USF, New College and other Florida universities see changes in US News college rankings
The changes come after lawmakers, led by Gov. Ron DeSantis, targeted the state university system during the recent legislative session.
The U.S. News and World Report rankings of the best colleges is out, and Florida's public universities saw some movement.
The overall ranking is the highest in USF’s history, according to a press release from President Rhea Law.
“Our standing in the rankings and our recent invitation to join the Association of American Universities reaffirm that USF provides a significant return on investment for our students, the Tampa Bay region and our state. We are focused on sustaining this positive momentum as we continue our pursuit of excellence,” Law said in the release.
Law said during a university-wide town hall last week that USF has its sights set on becoming a top 25 U.S. public university.
USF also ranked first in Florida and 57th nationally in best value schools, which measures a school’s academic quality and “the 2022-2023 net cost of attendance for an out-of-state student who received the average level of need-based financial aid.”
Among other Florida institutions, the University of Florida dropped in the public university rankings from fifth to sixth. But it climbed one spot to 28th in the overall rankings.
Florida State University dropped from 19th among public universities to 23rd, but rose from 55th to 53rd overall.
The University of Central Florida was unchanged among public universities at 64th and up from 137th to 124th overall.
New College of Florida dropped 24 spots among all national liberal arts colleges to 100th.
What’s new this year
U.S. News changed its methodology this year to emphasize social mobility, according to the website. The rankings added factors like first-generation graduation rates and graduation rate performance, and the proportion of college graduates earning more than a high school graduate.
Other factors – like the proportion of graduates who borrowed federal loans, high school class standing, alumni giving rate, terminal degree faculty and class size – were removed. The definition of social mobility was also changed to include first-generation and Pell-recipient graduation rates.
With this new methodology, USF placed first in Florida and 16th nationally in the social mobility rankings. UF and FSU both landed in 47th place.
The changes also come after lawmakers, led by Gov. Ron DeSantis, targeted the state university system during the legislative session. This included a conservative overhaul at New College of Florida, which is currently experiencing housing and curriculum changes in the new academic year.