December 2018 – Ave Maria University
Current Students | Faculty & Staff

Ave Maria University Rated #1 Private University In Florida in Best College and University Rankings

AVE MARIA, Fla. (December 12, 2018) — Ave Maria University announced today that it has been ranked 1st among Private Florida Universities by the personal-finance website WalletHub, which released its 2019’s Best College & University Rankings. The criteria used by WalletHub in evaluating nearly 1,000 colleges and universities nationally included 30 key measures grouped into seven categories: Student Selectivity, Costs and Financing, Faculty Resources, Campus Safety, Campus Experience, Educational Outcomes, and Career Outcomes. The rankings also place Ave Maria University 6th in Florida, 42nd in the Southern United States, and 188th nationally. In regards to Catholic universities, Ave ranks 1st in Florida, 2nd in the Southern United States, and 17th Nationally.

“This confirms that Ave Maria University is a high value, high quality choice for parents and students who want the best ‘bang for the buck’,” AMU President Jim Towey said.  “We have incredible faculty and staff, students who are highly capable and motivated, and a board of trustees that is fully invested in the University,” he added.

Ave Maria University established its permanent campus near Naples, FL in 2007, and has since expanded the number of majors offered from 11 to 33, including programs in business, nursing, education, and the arts and sciences.  The University this year has an enrollment of 1,100 that includes students from 45 states and 20 countries, and a student body that is approximately 82% Catholic, 25% minority, and evenly-divided between men and women.  Ave Maria’s state-of-the-art campus offers six residence halls with a capacity for 1,300 students and rests on a tract of over 300 acres in Southwest Florida.  “Our rapid rise in the rankings proves that you can have small class sizes and first-rate professors and still be affordable,” Towey said.  Tuition, room and board at the University ranked among the lowest of the private schools evaluated by WalletHub, and the average debt of an Ave Maria graduate, too, is well below the national average.

Ave Maria University is a Catholic, liberal arts institution of higher learning devoted to Mary the Mother of God, inspired by St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Calcutta, and dedicated to the formation of joyful, intentional followers of Jesus Christ through Word and Sacrament, scholarship and service.  For more information on Ave Maria University, visit

CONTACT:  Katy Thoele
Program Manager, Advancement
(239) 280-1565


John Towey, Published by James Madison Institute

John Towey, a senior studying Politics and Economics, is a Campus Representative of Ave Maria University at the James Madison Institute.  John started working for JMI about a year ago and explains that, “the overarching goal of the program is to take the work of JMI and the principles which they stand for and bring it to Ave Maria through campus and community events which promote economic freedom, liberty, and limited government.”  He describes how he received the opportunity to work and write for JMI, “I had the great honor of being able to intern this summer with JMI in their Tallahassee office.  The James Madison Institute is a policy research think tank specifically for Florida public policy issues, so Tallahassee is really the hub for all political activity in Florida.  JMI does a great job in giving their interns tremendous amounts of autonomy – especially when it comes to writing and publishing.”  John believes that, when compared to other notable think tanks, JMI “does the best job at engaging college students and giving them opportunities they might not have elsewhere.”

In reference to his recent articles published by JMI, John explains that the first of his writing opportunities was a book review of Jonah Goldberg’s recently published book, Suicide of the West.  “The book explores the historical and political development of liberal democracy in the West and the illiberal attacks the system is weathering from groups on both the political right and left.  Through my writing I tried to highlight Goldberg’s main fear which is that tribalistic impulses in the form of progressivism and nationalism/populism are tearing the social fabric of the country apart, reverting it to a pre-modern system of governance.  After the review went through editing, I had the opportunity to write another article focusing on some of the more practical public policy issues which JMI is pushing for in the next Florida legislative session.  Specifically, this piece explored structural solutions which can be adopted to combat several of the problems which occupational licensing and excessive administrative regulation creates in the state.”  John explains that he enjoyed writing both articles because of the different areas of politics that the source materials dealt with. “The Jonah Goldberg review spoke on political philosophy, history, and culture, whereas the piece on structural reform was really focused on getting into the gritty details of specific public policy reform.”

Towards the end of the summer internship John was informed that both pieces would be published in JMI’s fall journal “which was really exciting.  It was a strange but proud moment to see some of my writing in a think tank journal alongside contributors who have Ph.D’s in public policy and have worked in all levels of government.”

When asked how he felt about being a published Ave Maria student, John states, “I am tremendously grateful.  I owe a lot of the credit to my professors, especially those in the politics department, who have demanded a high standard of writing and in the process have refined and improved my writing. I know several of my classmates have had similar opportunities to intern, publish, and do other impressive work in this area so I think this speaks to the quality of the education you can get here at Ave.”


Articles can be found below.

Structural Reform for Next Generation Prosperity