According to news out of the University of Florida, 60,000 students applied to the fall 2022 entering class, more than double the nearly 29,000 students who applied for fall of 2014.
And according to Hege Ferguson, director of admissions for Florida State University, as of January 7, 2022, they have received 67,291 first-year applications for summer and fall semesters. That is a 21.2% increase compared to January 7, 2021, when they had received 55,500 applications.
We believe there are several reasons behind the rise in applications.
1. Rankings. The University of Florida reached the nation’s top five public universities in the 2022 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings, and FSU is ranked among the top 20. As the value of the UF and FSU degrees increase, the universities have been attracting more students from all over the U.S. and the world.
2. Cost. The universities’ tuition and fees rank among the lowest among public universities in the U.S. UF and FSU both rank among the best-value universities in the country: UF is No. 10, and FSU is No. 11 in Princeton Review’s 2021 “Top 50 Best Value Colleges Public Schools.” UF is also No. 10, and FSU No. 19, in Forbes’ “America’s Best Value Colleges – public schools (2022).
3. Grandparent waiver
. Starting in the 2022-23 academic year, if an out-of-state student has a grandparent living in Florida, they may be eligible to attend Florida’s public universities at the same cost as in-state residents with a tuition and fee waiver for up to 110% of total degree hours. That said, there’s a maximum in place. Just 350 new students may be granted this grandparent waiver each academic year across all the State University System schools – and the waivers will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. However, we’re not sure families read the fine print on this new law and believe this may have caused applications to increase.
4. Bright Futures
. Students who graduate from Florida high schools may earn the Florida Bright Futures scholarship (which covers a significant percentage of tuition at a Florida public college) by achieving a minimum required GPA, a minimum required ACT/SAT test scores, and a minimum number of community service hours. Alternatively, students may receive it by earning their IB diploma or AICE diploma. More and more Florida high schools have adopted the AICE curriculum, making the scholarship more attainable.
5. SAT/ACT accessibility. Last year many students could not take or retake the SAT or ACT because of COVID. Unlike many schools, Florida public universities continued to require test scores for admissions, which meant students who had no score or a low score did not apply. Almost everyone could take the standardized tests this year, which could be another reason for the increase in numbers.
6. Florida Prepaid
. This Florida savings plan allows families to lock in college plan prices, prepaying the future cost of college tuition, local fees, housing and other fees. Many families who paid for these plans years ago, when their child was little, now want to take advantage of the low rates they locked in.
7. People like Florida! With great weather almost year-round, the ability to study by an outdoor pool while wearing flip-flops is very enticing. (That said, it still gets very cold in the winter in Gainesville and Tallahassee!)
Families, take note. The application numbers at the University of Florida and at Florida State are not an anomaly. What we’ve also seen this year is an increase in applications at MANY major campuses, even the ones in the snowiest of places. According to CNBC, in November 2021, the Common App estimated that total applications submitted increased 22% compared to 2020.
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