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Florida State, Florida A&M Make Gains In Latest U.S. News & World Report Rankings

Florida A&M University and Florida State University have moved up a few slots in U.S. News and World Reports rankings of best colleges and universities. These ratings carry the most weight for schools.

Florida State University moved up five spaces to become the 38th best public institution according to U.S. News and World report. It’s 92nd when private schools are counted.  Florida A&M University claims the number 1 spot for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and is 7th among HBCU’s when the private schools are added. U.S. News and World report is considered the gold standard when it comes to college and university rankings, says American Institutes for Research Vice President Mark Schneider.

“This is the one that’s the most commonly cited. It’s the granddaddy of them. Everyone wants to be at the top of the list because it gets them more applications, bragging rights and things like that.”

But in Florida there’s more than bragging rights on the line. Ratings also play a role in determining whether the state’s public universities receive additional state funding—or lose it. But the number behind the school doesn’t tell the whole story.

Jumps up and down the rating system don't necessarily mean schools are doing better or worse. According to U.S. News and World Report, it could signal changes in the how schools are rated, or changes in how other schools performed. A numerical rating is only applied for the top 75 percent of institutions--meaning, not every school gets a public score. And data is self-reported to U.S. News and World report through a questionnaire. The publisher double-checks the data through public sites, like the National Center for Education Statistics.

AIR's Schneider says for people college-shopping, it may be more beneficial to drill down to the program level, and look for what salaries are for new grads. After all, he says, that’s ultimately why most people are going to college.

Here's how other Florida schools fared:

  • University of Miami #44
  • University of Florida #50
  • Florida State University #92
  • University of South Florida #159
  • Florida Institute of Technology #171
  • University of Central Florida #176
  • Nova Southeastern University #214