OUR POSITION: It was nothing but good news for Florida’s universities and colleges when the U.S. News & World Reports Best Colleges rankings were released earlier this week.

Normally cheers of “We’re No. 5” don’t mean much — especially when you’re talking sports.

But we’re not talking sports today and the University of Florida’s highest-ever ranking among America’s best colleges is reason to celebrate.

The rise of UF to fifth place — actually a three-way tie with University of California, Santa Barbara and the University of North Carolina at Chapel hill — is a super accomplishment for the public university in Gainesville. It is the first time any Florida institution of higher learning has made the top five.

Florida State University, which moved to 18th in the annual ranking of public universities in 2019, fell one spot to No. 19 on the 2022 list — still a worthy distinction.

The annual rankings are based on measurements such as graduation rates, student retention, graduates’ debt and student-faculty ratio.

Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a statement calling the release of the rankings an “historic day.” He outlined for reporters how having a prestigious top five university and others that are well respected speaks volumes about the progress the state is making in education.

Other universities fared well in the rankings including our closest, Florida Gulf Coast University in Estero which ranked No. 56 on the regional list for Southern universities.

The University of South Florida ranked 46th — continuing its climb to greatness after rising 48 spots in the list in the past decade.

The University of Central Florida showed up at 67th among public universities. In a news release, UCF touted its move of 10 places upward as putting it among one of only three schools to continually move up for six years in a row.

Another ranking announced by U.S. News & World Report lists colleges that offer social mobility to students. The rankings laud universities for enrolling and graduating students who face disadvantages and who mostly receive financial assistance. A private university, Keiser in Fort Lauderdale, ranked fifth in the nation for schools successfully accomplishing social mobility.

Florida International University came in at No. 6 and Florida A&M University at No. 13 in the social mobility rankings.

We should be proud of the high education opportunities in Florida. We don’t have the numbers to prove our claim that Florida offers the best college experience to students in the nation. But we feel confident the state’s universities and colleges are competitive with those in any other state.

And, we’re not just talking football.


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