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News Clips 12/10/2012
FSU tops list of most efficient universities
Source: Tallahassee Democrat, 12/8/12
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By Doug Blackburn
One of Eric Barron’s frequent points of emphasis is Florida State’s ability to make maximum use of a dollar.
FSU’s president has pointed repeatedly in recent months to the latest national rankings, which saw FSU climb to 97th place (from 101st) in the country among all public and private universities, while slipping from 204th to 212th in funding.
Barron’s message received a noteworthy endorsement this week as US News listed FSU atop its latest list of universities that operate most efficiently, spending $17,731 per student — almost three grand less than No. 2 Brigham Young University ($20,441).
“It’s an amazing compliment to how the university runs itself and what our faculty does to deliver for our students,” Barron said. “Can you imagine what we would do with an extra dollar?We would put it to good use.”
Florida Gov. Rick Scott last month addressed the Board of Governors, the body overseeing the state’s public universities, and repeated his desire for a more-efficient, less-expensive higher education system, using the phrase “return on investment” numerous times.
A spokeswoman for Scott congratulated FSU on the distinction from the magazine and reiterated his commitment to keeping higher education affordable for Florida families.
Barron said he hopes the governor is impressed with how US News has ranked FSU for operating efficiently.
FSU has managed to not let dramatic decreases in state support — state appropriations to general operating budgets have been cut by almost 40 percent during the past six years, more than $110 million at FSU — keep it from improving its national rankings. US News earlier this year ranked FSU No. 42 in the nation among public universities, up from 46 in 2011.
Florida State University was the only institution in Florida listed in the latest US Newsranking of top universities that operate most efficiently. Rounding out the top five were University of Miami-Ohio ($19,091), University of Alabama ($20,288) and College of William and Mary ($27,572).
The new list is based on operating efficiency, defined as a school's 2011 fiscal year financial resources per student divided by its overall score (the basis US News uses to determine its overall numerical rank) in the 2013 Best Colleges rankings.
According to the authors of the report, the less a school spends relative to its national ranking determines how efficient it is, compared to its peers.
“Apparently there’s no other institution in the country that can put a dollar to good use like we can,” Barron said.