(The Center Square) – Two Florida universities rank in the top 20 in U.S. News and World Report’s latest 2022-2023 Best Colleges rankings, with Florida Public Universities earning top spots across multiple categories.
The Best Colleges rankings ranked the University of Florida and Florida State University as the 5th and 19th best public universities in the U.S. They also ranked in the top 30 colleges for veterans.
The University of South Florida ranked 42, moving up four spots from the previous ranking last year. It also broke into the top 100 public and private universities for the first time in the ranking’s history, placing 97th.
The University of Central Florida and Florida International University also ranked in the top 100 public universities nationally, at 64 and 72, respectively. UCF was ranked 20th for the most innovative schools.
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University was also ranked 7th best out of all public and private historically Black colleges and universities in the U.S.
U.S. News & World Report in 2021 named Florida the top state in the U.S. for higher education for five consecutive years. Its top ranking, the report says, “can be credited to the collective commitment of our elected leaders, the Board of Governors, and the state universities to student success and affordability.”
“Florida schools are some of the best in the nation, and these rankings show that our investments in higher education and our focus on providing an affordable, quality education are paying off,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said of the ranking. “I am especially proud that we have not allowed tuition increases since I have been Governor, making higher education in Florida as affordable as virtually anywhere in the nation.”
“When it comes to higher education, there’s no state in the country better than Florida,” Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz Jr., said, adding that Florida has kept its “tuition low and standards high while offering top-notch postsecondary options that stand above the rest.”
Brian Lamb, chair of the Board of Governors, said the governor and legislature have prioritized higher education. In this year’s legislative session, the budget allocated a record $4 billion to Florida state colleges and universities.
Florida also implemented a range of transparency requirements and streamlined bureaucratic processes to make attending higher education institutions easier and less expensive for students. It allocated more than $125 million for nursing education scholarships at colleges and universities as well as tens of millions of dollars in career and apprenticeship grants for colleges and skills training organizations. It also launched the first ever civics program to prepare high school and college graduates for public service.
“The result of that commitment, along with the hard work of our Board, university leadership, faculty and students, reflects in the improvement and prominence rankings of all of our state universities released today by the U.S. News and World report,” Lamb said.
Florida also ranked first for its approach to public K-12 education by a new Heritage Foundation Education Freedom Report Card.
And DeSantis’ message of education freedom – including empowering parents, banning “woke” curriculum, and ensuring education transparency – are all policies that are resonating with parents in key battleground states, a recent poll conducted by a Democratic firm reveals.