Valencia Ranks 4th in Nation for Number of Associate Degrees

commencement crowdOrlando, FL – Valencia College ranks fourth in the nation for the number of associate degrees awarded to students, according to a ranking of almost 3,000 colleges and universities published this week 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 2011-12 academic year. In that year, Valencia awarded 7,974 associate degrees, including 3,674 earned by minority students.

The rankings were published on June 24.

The number of degrees Valencia awarded in 2011-12 jumped by 20 percent over the previous year, 2010-11.

“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 role that Valencia plays as the first step to college 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 5,485 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; 22nd in registered nursing;  29th in business degrees, 33rd in engineering technologies and engineering-related fields; 40th in health professions; and 40th in criminal justice.  

Valencia offers fourtypes of degrees: Associate in Arts (A.A.), Associate in Science (A.S.), Associate in Applied Science (A.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. Since the program’s inception in 2006, more than 16,000 students have transferred from Valencia 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.