The University of Central Florida is one of America’s most innovative schools and a rising leader in social mobility, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 Best Colleges Rankings.

Within the publication’s Most Innovative Schools category, UCF is the top-ranked public university in Florida. The university is eighth among the nation’s public colleges and universities and 15th overall, ahead of several Ivy League universities, including Harvard and Yale. This is the fourth consecutive year UCF has ranked in the top 20.

In the Top Performers on Social Mobility category, UCF ranked No. 51 in the nation. In the last two years, UCF’s ranking for social mobility has risen 19 spots, up from 62nd in 2021 and 70th in 2020.

For overall academic excellence, UCF is tied for 67th among public national institutions and 148th amongst all colleges and universities in the nation. UCF is one of only three universities to improve its national ranking each of the last five years. This year’s rankings represent a 10 and 12 spot rise from 2021’s 77th (public universities) and 160th (overall) placements, respectively.

Additionally, UCF was named prominently in the following national categories:

The 2022 Best Colleges Rankings are the latest notable acknowledgment of UCF from U.S. News & World Report. In March, 30 UCF graduate programs and areas were recognized in the publication’s 2022 Best Graduate Schools rankings. In January, the publication ranked UCF among the top 15 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in the nation.

A Legacy of Innovation at UCF

Institutions in the Most Innovative Schools category are selected by college presidents, provosts and admissions deans. The category recognizes UCF’s efforts towards student success, innovative research, and national excellence and local impact.

Student Success

UCF’s Fall 2021 incoming class is one of the highest achieving in university history. The Class of 2025 has an average GPA of 4.22, the strongest to date for an incoming class, and average SAT and ACT scores of 1323 and 28.6, respectively.

This fall, the university also welcomed 107 National Merit Scholars, the highest number in UCF history. The incoming class joins a student body making notable accomplishments in Central Florida and beyond:

Innovative Research

From planetary sciences to discoveries helping to combat COVID-19, UCF has been a leader in innovative research. Endeavors over the past year have included the following projects:

  • This year, the UCF Exolith Lab produced and shipped more than 25 tons of simulated extraterrestrial soil, which is being used to test equipment being developed for Moon, Mars and space exploration missions.
  • UCF researchers developed a new screening technique that is more than 300 times as effective at detecting a biomarker for diseases – such as cancers, HIV and more – than current methods.

National Excellence, Local Impact

UCF prepares its students to make an impact, in Central Florida and beyond, through the following large-scale initiatives:

  • UCF Downtown – the 15-acre campus located in Orlando’s Creative Village marked the two-year anniversary of its opening in August. A partnership with Valencia College, the downtown campus provides approximately 8,000 students the opportunity to live, learn and work in downtown Orlando.
  • In March, the UCF Lake Nona Medical Center opened, bringing full-service, acute care to the growing Lake Nona community in a hospital that will also train the next generation of healthcare providers and support innovative medical research.

A Rising Leader in Social Mobility

The Top Performers on Social Mobility category measures the extent that institutions enroll and graduate Pell Grant-eligible students. Since its founding, UCF has been committed to helping students from all walks of life earn a college degree. Over the past year, UCF has been engaged in a number of initiatives to realize that foundational mission.

  • UCF enrolls more Pell Grant-eligible students than the 12 Ivy Plus Institutions combined (the eight Ivy League institutions, Duke, Stanford, MIT and the University of Chicago).
  • This fall, the university launched its Transfer Connect program, which provides comprehensive support, engagement and resources to prospective and enrolled transfer students, both in-person and virtually.
  • UCF accepted a $40 million gift from philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott and her husband Dan Jewett. The largest gift in the university’s history, the funding will be used to strengthen the university’s focus on fostering social mobility while developing the skilled talent needed to advance industry across our state and beyond.
  • Hispanic Outlook on Education Magazine ranked UCF the No. 5 university in the nation for granting bachelor’s degrees to Hispanics and 25th for master’s degrees, in 2020. UCF is an Hispanic Serving Institution, signifying by the U.S. Department of Education that the more than one quarter of the student population is Hispanic.
  • The Fall 2021 incoming class reflects UCF commitment to excellence and diversity with students of color comprising 46% of the freshman class.
  • Fifty percent of first-time-in-college students at UCF graduate without any educational debt. Nationally, only 32 percent of students graduate debt free.