Press Releases | General Education

Big 12 Top Conference for Academics According to New Rankings

August 26, 2010

WASHINGTON, DC—A new study by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni of general education requirements at over 700 colleges and universities nationwide has ranked the Big 12’s curricula first among the six BCS conferences.

“The academic accomplishments of Big 12 member institutions are a source of great pride for the Conference,” said Big 12 Conference Commissioner Dan Beebe.

College football fans tired of the subjectivity involved in the BCS rankings will be happy to know that the ACTA ratings, available at online at, are unique among college rankings in that they put no weight on a college’s reputation and focus strictly on education. Universities are assigned a grade ranging from “A” to “F” based on whether or not students are required to take a course in seven higher-education fundamentals: English Composition, Literature, Foreign Language, US Government or History, Economics, Mathematics, and Natural Science.

The Big 12 schools require an average of 4.50 of the seven. The SEC finished second on the scoreboard, with its schools requiring an average of 4.25 of the seven subjects, followed by the ACC (3.55), the Big Ten (2.82), and the Pac-10 (2.80). The Big East finished last, with its eight football schools only requiring an average of 2.63 subjects in the seven categories. Nationwide, the average among the 714 institutions studied was 3.01.

Individually, Baylor and Texas A&M each earned a grade of “A,” two of only 16 schools nationwide to do so. Only one other BCS school (Arkansas) earned an “A.”

The sweetest bit of news for the Big 12? Nebraska and Colorado leaving the conference after this season will actually raise the conference’s average even higher.

The American Council of Trustees and Alumni is an independent non-profit dedicated to academic freedom, academic excellence, and accountability. Since its founding in 1995, ACTA has counseled boards, educated the public, and published reports about such issues as good governance, historical literacy, core curricula, the free exchange of ideas, and accreditation in higher education.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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