UF online programs place among top 10 in latest U.S. News rankings
Two online programs at the University of Florida are among the top 10 nationally in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings.
Of particular note, UF ranked fifth in the Best Online Bachelor's Programs category, a meteoric rise from No. 34 in 2013. For 2014, UF ranked first in the state among public universities and tied with private Embry Riddle Aeronautical University.
Factors considered in calculating the bachelor's programs rankings were student engagement (40 percent), faculty credentials and training (20 percent), peer reputation (20 percent), and student services and technology (20 percent).
Andy McCollough, UF associate provost for teaching and technology, credited the rise in part to the fact that this year marks the first time U.S. News included peer reputation in the methodology it uses to create the online bachelor's program rankings.
"We enjoy an excellent reputation among our peers and industry," McCollough said, adding that the Florida Legislature recognized UF's strong record in online education when it tasked UF last year with creating UF Online, the first fully online, four-year bachelor's degrees at a public university in Florida and the first among leading public research universities nationwide.
UF Online launched with 600 transfer and completing students and five degrees: business administration, criminology and law, environmental management, health education and behavior, and sport management. Two more degrees, psychology and biology, will be added this summer.
The first freshman UF Online classes will begin in fall 2014. UF Online students must meet the same admission requirements as traditional students. Tuition for UF Online students is 75 percent of standard tuition.
The latest U.S. News ranking, McCollough said, "is affirmation that we deliver excellence in online education."
UF also placed third for Best Online Graduate Business Programs, up from No. 4 in 2013. The only other Florida public university on the list was Florida International, which placed 27th in a tie with the University of South Dakota and West Texas A&M.
Factors used to calculate the business programs rankings were student engagement (33 percent), admissions selectivity, (20 percent), peer reputation (20 percent), faculty credentials and training (13.5 percent), and student services and technology (13.5 percent).
"This reflects our unique presence in the delivery of high-quality online education at the MBA level as well as in the undergraduate, master's and doctoral levels," said John Kraft, dean of the Warrington College of Business Administration. "It is a reflection of our outstanding faculty, staff and students."