TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Florida State University is celebrating today. The school cracked the top 20 in a ranking for national public universities.
FSU landed at number 18 on the list in the latest U.S. News & World Report.
FSU jumped eight spots in national public universities in the past year. And now the school is hoping to use the ranking as a jumping-off point to get more funding during the next legislative session.
"I don't believe there's any limits for Florida State University, I believe we can still reach for the stars," said FSU President John Thrasher.
FSU leaders say they've done everything possible to boost the quality of the university, hiring 125 new faculty to improve class size and research, raising the graduation rate and boosting the student-to-staff ratio 21-to-one.
"I can't begin to explain everything that FSU has done for me," said Sammie Kunin, first-year law student at FSU. "Personally, they have not only guided me through my four year experience through classes acclimating to a new environment, guiding me through fellowship applications and now they're guiding me through law school."
Kunin hopes the new ranking will bring in the money to expand departments, lower textbook prices or even bring in more scholarship funding.
"Make leaps and bounds happen for Florida State University," said Kunin. "We already know this is a place where we want to to be but hopefully this can be an indicator to families and students that there really is no better choice for you that you can get."
And that student experience is what administrators say they're going to continue to focus on.
"We need to focus on the things that are important, and the rest of it comes together," said Thrasher. "It wasn't the number we were chasing, I promise you that."
FSU shares the number 18 spot with three other public universities: Penn State, Purdue and the University of Pittsburgh.
Florida State University is among America's top 20 public universities, soaring to the No. 18 spot for the greatest single-year improvement in the university's history according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 college rankings.
Last year, FSU ranked No. 26 among public universities. In this latest report, the university has well exceeded its goal of joining the Top 25.
“It’s an incredible accomplishment for Florida State University,” said President John Thrasher. “The credit goes to so many people — our faculty, our staff, and certainly, our great students. I couldn’t be prouder.”
A number of factors such as improvements in graduation rates, improving student-faculty ratio to 21-to-1, and hiring 125 new full-time faculty members contributed to FSU’s ranking. FSU’s average six-year graduation rate increased to 80.5 percent, up 3 percentage points in three years.
FSU also outperformed its predicted graduation rate by 13 percentage points.
“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,” Provost Sally McRorie 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.”
Florida State’s four-year graduation rate of 72 percent ranks among the Top 10 public universities in the country and is No. 1 in Florida.
“You can talk about student success but to achieve a four-year graduation rate that is the best in the state of Florida and one of the best in America, you have to use your resources for counseling, for advisers, for giving students the opportunity to understand the right pathway to get their degree in four years,” Thrasher said. “Sally McRorie and her team have done that.”
Among all national universities, including private universities, FSU ranked 57th, up from 70th last year.
U.S. News & World Report determines its national university rankings based on these factors: graduation and retention rates (22 percent); expert opinion, i.e. peer assessment (20 percent); faculty resources (20 percent); student excellence (10 percent); financial resources (10 percent); graduation rate performance (8 percent); social mobility (5 percent); and alumni giving (5 percent).