The Wall Street Journal ranked the University of Florida the No. 1 public university nationwide in its “2024 Best Colleges in the U.S.” report released on Wednesday.
The Wall Street Journal has published U.S. college rankings since 2016 and improved its methodology by working with research partners Statista and College Pulse, according to the press release, focusing on the importance of real-world student outcomes.
The new formula focuses on how much a school improves its students’ chances of graduating on time along with how much it boosts the salaries that students earn following graduation.
“The University of Florida dared to be audacious, and we’ve succeeded – for our students and for our state,” said UF Board of Trustees Chair Mori Hosseini in a press release. “I’ve always believed that giving our students an amazing education and sending them out into the world with the tools they need to succeed is our No. 1 job. Now we’ve been recognized as being No. 1 for doing that. The people of the great state of Florida can take great pride in knowing that their tax dollars are well spent at the University of Florida. The best is yet to come.”
According to the release, the WSJ rankings “factored in the cost of attendance against salary performance when considering student outcomes. The calculation divided the estimated total net price for four years of attendance at a college by the median salary of its graduates over and above that of high school graduates in the state where the college was located.”
The result was an estimate of how quickly the salary boost attributable to college attendance paid for the cost of college.
“The University of Florida has done incredible things, and we’re not slowing down,” said UF President Ben Sasse in a press release. “We are committed to providing an elite education that is radically practical. Graduating young men and women who are prepared for success in life may be the single most important thing we do as a university, and to be recognized as the best public university in the country is a huge honor. That goes right to the heart of what a public, land-grant, flagship institution like UF should be doing and what the state of Florida has entrusted us with. Go Gators!”
In the release, “College scores in this particular ranking were based on three factors: student outcomes (accounting for 70%), the learning environment (20%), and diversity (10%).”
UF was the top public university, following 15 private colleges led by Princeton University in the rankings.
“So much of our university’s reputation comes down to our post-graduation student outcomes and the kind of leaders we are producing,” Sasse said. “UF alumni are changing the world.”
For the past two years, the U.S. News & World Report ranked UF at No. 5 as one of the nation’s top public research universities.