For the first time in two years, the University of Florida is no longer the only Florida school among the top 50 in the annual U.S. News and World Report’s national ranking of public and private colleges, released Monday.
The University of Miami stepped up its game, rising from No. 57 last year to No. 49, tied with Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, Northeastern University in Massachusetts and Pepperdine University in California. UM, based in Coral Gables, ranked No. 53 in fall 2018 and No. 46 in fall 2017.
“It’s nice to be back in the top 50,” said Jeffrey Duerk, UM’s executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, in a written statement.
UF, however, kept the lead. The Gainesville-based university scored No. 30 this year nationally, up from last year’s No. 34. It tied with New York University, Tufts University in Massachusetts and the University of California-Santa Barbara.
For the fourth year in a row, UF improved in the rankings among public universities, jumping from No. 14 in the 2017 list to No. 6 this year, tied with the University of California-Santa Barbara. It ranked seventh last year.
Mori Hosseini, UF’s Board of Trustees chairman, said in a press release that the university’s “momentum is unbreakable.”
“Now is the time to double down, make the final push and carry the ball across the goal line,” he said, referring to the school’s goal to join the top five institutions. UF follows the University of California-Los Angeles, the University of California-Berkeley, the University of Michigan, University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Florida State University in Tallahassee tied for the 58th spot in the best colleges ranking. It placed No. 19 among top public schools, tying with the University of Maryland in College Park, the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania and the University of Washington.
Florida International University, based in Miami, tied for 95th place among public universities and for the 187th place nationally.
The University of South Florida in Tampa tied on No. 103 nationally. It tied for the No. 46 spot in the public schools list.
The University of Central Florida in Orlando tied for the 77th spot among public schools and for 160th among national schools.
Florida A&M University maintained its spot as the highest-ranked historically black public school in the country, at an overall ranking of No. 117.
The top five national universities were Princeton, Harvard, Columbia and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Yale, which tied.
How do they come up with the rankings?
The U.S. News & World Report, a media company, has been ranking universities and colleges globally since the early 1980s. This year, it ranked about 1,400 schools on 17 “indicators of academic quality,” examined with pre-pandemic data.
According to a press release, the company used new aspects in the methodology used for its Best Colleges list, including the fact that the rankings now cover schools that don’t use SAT or ACT scores in their admissions process.
The rankings now measure student debt as well, specifically the average amount of accumulated federal loan debt among full-time undergraduate borrowers at graduation and the percentage of full-time undergraduates in a graduating class who used federal loans.