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2 Out of 3 Recent Rankings Not Bad For USF

USF Communications and Marketing

A trio of rankings recently came out on a variety of subjects, and for the University of South Florida, two out of three weren't bad.

USF picked up the top spot in a national ranking of public universities when it comes to student success and once again made the top 10 among public universities for U.S. patents.

But it placed almost right in the middle of some 700-plus schools in Money magazine's "most valuable" universities.

Higher education research and advisory firm Eduventures said USF was the top overall public research and doctoral university in the country in its latest student success ratings.

The firm looked at graduation and first-year retention data between 2004 and 2014.

Dr. Paul Dosal, USF's Vice President for Student Affairs and Student Success, said the school's six year graduation rate jumped around 20 percent to 67 percent in the last decade, with large jumps across all races and income levels.

"And in the process, we've also eliminated the achievement gap by racial and ethnic minorities, and there's also a very narrow gap, in fact hardly one at all between limited income students and higher income students - they are also graduating at about the same rate and very few if any institutions can make that claim," Dosal said.

USF's four-year graduation rate has also improved, while the retention rate for first time in college students has climbed from 81 to 89 percent over the last ten years.

Dosal credited the results to two things.

"One is that we've focused on changing the institutional culture of this university, meaning that we've tried to get everybody to understand that they play a role in promoting the success of our students - and this means everybody, from librarians to faculty to financial aid and admissions, everybody plays a role in promoting student success," Dosal said.

"It also means that we've been trying to change the way we think about ourselves and our students, that we are optimistic that we can reach high, ambitious targets, and this shows that we've been doing it - and that's a big key to our success," he added.

USF's innovation was noticed once again as well, as the school ranked ninth in the nation among public universities for U.S. patents granted in 2015.

It's the sixth year in a row USF finished in the top 10 of the U.S. rankings, which are put together by the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO).

USF had 90 U.S. patents issued, which was also good enough for 21st place among worldwide universities. University of California topped the list with 489 patents, with MIT and Stanford rounding out the top three. The University of Florida placed 11th in the nation and tied for 12th in the world with 105 patents.

Add in the University of Central Florida and the "Florida High Tech Corridor" received 245 U.S. patents in 2015. That topped the "Silicon Hill" universities of the University of Texas System, Texas A&M and Rice (241 total patents) and the "Research Triangle" of University of North Carolina, Duke University and North Carolina State (131 total patents).

And, in "not good, but not bad" results, Money magazine said USF was the 356th "most valuable" college in the U.S. in its 2016 rankings.

Their study of almost 2,000 four-year U.S. colleges and universities first removed schools with graduation rates below the median, financial difficulties or fewer than 500 undergraduates enrolled.

That left 705 schools, which were ranked according to 24 factors in categories: educational quality, affordability and alumni success.

Princeton, the University of Michigan and Harvard made up the top 3. Florida led state schools at 15th, Florida State was 197th, USF 356th, UCF 408th, University of Miami 491st and Florida International University 572nd.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.