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In the six years since it launched, UF Online has risen through the ranks of nationally acclaimed online programs. 

Now, UF Online is ranked fourth in the U.S. News & World Report’s list of 2020 Best Online Bachelor’s Programs on Tuesday. UF spokesperson Steve Orlando said the ranking is terrific news considering that UF also ranked seventh in the 2019 U.S. News’ ranking of national universities.

“It shows that we have a lot to be proud of,” he wrote in a text message to an Alligator reporter. 

UF Online is a flexible and cost-effective alternative to traditional UF degree programs, according to data from the UF student financial affairs office. Online tuition, fees and living expenses cost 40 percent less than those of in-person undergraduate degree programs.

Though the program costs less, the education is just as rich of a learning experience as traditional schooling, said Evangeline Cummings, director of UF Online. 

The credentials and qualifications of UF Online faculty are higher than many other online programs on the report, she said. Most UF Online professors have high degrees in the fields they teach, and many are on the tenure track. Cummings said this is one reason for the program’s high ranking. 

UF Online also provides student services to keep the program fresh and engaging, Cummings said. For example, the UF Online Student Plaza is a virtual campus where students can interact and network with one another, similar to Turlington Plaza. 

Since the online program began in Spring 2014, enrollment rates have risen from 5,746 when UF Online launched to 23,370 in 2019. Still, the average online class size is 29 students

For the upcoming years, UF Online will focus on further improving the quality of the student experience rather than increasing its enrollment, Cummings said.

“Our students deserve the best experience we can give them,” Cummings said.

Contact Hannah Phillips at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @haphillips96. 

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect that most UF Online professors are on the tenure track. The Alligator originally reported differently due to misinformation given by a source.