The Washington Monthly magazine today ranked UCF in three significant categories on its annual rankings of 395 top universities and colleges: No. 55 best national university, No. 25 “Best Bang for the Buck” university in the southeast, and one of the 80 best colleges for student voting.

The 2019 rankings for best national universities included both public and private institutions and were based on the metrics of social mobility, research and service. The social mobility scores looked at graduation rates, number of first-generation students, tuition costs and other factors.

“UCF is an institution that is driven to do more and be more,” says Interim President Thad Seymour Jr. “We are very proud of our rising excellence and reputation, particularly when it shows our commitment to student success and the amazing things our faculty and students do for society through their research and service.”

In the category of “Best Bang for the Buck,” the magazine recognized schools that help lower- and middle-income students attain marketable degrees at affordable prices.

“Over the last few years, we … have been thrilled to see growing public attention paid to colleges’ roles in fostering upward social mobility among their students,” the magazine says.

Kiplinger and Forbes also both rank UCF among the nation’s best education values.

The student-voting list, which does not have individual rankings, includes those institutions that most inspire students to be active citizens.

UCF’s ranking was based in part on its comprehensive effort to increase voting rates of students. The university has a formal plan to increase civic learning and political engagement, and has set a goal of achieving a 70 percent student-voting rate by next year. Earlier this year, UCF was recognized as a voter-friendly campus by NASPA.

“Because voting tends to be habitual — if you vote in this election, you’re far more likely to vote in the next one, and the ones after that — colleges and universities have an opportunity to boost democratic participation not only in 2020 but for years, or even decades, to come,” the magazine says. “We hope the example set by the institutions on our honor roll will inspire more schools to get into the democracy-building game.”

In the 15 years the magazine has prepared its rankings, it says it has steadily added new data to its scoring system to shine a light on the universities and colleges that are helping diverse students improve their lives.