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Recently, U.S. News & World Report ranked Florida State University at the very top of the list of the nation's most efficient universities in producing the highest quality education.

"It would be easy to rest on our successes," said President Eric J. Barron, "but we know that every additional dollar we save is an opportunity to improve the education we deliver to our students."

The Florida State University Board of Trustees has formed a team of business leaders to find additional efficiencies, and to work closely with a university task force, as well as faculty, students and staff to ensure the greatest possible return on Florida's investment in higher education.

The team, which is chaired by Trustee Margaret A. "Peggy" Rolando, will start with a focus on finance and operations within Florida State, and will seek to incentivize staff to provide the efficiency team with suggestions for savings.

"We want to listen to those who know the university best — faculty, staff and students," Rolando said. "Some suggestions might not be practical, but others will be gloriously insightful."

Rolando suggested that students could offer ways to improve admissions and registration or methods to improve efficiently transferring scholarship funds to them.

"We don't want to rest on our laurels of being named the most efficient public university by U.S. News & World Report," Rolando said. "If we do, we'll start to slip."

The latest U.S. News & World Report rankings place Florida State at No. 42 among the best public universities across the nation. The university has developed a comprehensive plan to increase the ranking to the top 25. That requires resources and greater efficiencies is one way to find them.

Since 1999, Florida State dropped 46 places in financial resources in comparison to its peers, while at the same time achieving its highest quality ratings over the same period. Currently, Florida State is No. 212 among all ranked universities in financial resources.

Florida State's "Top 25" proposal calls for an increased state commitment of $75 million divided into $15 million increments over the next five years. The university would match, through philanthropy, the state's commitment dollar for dollar with targeted investments in four areas: science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) initiatives, entrepreneurial programs, career preparation and increased retention and graduation rates. New efficiencies will add to the universities' potential to invest in quality.

"With this targeted funding, you will really see this university soar into the Top 25 of the nation's best public colleges and universities," said Barron. "I have no doubt Florida State can achieve this goal within a fairly short period of time, because our plan is realistic and we already have the momentum to get there."

15 March 2013

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