In the latest rankings by US News and World Report, several Florida schools have shown improvements in their standings among both public and private colleges and universities. These 2024 rankings incorporate a new methodology that places greater emphasis on the academic achievements of economically diverse student populations. Here’s how Florida schools fare in both public universities and overall national rankings:
- The University of Florida: Ranks 6th among public schools (previously 5th) and 28th overall (previously 29th).
- Florida State University: Ranks 22nd among public schools (previously 19th) and 53rd overall (previously 57th).
- The University of South Florida: Ranks 45th among public schools (previously 42nd) and 89th overall (previously 97th).
- The University of Central Florida: Holds the 64th position among public schools (no change) and 124th overall (previously 137th).
Florida’s public universities have significantly improved their rankings in recent years, largely owing to their affordability, with an average in-state tuition of less than $6,500 per year, making them the most cost-effective option in the nation. However, experts caution against relying too heavily on college rankings, as they provide only a broad overview of academics, costs, and the student experience.
US News is known for its influential ranking system in higher education, impacting recruitment strategies. Consequently, some schools have faced allegations of academic misconduct to manipulate their rankings. Many argue that these rankings can create distortions within academia that ultimately harm students. In recent years, several prestigious institutions such as Harvard, Yale, and UVA Law have chosen to boycott these rankings.
These new rankings come amidst a year of upheaval triggered by Governor Ron DeSantis’ introduction of new public education standards, potentially explaining the dramatic 24-spot drop for New College of Florida among national liberal arts colleges. Governor DeSantis played a direct role in reshaping the school’s direction and leadership, resulting in New College’s placement at 100th among liberal arts colleges nationwide in the US News and World Report rankings.
On a positive note, Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland and private Rollins College have both achieved top rankings as regional universities in the South.
Notably, the University of South Florida (USF) has attained its highest-ever overall ranking at number 89 among all public and private universities.