II and III levels by averaging the Learfield Sports Directors' Cup ranking, the NCAA student-athlete graduation rate of each college/university and the U.S. News & World Report ranking.


Top Athletic & Academic Colleges

When student-athletes and their families are searching for colleges, they have an overwhelming number of schools and data to sift through. The toughest part: Determining which schools are competitive from an athletic and academic standpoint. Unfortunately, college ranking lists rarely take both factors into account. Seven years ago, we changed that by creating the NCSA College Power Rankings.

"There are a lot of ways to compare schools out there," said Chris Krause, Founder & CEO of NCSA. “But this tool really helps student-athletes understand how the schools they're considering will fit both their academic and athletic goals, and ultimately help them become leaders in their chosen professions."

Starting in 2010, we have compiled an overall list of top schools, as well as separate lists for each NCAA division level. Due to positive feedback from families and schools across the country, we have continued to create our College Power Rankings.

See the top colleges in the following years:

NCSA calculates the rankings through a proprietary methodology using the results of each school’s placement in U.S. News & World Reports, the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup and NCAA student-athlete graduation rates (for Division I), NCAA academic success rates (for Division II) and general graduation rates for Division III schools. Each of these factors plays a specific role to determine athletic competitiveness and academic excellence for every NCAA-affiliated university.

  • Learfield Sports Directors' Cup ranking—This ranking demonstrates the breadth of a university’s athletic program, as Learfield ranks schools based on their overall athletic performance. Learfield honors universities that maintain a broad-based athletics program and achieve success in many men’s and women’s sports.
  • NCAA student-athlete graduation rate—NCAA has been gathering student-athlete graduation rate data for nearly two decades. These data illustrate the academic success rate for athletes at each NCAA school. NCAA also compares each school’s student-athlete graduation rate to that of the overall student body. For student-athletes and their families, it’s crucial to understand if a college helps its athletes achieve academic success.
  • U.S. News & World Report ranking—The U.S. News rankings focus strictly on academic excellence. Schools are ranked based on 15 measures of academic quality, with a strong emphasis placed on student outcomes like graduation and retention rates.

"We created our annual NCSA College Power Rankings to help families find the best colleges around, based on both athletic competitiveness and academic excellence," said Lisa Strasman, NCSA President & COO. "The NCSA College Power Rankings are just one small part of our overall efforts to help empower young leaders through sport, and helping them find the right match for their education."

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