USF sees gains in rankings, grants

Recently released studies have increased USF’s rankings among national public universities. USF moved up a category to the third tier in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of America’s Best Colleges and was named one of the nation’s top 63 research universities by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

USF will also receive $310.2 million in external research grants this year, a $22.9-million increase from last year.

“For us to get our numbers up basically means that we have a really great faculty who are succeeding at a very competitive level,” USF Provost Renu Khator said.

This puts USF second among public universities in Florida in external research grants, after University of Florida.

The money comes from different federal and state funding agencies such as the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health, the U.S. Department of Education, Florida Department of Education and the Department of Defense.

In order to get these external funds, faculty members must write and present their research plans and submit fiscal estimates. Agencies evaluate these proposals and award grants accordingly.

The College of Medicine will receive the most, collecting nearly $147 million. The Florida Mental Health Institute will receive approximately $30 million, the College of Arts and Sciences approximately $21 million and the College of Engineering $27 million.

According to Khator, America’s Best Colleges helps attract students and their parents, while the Carnegie Foundation attracts professors.

“Our interest is to bring here the very best cutting-edge faculty members because they are the ones who are going to give you the very best cutting-edge education,” Khator said.

Among other USF standings this year, the Princeton Review rated USF as one of the best value colleges in the nation.

The University’s increase in rankings came from its research reputation, a rise in graduation rates, a rise in the percentage of a full-time faculty and a rise in the standards of freshman admittance, Vice Provost Ralph Wilcox said.

“We are attracting more and more top quality undergraduate students. It’s not as easy to get into USF today as it was just four years ago,” Wilcox said.

In 2001, 74 percent of all undergraduate applicants were admitted into USF. This fall, 51 percent of all undergraduate applicants were admitted. USF is looking for students who not only have good SAT scores and high grade point averages, but also for those who challenged themselves in high school with AP courses and honors classes, Wilcox said.

“We’re seeing increases across the board, and we are moving in the right direction,” Wilcox said.