University considered one of the best in the nation
By Chris Fish
MELBOURNE - Florida Institute of Technology became one of the nine public and private universities in the state of Florida to be included in the 2013 Fiske Guide to Colleges last month.
"It's really the bible for college admissions," said Randall Alford, vice president for student affairs at Florida Tech. "The Fiske Guide wants to capture tidbits that characterize a school, and they are looking at a lot of different areas, including living conditions and student activities. It really offers a profile of select schools."
The Fiske Guide to Colleges has included detailed information about the best universities in the nation for college-bound students and their parents for more than 25 years. Fiske rates colleges separately, on a scale of one to five, on academics, social life and quality of life.
Florida Tech received a grade three in each area and was placed in the "inexpensive" category for private schools.
"We cost about $34,000 a year," Mr. Alford said. "That is considered a best buy."
The listing described the university as "microcosm of intelligent people, representing 97 countries."
"We have a huge international population here, so students can make friends from around the world," said Rodney Bowers, assistant vice president of student affairs and dean of students. "We are student focused. That is one of our primary things. We try and make sure that we meet the needs of our students, and they graduate in four years."
Mr. Bowers said the inclusion on the list for Florida Tech is something the school strives for every year.
"We have been included in the Fiske Guide for a long, long time. I couldn't even tell you how many years it has been," he said. "It is one of our accolades."
The Fiske Guide listed the university under the heading, "Engineering/Top Technical Institutes."
"Our largest major is in engineering. It is mechanical and aerospace engineering," Mr. Bowers said. "There are around 700 people involved in that major. It's almost a college within a college."
Mr. Alford said inclusion on the list is an honor for the university.
"(The Fiske Guide) includes the best and most interesting schools in the nation," he said. "They list the strongest programs. They are really looking at schools quality-wise. It helps students, and I think it also helps parents make decisions about where they want to send their child to school."
Mr. Alford said Florida Tech aims to educate the social aspect of a student by offering a large amount of school activities.
"We offer a quality education. We have more than 150 clubs and organizations," he said. "We look at the whole person, so we are not educating only the academic part, but the social part, (too)."
Along with the inclusion in the Fiske Guide, Bloomberg Business recognized Florida Tech as the best college for return on investment in Florida.
"In 2011, they released 'What is your degree worth?, an annual ranking conducted by pay scale' in a Bloomberg Business report," Mr. Alford said. "It placed Florida Tech at the top of the list of private colleges in Florida, so our graduates are leaving us and making top dollar."