Education

Florida public universities shine in U.S. News and World Report’s college rankings

Florida International University graduates march across the stage to get diplomas at a ceremony held at the Modesto Maidique Campus in 2012.
Florida International University graduates march across the stage to get diplomas at a ceremony held at the Modesto Maidique Campus in 2012. Miami Herald file photo

In its 2020 release, U.S. News and World Report gave special kudos to Florida, California and New York colleges and universities for excelling in enrolling and graduating large proportions of low-income students.

The rankings authority unveiled a new list this year that ranked colleges on social mobility. It measures how well schools graduated students who received federal Pell Grants. Those students typically come from households with incomes less than $50,000 annually, though most Pell Grant money goes to students with a total family income below $20,000, according to U.S. News.

U.S. News looked at six-year graduation rates of Pell Grant students adjusted to give much more credit to schools with larger Pell Grant student proportions.

The University of South Florida ranked 11th on that list. Florida International University was right behind it at No. 12. Nine Florida colleges populated the social mobility top 100.

Overall, the University of Florida remains the top university in the state, public or private. It ranked seventh in U.S. News’ list of top public schools and 34th among all universities.

Florida State University and the University of Miami have more than just lackluster football records in common: They also share a No. 57 ranking on the national university list.

FIU ranked 105th on the list of top public universities. It ranked 218th among all national universities.

Aldo Amenta, a Florida International University student from Venezuela, walked across the stage to receive his diploma despite a spinal cord injury.

Words of caution: Be careful comparing this year’s rankings to those of last year.

If your school’s rankings changed significantly, it may be because the competitive pool got a little bigger this year. About 13% of ranked schools moved into different categories this year, so a university ranked previously as a regional university may now be a national university.

U.S. News and World Report explained in a press release that that’s because of the “2018 update” from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, which U.S. News has used since the first Best Colleges rankings in 1983 to compare schools with similar missions.

Nova Southeastern University contacted the Miami Herald to point out that while it ranked 191st last year among 300 ranked universities, it was ranked 246th this year out of 400 universities. Though the ranking dropped, its position improved overall.

See how your college or university ranked here.

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