At the end of each summer, the Washington Monthly releases annual rankings of universities and community colleges. Their rankings are focused on higher education institutions that provide value, serve the public good and transform the lives of poor families and first-generation college students.  “Instead of lauding colleges for closing their doors to all but an elite few, we give high marks to institutions that enroll low-income students, help them graduate and don’t charge them an arm and a leg to attend,” say the magazine editors.

Florida is home to five of the nation’s best community colleges

In its ranking of the best American community colleges, North Florida Community College in tiny Madison, Fla. was rated second in the nation, outflanked only by Saint Paul College in Minnesota. “Our strong commitment to  educating students from all walks of life is reflected in these rankings.  I could not be more proud of our college and its dedicated faculty and staff,” said NFCC President John Grosskopf to the Sunshine State News.

The Florida College System also had four other of its institutions break the list’s top 50.  They include Chipola College in the Panhandle’s Jackson County, ranked 14th.  Miami-Dade College placed at 28th. In Orlando, Valencia College placed 36th and South Florida State College, serving DeSoto, Highlands and Hardee counties, capped the list at spot number 50.  For a full list of rankings, click here.

Bang for your Buck? Florida universities provide it.

The magazine also compiles a list of America’s Best Bang for the Buck Colleges, a list of schools, “that help nonwealthy students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices.”  Three Florida universities made their top 25, with the University of Florida ranked at number 5 and Florida State University placing 20th. The University of Central Florida, ranked at number 22, received its own editorial feature as a standout college. With a student growth rate of 60 percent, UCF has become the second-largest university in the U.S. while maintaining an actual grad rate of 63% and a low net tuition price of $8,825 a year. Magazine writers also cited UCF’s array of dedicated programs that support minorities and first-generation students that have led to an impressive grad rate for Latino and African American students.

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