Student success powers FSU’s Top 20 ranking by U.S. News & World Report
Florida State University continued its impressive run as a Top 20 national public university and was also recognized as one of the country’s best values in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings.
FSU reaffirmed its place in the Top 20 among public universities for the third consecutive year, retaining its No. 19 spot. The university also climbed three spots to No. 55 among all national universities, both public and private. The rankings appear in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges 2022” guidebook.
“As a Top 20 public university, our continued upward trajectory in the overall rankings of all universities is gratifying and encouraging,” said FSU President Richard McCullough. “These rankings solidify our position as a top university, and in many ways, we lead the nation when it comes to student success. Florida State has a fantastic academic reputation and that will continue to rise as people see all the gains the university has made over the past five years.”
Florida State was ranked No. 43 in 2016, and the keys to its rapid ascent are the university’s rising graduation and freshman retention rates. FSU improved its 6-year graduation rate to 84 percent, outperforming its predicted rate by 11 percentage points, while raising its freshman retention rate to 93 percent — No. 16 among all public universities.
“It is absolutely great news,” Sally McRorie, provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, said of the rankings. “It means that we’re doing the right kind of things to help our students succeed.”
U.S. News also recognized Florida State for providing a top-quality education at an affordable price, ranking FSU the No. 5 Best Value College in the nation among public universities. When it comes to Best Value, FSU is ranked highest among the state universities in Florida.
“The Best Value College ranking really highlights FSU’s academic excellence in relation to the university’s low cost of tuition and generous financial aid packages for those who need it most,” McRorie said. “It shows what an outstanding return on investment an FSU education provides our students.”
Florida State’s across-the-board strength in student success measures helped the university maintain its position among the nation’s best. FSU placed No. 13 among public universities when comparing the actual graduation rate against the predicted rate, which U.S. News calculates based on the university’s resources and student profile.
Florida State also ranked No. 21 among public universities for the graduation rate of students who receive a Pell Grant, a measure considered in the methodology’s social mobility factor. The university’s 6-year graduation rate is 80 percent among Pell Grant recipients.
FSU continued to excel in several key metrics considered in the publication’s methodology, including class size, student selectivity, alumni giving and graduate indebtedness.
Despite the pandemic and record enrollment, McRorie said FSU continues to prioritize smaller class sizes.
“Sixty percent of our classes had fewer than 20 students,” she said. “That gives the instructors and students the opportunity to get to know one another and interact with each other. It makes a huge difference in student engagement.”
The academic profile of FSU’s new students also improved as the average SAT and ACT scores of incoming freshmen are increasing.
“The quality of student applications has gone up significantly in the three years that we’ve been ranked in the Top 20,” McRorie said. “We had over 67,000 applications for our freshman class this fall — that tells you something. That’s the most first-year student applications to any State University System institution in Florida and the most to all public universities of a similar size in the country.”
McRorie is optimistic that the strides FSU has made in the metrics will continue to raise the university’s national prominence.
“The data make the point,” she said. “If we can improve our academic reputation to what it should be based on what we achieve, we’re going to move up even higher.”
Last year, FSU shared the No. 19 spot with the University of Maryland at College Park, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Washington. Now, FSU has moved ahead of the trio in the metrics and stands alone on the publics list. In the overall national rankings, which includes private universities, FSU is tied at No. 55 with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York, Santa Clara University in California and the University of Miami.
Also included in this year’s U.S. News report were undergraduate business program specialty rankings, which were based solely on peer assessments. The College of Business’ Dr. William T. Hold/The National Alliance Program in Risk Management and Insurance scored a No. 1 ranking among all schools, and its Real Estate program earned a No. 5 ranking among public schools. The College of Business also earned Top 20 honors among public schools in Marketing (No. 17) and Management Information Systems (No. 16), plus Top 25 recognition in Management (No. 22) and Accounting (No. 24).
“We’re proud, honored and ecstatic,” said Michael Hartline, dean of the College of Business.
Hartline said the No. 1 ranking validates the work of the program’s risk management and insurance faculty members, several of whom garner worldwide acknowledgment as experts in their fields.
“It’s also a testament to our students, who continue to take advantage of networking, leadership and internship opportunities and to earn licenses and designations even before graduation,” he said. “It’s a result of incredible alumni and industry partners who tirelessly support and nourish our program. And it’s a fitting tribute to Dr. William T. Hold and The National Alliance, to whom we remain forever grateful.”
U.S. News & World Report’s national universities category comprises 392 institutions (209 public, 179 private and four for-profit) that offer a wide range of undergraduate majors as well as master’s and doctoral degrees.
The publication determines its national university rankings based on these factors: graduation and retention rates (22 percent) undergraduate academic reputation, i.e. peer assessment (20 percent); faculty resources (20 percent); financial resources per student (10 percent); graduation rate performance (8 percent); student selectivity (7 percent) social mobility (5 percent); graduate indebtedness (5 percent); and alumni giving (3 percent).