The Ledger - August 18, 2007
Florida Southern Claims High Perch in Rankings
By MATTHEW PLEASANT
Special to The Ledger
LAKELAND | U.S. News & World Report
released its annual best-college rankings Friday and despite a
number of schools' refusal to take part in the survey, local
colleges continue to participate - and are climbing in the ranks.
If they do well, colleges often use their ranking to lure potential
students, even advertising their scores on their Web site.
One school that likes to boast of its high ranking is Florida
Southern College, which climbed three places this year to the fifth
spot in the Best Baccalaureate Colleges in the South.
The school is just behind John Brown University in Arkansas in the
rankings. Another Arkansas school, Ouachita Baptist University, tops
the rankings for Southern baccalaureate schools. Southeastern
University was listed in the fourth tier in this category.
The magazine judges schools on several criteria, such as SAT scores,
graduation rates, and percentage of full-time faculty members.
Florida Southern College went up in five categories: peer
assessment, SAT scores of entering students, freshman acceptance
rate, percentage of alumni who donate money to the school, and
percentage of freshman who graduate in the top 25 percent of their
high school class.
"In the last two years we've received the largest number of
applicants in the history of the college," said Lee Mayhall, Florida
Southern's vice president of college relations. "We've also accepted
the lowest percentage of applicants in that same time."
For the 2007-08 school year, FSC received 2,565 applicants, of which
1,496 were accepted, Mayhall said. The school has also seen a
36-point increase in the SAT scores of entering freshman in the last
The average SAT score for this year's class is 1072.
The school's freshman retention rate dropped from last year's 71
percent to 69 percent in 2007.
But a higher percentage of alumni donated money to the school, the
survey found, increasing to 17 percent from last year's 12 percent.
The schools provide the information to the magazine.
FSC also made the magazine's "Best Value" list, schools noted for
high academic performance and low tuition costs.
The school moved to fourth place, edging out Alderson-Broaddus
College in West Virginia.
Fifty-eight percent of FSC students receive grants or scholarships
based on need, the survey states, bringing the average student's
tuition to $16,849.
Rollins College in Winter Park rank first for Southern schools with
In the top tier of the national university category the University
of Florida ranked 49th, the University of Miami, 52, and Florida
State University, 112th.
The University of Central Florida and the University of South
Florida had third-tier rankings in the same category.
Princeton University topped the magazine's list of national schools,
with Harvard University in second place.
A number of educators have criticized the magazine's rankings as
unfair and arbitrary.
Though 62 schools organized this year to protest the rankings, many
of the top-rated schools continue to use the rankings to bolster