Florida State University has accomplished a major milestone. It’s broken into U.S. News & World Report’s “Top 25” list of public colleges and universities, coming in at the number 18 spot.
Last year, FSU was ranked 26th, and the jump to 18 represents the biggest single-year improvement in school history. The ranking will appear in U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges 2020” guidebook.
The designation comes after several years and tens of millions of dollars in additional state funding.
“The Florida Legislature believed in us, and they believed in our plan to get there,” FSU President John Thrasher said in a press release announcing the milestone. “They asked us to be a Top 25 university — we’re now a Top 20 university. I think they’ll be pleased with the results, and I hope it will give them impetus to help us continue this success.”
Since 2016, FSU has climbed more than 30 spots, aided by the state’s “pre-eminence” designation granted to both the University of Florida and FSU in 2013. That designation has come with hundreds of millions of dollars in additional state funding for the schools to use to help them climb in national rankings. The universities have used that money to raise the salaries of and hire additional faculty, boost research programs, and invest in student retention and graduation.
“We know from the national data that one of the most important things for long-lasting lifetime success and sense of well-being for college graduates is to have had a positive mentoring relationship with a faculty member,” Sally McRorie, FSU’s provost, said. “We know that in our smaller classes our students learn better, and our faculty have a better opportunity to have an impact on those students.”
That additional state funding has also been controversial with critics noting the state’s performance-based bonus program disadvantages smaller schools and those that serve larger numbers of minority or low-income students. Some lawmakers have also pushed for changes to the program.
FSU now joins the University of Florida on the “Top 25” list, and shares its spot with Penn State University, Purdue University and the University of Pittsburgh.
Among all national universities, including private ones, FSU is ranked 57th, up from 70th last year.