Only two universities in Florida are listed in the cream-of-the-crop national universities rankings

University of Florida
University of Florida campus. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The public University of Florida and private University of Miami are the only universities in the state that made it into a cream-of-the-crop list of 50 national universities —  those with expansive undergraduate and graduate programs and big research budgets.

The 2021 rankings released Monday by U.S. News and World Report showed UF in Gainesville ranked 30, tied with New York University, Tufts University and University of California — Santa Barbara.

Miami, in Coral Gables, squeezed into the 50-list at a ranking of 49, tied with Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, Northeastern University in Boston and Pepperdine University in California.

The national universities category included 389 schools.

The public Florida State University came in at a ranking of 58, which means the school wasn’t in the top 50 list, but made it to the top 100 in the category of national universities.

University of South Florida, also public, got a ranking of 103, just outside of the top 100 list.

For some taxpayers, families and college-going kids, the rankings do matter.

School counselors, parents and kids sift through those rankings to help make choices on where students can get admitted and whether a college is affordable, among other issues.

The Ivy League universities are typically at the top of the national universities list. And this year, the top three national universities in 2021 are Princeton, Harvard, and Columbia University in New York, all in the Ivy League.

Of 223 schools in a separate category of national liberal arts colleges, only New College of Florida, a public institution in Sarasota, made it into the top 100 list, ranked at 84.

Diane Rado
Diane Rado has covered state and local government and public schools in six states over some 30 years, focusing on policy and investigative stories as well as legislative and political reporting. She spent most of her career at the St. Petersburg (Tampa Bay) Times and the Chicago Tribune. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and did a fellowship in education reform at the University of Michigan in 1999-2000. She is married to a journalist and has three adult children.