Valencia Ranks 4th in Nation for Number of Associate Degrees

For the second year in a row, Valencia College ranked fourth in the number of associate degrees awarded to students, out of almost 3,000 colleges and universities across the country, according to a ranking published by Community College Week.

To compile its annual Top 100 rankings, the editors of Community College Week used data from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics and focused on degrees conferred during the 2012-13 academic year. In that year, Valencia awarded 7,117 associate degrees, including 3,376 earned by minority students.

The rankings were published on August 18.

“Valencia’s continued focus on student success is paying off,” said Dr. Sanford C. Shugart, Valencia College president. “For the past decade, the college has targeted its efforts toward helping all students succeed. These rankings underscore the critical role that Valencia plays as the pathway to a college degree for many students in Central Florida.”

Also noteworthy, the college ranks fifth in the nation in the number of degrees awarded to Hispanic students and seventh in the number awarded to African-Americans.

The college also ranked second in the nation – out of 5,658 colleges and universities and other educational institutions – in the number of one-year certificates awarded.

Aside from the number of overall associate degrees conferred, Valencia ranked high in the number of associate degrees awarded across a number of academic disciplines: second in the number of degrees awarded in general studies and the humanities; 14th in computer and information sciences; 25th in engineering technologies and engineering-related fields; 28th in registered nursing; and 34th in business.

Information technology and engineering technology were the two disciplines that saw the largest increases in the number of degrees awarded. Valencia rose from 38th to 14th in the top 50 ranking of Computer and Information Sciences degrees, with 142 degrees awarded in 2012-2013 compared to 96 degrees the previous year—a 48 percent increase. Also, the college moved up from 33rd to 25th place in Engineering Technologies and Engineering-Related Fields, with 151 degrees awarded in 2012-2013, a 15 percent increase over the previous year’s 131 degrees.

Valencia offers three types of degrees: Associate in Arts (A.A.), Associate in Science (A.S.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees. The A.A. degree parallels the first two years of a four-year bachelor’s degree. In Florida, graduates with an A.A. degree are guaranteed acceptance as juniors into the state university system.

DirectConnect to UCF, a long-standing partnership between Valencia and the University of Central Florida, has contributed to Valencia’s high transfer rate, which is considered to be among the highest in the nation. DirectConnect to UCF guarantees that Valencia graduates will be accepted and receive accelerated admission to UCF.

In 2012, Valencia College’s DirectConnect to UCF program was selected by Excelencia in Education, a Washington, D.C.-based organization, as the nation’s top program for increasing academic opportunities and success for Hispanic students at the associate level.