Best Colleges in Florida

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Are you ready to find your fit?

The thought of going to college in Florida probably inspires visions of sunny skies, white sand beaches, and palm trees. And if you have to study, why not do it in the land of eternal sunshine?

Florida is not only home to famed theme parks and sporting events, but to some of the most prestigious universities in the nation, as well as a robust and affordable college system. There are, in fact, plenty of reasons to think about attending one of Florida’s many colleges or universities.

Related: Top Online Schools in Florida

What kind of college in Florida should you attend?

Going to school in Florida is a great option, but looking for the perfect college is always a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack – and Florida is a pretty darn big haystack. The state is home to 12 public universities, 6 major medical schools, and many private colleges and universities that vary in size, structure and setting. That might sound overwhelming, but we at College Choice have you covered with our easy-to-navigate ranking.

You’ll find that this list offers a wide variety of different types of schools. Some are large state schools, while others are regional institutions. Some are religiously affiliated, and others boast specialty services. All in all, you can’t go wrong with any of these Florida-based colleges.

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How much money can you make with a degree from a college in Florida?

First, let’s start with the best news. In addition to being home to some of the preeminent universities in the nation, Florida also boasts some of the most consistently cheap post-secondary tuition rates in the U.S. The state sits 45th among the 50 states for tuition costs, making it a highly affordable place to learn. And while affordable tuition is a good thing, it only represents a part of Florida’s deep commitment to higher education.

And here’s even more good news. A college degree in Florida is guaranteed to move you forward financially. In fact, according to Payscale.com, people with a bachelor’s degree in Florida make around $53k to $61k each year. That number goes up dramatically for individuals with an advanced degree. Earning an online degree is the perfect way to start!

What can you do with a degree from a college in Florida?

Are you still stumped on the age-old question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Do you need some guidance? Here’s some help. Florida is currently booming in GDP from these top industries:

  • Tourism
  • Agriculture
  • Aerospace and Aviation

If you’re planning on living in Florida after you graduate, maybe consider a career in one of these three areas. You’ll be essentially guaranteed a job post-graduation. The schools on this list are some of the best in the country. Why not pursue a state-supported career at a nationally-recognized institution?

Top 10 Best Colleges in Florida

Rank School Location
1 University of Miami Coral Gables, FL
2 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
3 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Daytona Beach, FL
4 Stetson University DeLand, FL
5 Rollins College Winter Park, FL
6 Florida Institute of Technology Melbourne, FL
7 Florida Southern College Lakeland, FL
8 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
9 Jacksonville University Jacksonville, FL
10 University of South Florida Tampa, FL
Advertisement CollegeChoice.net is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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What are the best colleges in Florida?

To help you make your decision, we’ve done the hard work of weighing a series of factors, which are all weighted equally: reputation as measured by U.S. News and World Report, tuition costs, average financial aid packages as measured by IPEDS, and expected early career earnings of graduates as measured by Payscale. All schools on this list are regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and many have additional accreditations from other bodies as well. We hope this list helps you find the school you’re looking for!

Rankings

See our rankings methodology page.

  1. University of Miami
    Location

    Coral Gables, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Sitting at the top of our list is the University of Miami, an elite private research university situated just outside the dynamic and multicultural city of Miami in Southern Florida. The school was founded in 1925 and is now one of the major research institutions in the country.

    Features

    The school is known primarily as a research university, and opportunities for research begin at the undergraduate level and continue through doctoral studies. The University of Miami provides a plethora of academic offerings, including more than 180 undergraduate and graduate majors across eleven schools and colleges. Popular majors include:

    • Business, Management, Marketing
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
    • Engineering
    • Social Sciences

    Notables

    The University of Miami campus is set on 239 acres in Coral Gables and has a population of over 16,000 students. Students do not have to live on campus, but many choose to take advantage of the community life provided by the school’s five residential colleges. Modeled after Oxford and Cambridge universities, the colleges provide a place for students to integrate their academic and social lives through group meals, sports, study groups and more.

  2. University of Florida
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located in Gainesville, the University of Florida (UF) is a top public research university that is ranked among the top national universities in the country (US News and World Report). The oldest university in the State (founded in 1853), the University of Florida is a senior member of the State University System of Florida.

    Features

    No matter what you want to study, you are very likely to find a degree that suits you at UF. The school offers 30 certificates, 100 undergraduate majors and 200 graduate programs. The school also has a top engineering school, the Hough Graduate School of Business, Levin College of Law and the College of Medicine all on the same campus. Importantly, more than half of UF undergraduates are able to graduate with no student loan debt. Some of the most popular undergraduate majors include:

    • Engineering
    • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
    • Social Sciences
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences

    Notables

    UF has a student population of over 50, 0000 and many opportunities to engage in sports, arts, and cultural events. Athletics are an important part of community life on campus, culminating in the annual Gator Growl, the largest student-run pep rally in the country, which takes place each Homecoming weekend.

  3. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
    Location

    Daytona Beach, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Founded in 1926, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is the oldest aviation-focused university in the world. But even if aviation is not your goal, you should certainly not discount Embry-Riddle. This private university, which is located in Daytona Beach, has a STEM focus which concentrates on, but is not limited to, aeronautical sciences.

    Features

    Embry-Riddle’s seven fields of study reflect the school’s focus on aviation but also provide training for several non-aviation-related industries including Business, Computers and Technology, and Safety, Security, and Intelligence. Studying at Embry-Riddle also provides many social opportunities for the student body, including more than 50 clubs, intramural, and recreational sports, and featuring fourteen consecutive years as the best overall athletic program in the Sun Conference. The most popular majors at Embry-Riddle are:

    • Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical/Space Engineering
    • Airline/Commercial/Professional Pilot and Flight Crew
    • Aeronautics/Aviation/Aerospace Science and Technology
    • Air Traffic Controller
    • Homeland Security

    Notables

    The student body of Embry-Riddle is around 75% male, but the school is committed to being a leader in diversity and inclusion in higher education. And importantly, Embry-Riddle has been extremely successful at helping place students in jobs after graduation and offers one of the better returns on investment due to the high earnings of graduates from their programs.

  4. Stetson University
    Location

    DeLand, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located between the two cities of Orlando and Daytona Beach and set on a historic 159-acre campus, Stetson University is a private institution with a history that dates back to the late nineteenth century. Though relatively small in size (with a total enrollment of around 4,300 students) the university has created a stellar reputation for itself among regional schools in the South.

    Features

    Stetson University provides a combination of liberal arts and professional academic programs through its four colleges: College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, School of Law and School of Music. Among their majors, some of the most popular include:

    • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
    • Psychology
    • Visual and Performing Arts
    • Social Sciences
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences

    Notables

    The school has a deep commitment to social justice and sustainability – and they integrate these values into every level of the education process. For five consecutive years, the university has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service. And through the Stetson Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) grants, students complete a summer research project in the field of their choice while receiving a stipend.

  5. Rollins College
    Location

    Winter Park, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Located along the banks of Lake Virginia in Central Florida, Rollins College is one of the oldest, and most beautiful, colleges in the State. The school, which was founded in 1885 by New England Congregationalists, is a small, private, non-sectarian, four-year institution with a population of around 2,500 students and a reputation for high-quality teaching and small class sizes.

    Features

    Students at Rollins can choose from around thirty majors – ranging from the standard liberal arts fare to Computer Science – as well as unique offerings like Australian Studies and Sustainable Development. And for those wanting to pursue a career in business, Rollins also offers an MBA through the Crummer School of Business. Among the most popular majors are:

    • Social Sciences
    • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
    • Psychology
    • Visual and Performing Arts

    Notables

    Though the school is located only a few minutes from downtown Orlando, most students at Rollins College choose to live on campus and benefit from the communal life offered by one of their 17 residential halls or apartment complexes. The school has over 100 student clubs and organizations (ranging from athletics to social service) and the Rollins’ athletic teams, the Tars, compete in the NCAA Division II Sunshine State Conference.

  6. Florida Institute of Technology
    Location

    Melbourne, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Founded in 1948, Florida Institute of Technology (commonly referred to as Florida Tech) is a private institution located in Melbourne, Florida. As the name indicates, the school is primarily a Technological University, originally created to train space industry workers at the nearby Kennedy Space Center. The school prides itself on being “High Tech With a Human Touch,” combining rigorous academics with the personalized learning experience of a small college.

    Features

    Florida Tech offers degrees in a range of concentrations – including liberal arts and Psychology – but about half of the student population is enrolled in the College of Engineering. For those students interested in hands-on research, Florida Tech has more than 125 special focus laboratories devoted to professional-level research in fields such as aquaculture, fluid dynamics, remote sensing, environmental education and much more. Some of the most popular majors include:

    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Electrical and Electronics Engineering
    • Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical/Space Engineering
    • Aviation/Airway Management and Operations

    Notables

    In terms of extra-curricular activities, Florida Tech has over 100 clubs and organizations for students to participate in. Also, being located on Florida’s coast provides ample opportunities for water-sports like surfing, boating, kayaking and fishing.

  7. Florida Southern College
    Location

    Lakeland, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Situated between the cities of Orlando and Tampa in Lakeland, Florida Southern College is a small, private institution affiliated with the Methodist Church. The school, which was founded in 1883, is one of the oldest private colleges in the state, and is now a leader in personalized, hands-on learning, offering a student to faculty ratio of 13:1.

    Features

    One of the unique benefits offered to students at Florida Southern College is a guaranteed internship and study abroad experience which students participate in at no extra cost. Florida Southern College offers over 50 undergraduate majors and pre-professional programs, along with graduate programs in business, nursing, and education. Some of the most popular majors include:

    • Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services
    • Health Professions and Related Programs
    • Social Sciences
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences

    Notables

    There are plenty of opportunities for recreation. The award-winning campus of Florida Southern, which is home to the single largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings in one location, is situated directly across from Lake Hollingsworth, offering year-round opportunities for water sports. The school also has over 70 clubs and organizations for student involvement.

  8. Florida State University
    Location

    Tallahassee, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    One of the preeminent universities in the country, Florida State University – colloquially known as FSU, is based in the Florida state capital of Tallahassee. With a total population of over 40,000 students, the school sits on a sprawling campus of 476 acres. FSU is rooted in the liberal arts and fosters an environment that encourages free inquiry and embraces diversity.

    Features

    Whatever you want to study, you will likely find a niche at FSU. Their 17 colleges offer more than 340 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees, many being ranked among the best in the nation. The school provides opportunities for studying abroad as well as undergraduate research. And FSU’s rigorous academic standards have produced more that 250 students in the past decade have won the most competitive national academic and leadership awards. Among the most popular majors are:

    • Criminal Justice/Safety Studies
    • Psychology
    • English Language and Literature
    • Biology/Biological Sciences

    Notables

    Many are familiar with FSU’s athletic programs, but the school also offers more than 700 student organizations which offer opportunities for engagement in everything from sports to social service. To honor their level of engagement in social service and leadership, the Carnegie Foundation has selected FSU for inclusion in its prestigious Community Engagement classification.

  9. Jacksonville University
    Location

    Jacksonville, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Founded in 1935, Jacksonville University is a private university that combines the advantages of a liberal arts college with the strengths of an urban comprehensive university. The school, which is situated on a 190-acre campus in suburban Jacksonville, has a total student enrollment of just over 4000 students.

    Features

    Jacksonville University maintains a personal approach to education which is aided by their student to faculty ratio of 11:1. Their core curriculum combines a strong liberal arts foundation combined with a variety of pre-professional programs. Programs offer opportunities for undergraduate research and an emphasis on engaged learning and leadership opportunities.

    • Health Professions and Related Programs
    • Business, Management, Marketing
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
    • Visual and Performing Arts

    Notables

    Jacksonville University has twenty-one Division I athletic teams and is home to a great variety of social, cultural, Greek, religious, performance and service organizations. Students at FSU live in residence halls and on-campus apartments, and the Kinne University Center and the new Davis Student Commons provide facilities for campus life.

  10. University of South Florida
    Location

    Tampa, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Overview

    Founded in 1959, the University of South Florida is a large public research institution in Tampa with multiple campuses located throughout the state. The sprawling 1,562-acre campus is located in the heart of Tampa Bay and is one of only four public universities in Florida classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in the top tier of research universities.

    Features

    USF is consistently ranked among the top universities in the nation and offers over 180 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialty and doctoral levels (including the doctor of medicine). Students at USF experience a dynamic, student-centered learning environment that stresses innovation. This is evidenced by the high number of Fulbright US Scholarships the university produces, as well as the research and patent productivity of students and faculty. The most popular undergraduate majors include:

    • Psychology
    • Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse
    • Biomedical Sciences
    • Criminology

    Notables

    First-year students are required to live on campus (with some exceptions), but most USF students live off campus, commuting to the school to participate in classes and the over 400 student organizations and clubs. And participation is rewarded: a unique feature of USF is the co-curricular transcripts which allow students to document any extracurricular involvements for future employers.

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