Valencia Ranks 4th in Nation for Number of Associate Degrees

Orlando, FL – Valencia College ranks fourth in the nation for the number of associate degrees awarded to students, according to a ranking of more than 3,600 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 2013-14 academic year. In that year, Valencia awarded 7,384 associate degrees – 60 percent of which were earned by minority students.

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The rankings were published Sept. 7, 2015.

The number of degrees Valencia awarded in 2013-14 jumped by 4 percent over the previous year, 2012-13.

“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 students from all backgrounds 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 fourth 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 third in the nation in the number of one-year certificates awarded.  Around the country, more than 5,500 colleges, universities and other educational institutions offer one-year certificates.

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; 22nd in business degrees, 37th in engineering technologies and engineering-related fields; 42nd in criminal justice; and 47th in registered nursing.  

Valencia offers four 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. Since the program’s inception in 2006, more than 36,000 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.