The University of Central Florida reached another critical “first” this week, tying for the top spot in state performance measures that include graduation rates and graduates’ employment and wages.

UCF is the only university ranked in the top three during all four years that performance-based funding has been awarded.

The Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the State University System, released the performance funding achievements of the state’s public universities today. UCF tied for first place with Florida Atlantic University.

“This ranking showcases the outstanding work UCF is doing to better educate students and prepare them for jobs,” said UCF Provost and Executive Vice President Dale Whittaker. “The additional funds the Board of Governors, Legislature and Governor Rick Scott provide us will be invested in further strengthening our academic efforts.”

Last year, UCF earned $14.7 million in new performance funding, which it is using to hire 100 new faculty positions in high-demand areas, develop new interdisciplinary faculty teams in areas of strategic emphasis for the university and support special hiring programs that recognize inclusive excellence and provide resources to enhance UCF’s recruitment of nationally or internationally recognized scholars.

UCF hired an additional 100 faculty members the previous year, as well, and will increase the number of tenured and tenure-track positions by 25 percent over three years.

UCF also is using last year’s performance funding to implement new student success programs based on predictive analytics. These programs will use student data to help identify which students are struggling so that academic advisers can reach out to those students and offer them services, from tutoring and counseling to help applying for financial aid.

The performance funding model from the Board of Governors rewards universities based on their performance on 10 metrics critical to students, families and taxpayers – from student retention rates to the cost per degree awarded.

Earlier this week, UCF was named the best graduate video game school in North America by The Princeton Review and PC Gamer. The Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy, an anchor of UCF’s downtown campus, achieved its first No. 1 ranking after two years as the second-ranked school in North America. And today, U.S. News and World Report ranked 20 UCF graduate programs in the top 100 nationally.

“UCF certainly is making a name for itself on the national stage – and that’s because of the dedication and extraordinary achievements of our faculty, staff and students,” Whittaker said.