09/12/2012 01:27 pm ET Updated Sep 12, 2012

University Of Miami Continues Rankings Reign For Third-Straight Year

U.S. News & World Report's annual "Best Colleges" rankings is out for 2013, and the University of Miami leads Florida's "big three" universities among top-tier schools nationwide.

After making an 11-point rise between 2011 and 2012, UM dropped slightly from an all-time high of 38 to the 44th spot, tied with University of California-Irvine. The private school in Coral Gables dominates as the state's top university for the third year in a row despite scandals plaguing their esteemed football program.

Closely trailing "The U" is the University of Florida at number 54, tied with Pepperdine University in California. The Gators led for years as the state's leading academic and partying institution, but suffered from state budget cuts in recent years which may have affected their bottom line. After falling for the first time to Miami in 2011, Florida's namesake public school has remained stuck in the 50s for three consecutive years, ranking 58th in the country in 2012.

Perennial little brother Florida State University finally broke into the top 100 for the first time, rising to number 97 where the Tallahassee school tied with the University of Colorado-Boulder, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and the University of Missouri. Last year, the Seminoles held the 101st spot.

Other Florida schools ranked nationally include the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne at 160, the University of South Florida in Tampa at 170, the University of Central Florida in Orlando at 174.