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Students react to FAMU rising, FSU dropping in public school rankings

FAMU rose into the top 100 public schools while FSU fell out of the top 20, causing some differing opinions on the relevance of the rankings.
Students react to FAMU rising, FSU dropping in public school rankings
Posted at 6:53 PM, Sep 18, 2023
  • FAMU rose 13 spots into the top 100, FSU fell four spots to 23 in the U.S. News and World Report Top Public Schools.
  • The rankings are using a new method after years of receiving criticism of appearing biased toward private schools.
  • Watch now to hear from students at each school about what they think of the rankings.


Tallahassee is now home to two top 100 public universities, but they have quite different feelings about it.

I'm Alberto Camargo, your Collegetown neighborhood reporter. FAMU climbed into the top 100 public schools, according to U.S. News and World Report's rankings. It remains the top public HBCU and rose to number 3 HBCU overall.

There are a lot of reasons students may choose one college or university over another. Here at Florida A&M.

"Not only are we pushing Black excellence, but I am a Rattler. So it hits different."

Second year business major Jaiel Joseph tells me FAMU being the top HBCU in Florida was the biggest factor in his choice.

"It did take a big accountability in me choosing this college, because it is the number 1 HBCU."

FAMU recently rose to number 91, among the U.S News & World Report Top Public National Universities. With that new status, the highest of seven hills could appeal to even more students.

"I have my cousin that attends Miami Northwestern (High School) and he has a 4.0 GPA. He's choosing Ivy League schools, but he does want to come to FAMU because he does want to bring the black excellence on another level."

The U.S News and World Report college rankings have been the standard for decades, for better and worse. The lists have been criticized by institutions for favoring private schools and wealthy students. Regardless of ranking, FAMU President, Dr. Larry Robinson, says the current numbers are a good sign.

"We've had record years of students applying to the university anyway. You know, this year over 10,000 more than the previous year, an 86% increase."

In the new report, FAMU was one of the biggest movers, rising 12 spots to crack the top 100. Robinson says he's most proud of FAMU's improvement in Social Mobility rankings, which looks at a school's ability to improve the economic potential of students.

There's plenty of pride for the rankings at FAMU...

But when it comes to Florida State, you have to look a little deeper to see improvement. FSU actually fell four spots in the public school rankings, dropping out of the top 20.

FSU says they had been in the top 20 for four straight years, but it took a hit with U.S. News' new formula that no longer factors in class size and alumni giving rates, which FSU used to score well in. Despite falling, FSU continues to improve in social mobility and grad rates of first-generation students, two factors that hold more weight in the new formula. FSU student Tyler Backus says he was aware of the school's top-20 status when he chose to attend FSU, but did not pay much attention to it.

"That did not affect my decision to come here. I knew about that previously, but I didn't even give that like a thought when I was deciding. I care more about actually the feel, the aesthetic of the campus, and the people that are here."

On the FSU newsroom website, FSU president Richard McCollough says he believes the university is better today than it has ever been, a belief that he says is supported by hard data.

FSU says it remains focused on the improvements it made in other rankings, like moving up two spots to number 51 in the overall national rankings that includes both public and private schools.