Academic excellence fuels FSU’s recognition as Top 20 public university

Fueled by a steadfast commitment to student success and academic excellence, Florida State University continued its reign as a Top 20 national public university, according to U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges 2022-2023” guidebook released Monday.

Florida State reaffirmed its No. 19 spot in the rankings, appearing in the Top 20 for the fourth consecutive year. The university also held steady at No. 55 among all national universities, both public and private, and ranked as the No. 8 Best Value College among public institutions.

“These rankings reflect total excellence across the university,” said President Richard McCullough. “We’re competing at the highest levels with the best universities in the world, and our goal is to continue to rise to the Top 15 and beyond.”

Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Jim Clark credited the perseverance and resilience of the campus community for continuing to strive for excellence despite the challenges of the past few years.

“Florida State University’s recognition as a Top 20 public university is a result of the unwavering commitment by our faculty, staff and students who have worked tirelessly to firmly establish us as one of the nation’s top institutions,” Clark said. “There are hundreds of people on our campus who work every day on particular types of issues and challenges in order to reach this kind of achievement.”

Florida State’s stellar graduation and freshman retention rates continue to power the university’s standing among the nation’s best. FSU placed No. 18 among publics in the metric, rising six spots from a year ago.

“These rankings reflect total excellence across the university. We’re competing at the highest levels with the best universities in the world, and our goal is to continue to rise to the Top 15 and beyond.”

— Richard McCullough, FSU President

The university also maintained its Top 20 ranking in graduation rate performance at No. 19 among public universities. This measure compares actual graduation rate and predicted rate, which U.S. News calculates based on the university’s resources and student profile.

“We’ve done a lot of great things when it comes to student success, and we’re continuing to invest a lot of resources in these areas,” McCullough said. “Our faculty and staff are dedicated to making sure every student who comes to Florida State has a chance to graduate, regardless of their background, and we’re very proud of that.”

FSU posted its highest-ever score in the peer assessment metric, which carries a weight of 20% in the U.S. News scoring methodology — evidence that the needle is moving in terms of the university’s national reputation.


“Our peers are realizing Florida State University is a place seriously on the move — wanting to move toward AAU membership, wanting to double our research expenditures — and striving for excellence and high levels of achievement,” Clark said. “As our national reputation increases in this positive way, prospective faculty take notice, students from around the country see this, and high school counselors put us on their list of great universities students should consider. All of this lends itself to allowing the world to see Florida State University for the amazing place it is.”

Florida State continued to shine in several key metrics considered in the publication’s methodology, including faculty resources, student selectivity and alumni giving. FSU climbed two spots to No. 4 among public universities in the faculty resources metric, which considers the percentage of full-time faculty, percentage of faculty with a terminal degree, class size, faculty salary and student-faculty ratio.

Notably, Florida State improved to No. 23 among publics in U.S. News’ graduate indebtedness ranking, which measures the average federal loan debt of graduates and the percentage of graduates who took out federal loans. The two-year average for graduate debt decreased $912 from the previous period, while the percentage of graduates who took out federal loans declined from 43% to 38%.

“Florida State University’s recognition as a Top 20 public university is a result of the unwavering commitment by our faculty, staff and students who have worked tirelessly to firmly establish us as one of the nation’s top institutions.”

— Jim Clark, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

U.S. News also recognized the university for providing a top-quality education at an affordable price, ranking FSU the No. 8 Best Value College in the nation among public universities and the highest among the state universities in Florida.

“People talk about affordability and access in higher education all the time, but we actually deliver,” McCullough said. “Our tuition is among the lowest in the nation, and we work really hard at the individual student level to provide scholarships rather than have students take loans.”

FSU is tied with the University of Maryland-College Park, the University of Washington and Rutgers University-New Brunswick on the list of top public institutions. In the rankings of all national universities, which includes private institutions, FSU shares the No. 55 spot with Pepperdine University, Santa Clara University and the University of Miami.

Also included in the U.S. News Best Colleges guidebook were undergraduate business and nursing program rankings, which were based solely on peer assessments.

The College of Business’ Dr. William T. Hold/The National Alliance Program in Risk Management and Insurance ranked No. 3 among all schools, and the real estate program maintained its No. 5 ranking among public schools. The college also earned a No. 20 ranking among public schools in marketing, while accounting moved up three spots to No. 21.

“We continue to place well in extremely competitive fields,” said Michael Hartline, dean of the College of Business. “We expect even greater achievements ahead and look forward to the heightened visibility our new showcase facility will provide.”

Next month, the College of Business breaks ground on Legacy Hall, its new $120 million home, which will be FSU’s largest academic space to date and part of the university’s developing southeast gateway to campus.

Florida State’s nursing undergraduate program soared 29 spots to No. 67 overall and 23 places to No. 48 among public universities, which may be attributed to the university’s investments in the program. The College of Nursing recently expanded its undergraduate enrollment to help meet the demand for highly trained nurses in Florida.

“We are so excited to see our undergraduate program rising fast in the national rankings,” said Jing Wang, dean of the College of Nursing. “This is a testament to the tireless work of our students, faculty and staff and the culture of excellence we have built together. It’s an incredible honor for our college, and I am confident we will continue to climb higher in the future.”

U.S. News & World Report’s national universities category comprises 443 institutions (227 public, 211 private and five for-profit) based on the The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The publication determines its national university rankings based on these factors: graduation and retention rates (22 percent); undergraduate academic reputation, i.e., peer assessment (20 percent); faculty resources (20 percent); financial resources per student (10 percent); graduation rate performance (8 percent); student selectivity (7 percent); social mobility (5 percent); graduate indebtedness (5 percent); and alumni giving (3 percent).