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In another big accomplishment for UCF this week, the university tied for the top spot in performance-based state funding is will receive this year.

On Wednesday, the Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the State University System, released the performance funding achievements of the state’s public universities, revealing that UCF tied with Florida Atlantic University for the top spot.

In the last few years, the Florida Board of Governors has allocated performance funding to universities across the state based on a metric system, which awards points to schools based on measures such as graduation rates and the cost of each student’s degree to the school.

UCF has measured high in categories like graduation rates, rates of graduate employment and high graduate wages ever since the state has been allotting funds. During the last four years in which performance-based funding has been awarded, UCF is the only university that has ranked in the top 3 every time.

“This ranking showcases the outstanding work UCF is doing to better educate students and prepare them for jobs,” said UCF Provost and executive Vice President Dale Whitaker in a press release. “The additional funds the Board of Governors, legislature and Governor Rick Scott provide us will be invested in further strengthening our academic efforts.”

UCF earned $14.7 million in new performance funding last year, which it is using to hire 100 new faculty positions in high-demand areas. It's also developing new interdisciplinary faculty teams in areas of calculated emphasis for the university and supporting special hiring programs that identify inclusive excellence. According to the press release, this will provide resources to enhance UCF’s recruitment nationally or internationally recognized scholars.

UCF hired 100 faculty members the year before last. It will increase the amount of tenured and tenure-track positions by 25 percent over the next three years.

UCF is also using last year’s performance funding to implement new student success programs based on predictive analytics. The programs will use the student data to pinpoint which students are struggling so that academic advisers can offer them assistance, including counseling, tutoring and help with applying for financial aid.

Earlier this week, UCF was named the best graduate video game school in North America by the Princeton Review and PC gamer. The Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy, an anchor of UCF’s downtown campus, achieved its first No. 1 ranking, following two years as the second-ranked school in North America.

On Wednesday, the U.S. News and World Report ranked 20 UCF graduate programs in the top 100 nationally.

The survey reviewed more than 800 public and private institutions with graduate schools. The Counselor Education program earned UCF’s highest ranking in the survey both last year and this year and moved up a notch to No. 9 nationally.

“This ranking exemplifies the hard work of our Counselor Education faculty and staff and the progress we have achieved,” said Pamela S. Carrol, dean of the college of Education and Human Performance in a press release. “What an honor to be listed in the top 10 in the nation in this field.”

The atomic, molecular and optical science programs in the College of Optics & Photonics, and the Nonprofit Management program in the College of Public affairs join the College of Education and Human Performance near the top at No. 14 and No. 17 respectively — a jump of eight places.

“UCF certainly is making a name for itself on the national stage — and that’s because of the dedication and extraordinary achievements of our faculty, staff and students,” Whitaker said.

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Christopher Davis is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter @ChristopherDTV or email him at ChristopherD@CentralFloridaFuture.com.

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