Awarded for excellence: UWF proudly honored by US News & World Report

November 20, 2019 | Martha D. Saunders, Ph.D.

students sitting outside the cfpa

We have reveled in the high marks U.S. News & World Report awarded the University of West Florida in this year’s rankings. The recognition includes four Best College award badges as symbols of excellence in Regional Universities South; Top Public Regional Universities South; Social Mobility; and Best Colleges for Veterans. Here's what this means for students, faculty, staff and supporters who share in our success.

Each Badge of Excellence award denotes high performance in the respective category. It is considered a gold standard. UWF ranked No. 34 among all regional universities (public and private) in the South and as the No. 15 top public regional university in the South. This designation puts us as the top public regional university in the state of Florida and in very good company in the region.

I'm especially proud of our recognition for Social Mobility, a new category this year, which recognizes our efforts in helping low-income students achieve their higher education goals. We have worked hard to hear that designation. Last year, UWF awarded nearly $100 million in scholarships and aid to incoming students. A combination of scholarships, grants and work-study opportunities provide students options other than taking out loans.

The UWF Division of Academic Engagement and Student Affairs has set enhancing financial aid as a key priority, offering more awards based on criteria such as leadership, community service and civic engagement. This increases scholarship opportunities for high school students active in organizations such as band, yearbook and student government. Needs-based financial aid for undergraduate students with young children helps offset the cost of on-campus childcare. We also provide retention and graduation grants for targeted populations.

In addition, programs such as the Argo 30 Guarantee ensure higher education accessibility for all students, despite their financial situations. The program, which began in the Fall 2019 semester, covers tuition and mandatory fees not covered by grants and scholarships.

UWF has long served our military veterans, so it came as no surprise when we ranked among the top 20 for Best Colleges for Veterans. The University consistently receives recognition for educational outreach to members of the armed forces. The badge from U.S. News & World Report joins the University’s title as a Purple Heart University and the accolades of "Military Friendly institutions" named by Victory Media and "Military Friendly Spouse School" named by Military Friendly.

As president, I am well-aware UWF’s programs are among the best anywhere; but, thanks to recognitions from U.S. News & World Report, the rest of the country is getting a glimpse of just how much we have to offer.