Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced that U.S. News & World Report has named Florida the top state in the country for higher education. This is the third year in a row Florida’s higher education system has earned the top ranking, reflecting the emphasis that elected leaders have placed on student success and affordability.
“It is no surprise that U.S. News & World Report has again named Florida the top state in the nation for higher education,” said Governor DeSantis. “Our state colleges and universities have prioritized affordability and pathways for career and life and, as a result, they are transforming our state. I look forward to celebrating continued success as we build on this positive momentum.”
Metrics considered by U.S. News & World Report include the share of Floridians holding college degrees, the time it takes students to complete both two- and four-year college programs, the cost of in-state tuition and fees, and the burden of debt that college graduates carry.
The State University System recently announced a 9.5 percent five-year increase in graduation rates as well as a 31 percent year-over-year drop in the cost-to-the-student for a bachelor’s degree. Due to support from elected leaders as well as initiatives that drive down costs, the average State University System student pays $9,450 for a bachelor’s degree once financial aid is included. U.S. News & World Report also ranks five State University System institutions within the top 100 public universities nationally. Results are largely driven by the State University System’s Performance-Based Funding Model, implemented in 2014.
“Our 12 public universities are all extremely focused on student success, increasing quality, and driving down cost,” said Ned Lautenbach, chair of the Board of Governors, which oversees the State University System. “They also work closely with the Florida College System to make sure students experience a seamless transition when moving from a college to university level.”
Florida’s 28 state colleges are the primary point of access to higher education in Florida, with 65 percent of the state’s high school graduates pursuing postsecondary education beginning at a Florida college, and 82 percent of freshman and sophomore minority students in public higher education attending one of Florida’s 28 colleges.
In addition to U.S. News & World Report’s recognition, for five consecutive years, Florida’s College System have had multiple institutions as winners or finalists in the Aspen Prize for College Excellence.
“With great credit going to Florida’s 28 Colleges that offer nearly 1 million Floridians outstanding higher education pathways, Florida is again recognized as #1 in the nation for third year in a row,” said Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran. “Florida has long been known as the Sunshine State, and it’s now time that the nation recognize Florida also as the clearly established Education State.”