The University of Central Florida jumped five spots to No. 171 among national universities in the 2018 rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

The Orlando-based college with an undergraduate enrollment of 55,776 was ranked 176th last year. It was No. 90 on the public university list.

UCF also ranked No. 25 in the Most Innovative Schools category. College presidents, provosts and admissions deans were asked to nominate up to 10 colleges or universities that are making the most innovative improvements in  curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.

The annual rankings help prospective students and their families research more than 1,800 U.S. universities.

UCF wasn’t the only Florida university to see improvement.

The University of Florida reached the top 10 of public universities for the first time, ranking No. 9.

Florida State University ranks No. 33, an improvement of 10 spots over the past two years.

The University of South Florida saw the greatest improvement, rising 15 spots among public universities to No. 68 and 19 places to No. 140 among national universities, which includes public and private institutions.

The improved Florida rankings bode well for state funding, which is tied to performance standards, developed by the university system’s Board of Governors, including measuring graduation and student-retention rates, which are key metrics for the popular rankings.

The U.S. News rankings are based on academic excellence, with schools evaluated on hundreds of data points and up to 15 measures of academic quality. Graduation and freshman retention rates carry the most weight at 30 percent.

“Before taking out student loans or writing a tuition check, families should research graduation and retention rates,” said Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer of U.S. News. “These are important indicators of how well a school supports its students both academically and financially,”

Princeton University is No. 1 for Best National Universities for the seventh year in a row. For the 15th consecutive year, Williams College takes the top spot for Best National Liberal Arts Colleges.

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