By Gerard Albert/ Editor-in-Chief
For the third year in a row, Florida is ranked first in the nation for higher education according to a report released on Tuesday.
The U.S. News and World Report based rankings off metrics – including the shares of citizens in each state holding a college degree, as well as the time it takes students to complete both two- and four-year college programs.
Additional measures included the cost of in-state tuition and fees, and the burden of debt that college graduates carry.
FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg credited the ranking to the Board of Governors working with members from state universities to improve performance.
“They have placed a priority on quality,” Rosenberg said. “That has enabled each of the universities in the system to improve and to be rewarded for their improvement.”
FIU is tied for the 100th rank in the nation for public universities and 187th in the nation for public and private universities alongside Georgia State, Texas Tech and University of New Mexico.
President Rosenberg has ambitious plans for FIU, aiming at a top 50 spot for public universities in the nation. The metrics US News and World Report use for their rankings are similar to the metrics the state of Florida uses to measure university’s performance, including four-year graduation rate.
FIU’s students are often commuters, working other jobs, raising children or the first in their family to go to college, and Rosenberg said faculty are working to help these students graduate in four years.
“We are accepting the notion that four years is still a valuable benchmark, and we want to show the world that we can do that,” Rosenberg said.
Florida is home to three universities in the top 100 for public and private, UF (35th), UM (53rd) and FSU (70th).
Florida ranked second in tuition and fees and two-year graduation rate but 27th in educational attainment, which measures the amount of people 25 and older who hold an Associates Degree or higher.
Governor Ron DeSantis also said the ranking did not come as a surprise because of the state system focusing on affordability.
“It is no surprise that U.S. News & World Report has again named Florida the top state in the nation for higher education,” said Governor DeSantis in a press release. “Our state colleges and universities have prioritized affordability and pathways for career and life and, as a result, they are transforming our state.”