National study ranks UF first among Florida colleges
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida ranks first among Florida universities for what students want from a college education, according to a recent study by Forbes magazine and the Washington, D.C.-based Center for College Affordability and Productivity.
Twenty-one Florida schools appeared on the Forbes/CCAP ranking, which accounted for issues that mattered most to students: quality of teaching, competitive awards, four-year graduation rates, low post-college debt and career opportunities afforded from the education.
Among the 629 private and public U.S. colleges assessed, UF ranked within the top 15 percent of schools and was the only university in Florida listed in that bracket. The University of Miami and New College rank second and third in the state for what students sought from higher education.
The Forbes/CCAP did not make determinations on the reputation or selectivity of the school, nor did the study measure for how tuition and tax dollars were spent to foster education. Rather, Forbes/CCAP assessed quality of teaching by aggregating data from RateMyProfessors.com, an online service that allows students to anonymously rate their professors.
The team at Forbes/CCAP also used survey results from PayScale.com to determine how salaries of alumni increased over time. Students indicated that the price of a school was just as important as the quality, and the study measured student loan debt load, default rates, and percentages of students taking federal loans. In a 2011 study, Payscale.com places UF in the No. 6 spot for top universities that offer the best return on investment for undergraduate education.
SmartMoney magazine’s 2011 list of colleges and universities ranks UF third among schools nationwide that help graduates get top salaries. This year, UF was No. 2 in Kiplinger’s “Best Values in Public Colleges.”
Florida schools as they are ranked by Forbes/CCAP:
132: University of Miami
189: New College
207: Rollins College
266: Eckerd College
336: Stetson University
427: University of North Florida
449: University of South Florida
453: Florida Institute of Technology
455: Florida Southern College
462: University of Central Florida
465: The University of Tampa
490: Florida Atlantic University
520: Florida International University
539: Embry Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona Beach
550: Lynn University
585: Barry University
603: The University of West Florida
604: Nova Southeastern University
629: Florida A&M University