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.

Firstly, 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.

One way to assess this is by looking at Florida’s high college attainment numbers (the number of students that graduate from college), which continue to rise every year. It may seem obvious that people who start college usually finish it, but, in fact, attainment numbers show a lot about how willing schools are to invest in student support systems. Colleges and universities in Florida take student success seriously and they invest in it.

Universities in Florida also rank among the most diverse in the nation. This is, in part, a reflection of the demographics of Florida as a whole: over the last 40 years, the state has seen a major surge of new residents from other states and countries. In fact, as of 2012, only 20% of Floridians ages 25 and older were born in Florida; 80% moved here from other states or nations. If we learn from people who are not like us, then living in the Sunshine State is an education in itself.

So 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.

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!

1

University of Miami

College Choice Score:: 100

Net Cost:: $47,004

School Website:

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.

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

The school is known primarily as a research university, and opportunities for research begin at the undergraduate level and continue through doctoral studies (with the majority of research being concentrated in the acclaimed Miller School of Medicine). The school also features a top School of Business Administration and a highly ranked College of Engineering.

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

College Choice Score:: 94.72

Net Cost:: $6,389

School Website:

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.

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. Some of the most popular undergraduate majors include:

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

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.

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

College Choice Score:: 92.98

Net Cost:: $33,886

School Website:

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.

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. 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

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 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

College Choice Score:: 91.65

Net Cost:: $43,240

School Website:

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 enrolment of around 4,300 students) the university has created a stellar reputation for itself among regional schools in the South.

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

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

College Choice Score:: Rollins College

Net Cost:: $46,520

School Website:

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.

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

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

College Choice Score:: 83.90

Net Cost:: $40,446

School Website:

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.

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. Some of the most popular majors include:

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

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.

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

College Choice Score:: 82.94

Net Cost:: $33,100

School Website:

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.

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

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. Through the Junior Journey program, students and faculty work together to create an international travel experience in which students earn course credit and gain an international perspective.

And 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

College Choice Score:: 82.50

Net Cost:: $6,507

School Website:

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.

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. Among the most popular majors are:

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

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, including three Rhodes Scholarships.

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

College Choice Score:: 79.42

Net Cost:: $33,930

School Website:

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.

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

Outside of the classroom, students can take advantage of the urban environment through meaningful internships and educational opportunities with area businesses and civic organizations. Many students also participate in study abroad and community service learning.

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

College Choice Score:: 78.15

Net Cost:: $6,410

School Website:

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.

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). The most popular undergraduate majors include:

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

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.

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.

11

University of Tampa

College Choice Score:: 77.41

Net Cost:: $27,740

School Website:

In terms of setting, it doesn’t get much more urban than the University of Tampa, a medium-sized private university which is situated in the heart of the city of Tampa.   The school’s nearly 8,000 students are part of a globally connected campus and come from all 50 states and 140 countries, creating a dynamic and diverse educational environment.

The University of Tampa’s four colleges (which include the AACSB accredited Sykes College of Business) offer more than 200 academic programs at the undergraduate and graduate level. Many programs offer opportunities to conduct research at the undergraduate level. The most popular majors include:

  • Business, Management, Marketing
  • Social Sciences
  • Health Professions
  • Parks, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies

Unique to the University of Tampa is their First Year Experience, which goes well beyond typical orientation activities. Each student has a mentor, as well as a year-long First-Year Seminar course (a one-credit course each semester) in which students set goals and acquire the skills needed to excel in their academic careers.

The University of Tampa also has much to offer in the way of recreation, including over 200 student clubs and organizations. These provide students with the opportunity to be involved with a whole range of activities from intramural sports, sports clubs and student recreation programs to student-run, on-campus television, radio stations, and newspaper.

12

University of North Florida

College Choice Score:: 74.75

Net Cost:: $6,394

School Website:

Located midway between the city of Jacksonville and the Atlantic coast, the University of North Florida (or UNF)  is a relatively young public institution (founded in 1972) and a member of the Florida State University System. The school, which is situated on 1,381 acres and has a student population of over 15,600 students, has been ranked highly among regional schools in the South.

The University of North Florida strives to keep a small college feel amidst rapid growth by maintaining relatively small class sizes and a student to faculty ratio of 18:1.  UNF has six colleges (including the AACSB accredited Coggin School of Business) and a wide range of degree programs. The most popular majors include:

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

A distinguishing feature of a UNF education is the Transformational Learning Opportunity. Each UNF student has a chance to take part in a life-changing experience which can include opportunities like conducting research with faculty, or taking part in community-based learning or studying abroad.

For their work in creating an engaged educational experience, UNF is a recipient of the prestigious Carnegie Classification for Community Engagement. UNF also provides many opportunities for recreation, including over 200 campus clubs and organizations that provide points of connection for students and complement academic goals.

13

New College of Florida

College Choice Score:: 73.69

Net Cost:: $6,916

School Website:

New College of Florida is a small, public, liberal arts college located in suburban Sarasota, near the Gulf of Mexico. Often mistaken for a private college, New College is the public honors college for the state of Florida and ranks among the best liberal arts colleges in the nation. With a student population of around 800 students, the school offers a student to faculty ration of 10:1.

New College divides academics into three main divisions: Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences. Among the nearly 40 different areas of concentration that the school offers, the most popular include:

  • Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • General Studies
  • Humanities

New College places unique emphasis on in-depth undergraduate research and personalized learning. Students have the opportunity to take part in yearly independent study projects and all students complete and defend a senior project or thesis prior to graduation. New College has garnered many awards for their standard of education, including a higher proportion of Fulbright scholarship winners than virtually all other colleges and universities in the U.S.

Because New College is designated an intentional residential college, all students are required to live on-campus (unless granted a waiver) which creates a rich community life for students. The school offers over 60 clubs for student participation, with the club list changing from year to year as students form new clubs based on their interests.

14

Palm Beach Atlantic University

College Choice Score:: 73.50

Net Cost:: $28,520

School Website:

Palm Beach Atlantic University is a private, inter-denominational Christian university located in West Palm Beach on a 100-acre campus. The school has a core commitment to character formation, and programs integrate a Christian worldview with a liberal arts education. Theological commitments notwithstanding, the school welcomes students of all faiths and backgrounds.

Palm Beach Atlantic offers its 4,000 students a choice of 50 undergraduate majors and 2 master’s programs (Counselor Education, Leadership) as well as online and evening educational opportunities. Among the most commonly studied majors are:

  • Business, Management, Marketing
  • Psychology
  • Theology and Religious Vocations
  • Visual and Performing Arts

At the center of Palm Beach Atlantic’s identity lies ‘Workship’ – their  community service program that responds to local needs in the West Palm Beach community. The program offers students a chance to develop the habit of service while discerning possible vocation. The school also offers students the chance to serve abroad during multi-week mission trips in international locations.

For students who want to experience studying in other parts of the world, Palm Beach Atlantic offers the opportunity to study abroad through the Rinker Center for Experiential Learning (CEL). Students have the option of a semester abroad or a Travel Study trip to one of several international destinations.

15

Flagler College

College Choice Score:: 73.33

Net Cost:: $17,500

School Website:

Flagler College is a young institution located in the oldest city in the nation. The 49-acre campus of this private residential college is located in St. Augustine, a coastal city with a colonial history dating back to 1565. The college has a student body of around 2,700 students and a student to faculty ration of 16:1.

The college offers a liberal arts education at the undergraduate and graduate level with 31 majors and 36 minors that combine academic study with real-world experience. The school combines the standard liberal arts courses with more innovative options such as coastal environment science. The most popular majors include:

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

Students at Flager have more than 30 student clubs and organizations to be involved in, as well as more than 10 intramural sports. The school encourages students to engage in community-integrated projects that bring classroom learning into the local community, and many of the school’s clubs and organizations participate in programs that help local groups.

In addition, Flager offers opportunities for studying abroad which emphasize immersion, reflection, critical thinking, and experiential learning on a global scale. Flagler’s faculty-led study abroad programs vary in length from 1-4 weeks and offer credit for one or two courses.

16

St. Thomas University

College Choice Score:: 72.27

Net Cost:: $28,710

School Website:

Located in the city of Miami Gardens, St. Thomas University is private, Catholic institution. The school, which emphasizes scientific research, social justice, and ethics, is set on a 140-acre campus with a student body population of around 4,900 and a student to faculty ratio of 12:1.

St. Thomas’s six schools and colleges provide a diverse offering of academic programs including 33 undergraduate degrees and 26 graduate degree programs. The school continues to expand its program options with 18 new degrees and 10 new concentrations, including Cyber Security, Trade and Logistics and Sports Tourism. The most popular majors include:

  • Business, Management, Marketing
  • Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences

In addition to its robust undergraduate programs, the St. Thomas University School of Law is one of the most diverse student bodies in the U.S. The school ranks first among all ABA-approved law schools in their proportion of Hispanic students, and sixth among African-American students.

St. Thomas is committed to providing opportunities for internships, study abroad and service learning opportunities which provide valuable work experience, and help to form a habit of service and lifelong learning.

17

University of Central Florida

College Choice Score:: 71.71

Net Cost:: $6,368

School Website:

Located in Orlando, the University of Central Florida is a public research institution and currently the second largest university in the world. Set on a 1,415-acre campus, UCF’s 63,000 students make up a diverse and inclusive university community, with students representing all 50 states and 148 countries.

One of the advantages of attending a large university is the sheer diversity of academic offerings, and UCF does not disappoint. Their 12 colleges offer over 200 degree programs for students to consider, from undergraduate to the doctoral level. Among the most popular majors are:

  • Business, Management, Marketing
  • Health Professions and Related Programs
  • Psychology
  • Education

Students at UCF have earned numerous prestigious awards including the Rhodes, Mellon, and Goldwater scholarships. And UCF itself is the recipient of the prestigious Carnegie Foundation’s highest designation in both community engagement and very high research activity. Students have opportunities to participate in leadership programs, cooperative education, mentorships, internships, service learning and paid research positions.

In the way of recreation, UCF offers a huge array of options from concerts and art shows, sports and student clubs, volunteer opportunities and outdoor activities.  Additionally, the school’s extensive study abroad program allows students to study and conduct research with 98 institutions in 36 countries.

18

Saint Leo University

College Choice Score:: 71.27

Net Cost:: $21,130

School Website:

Located just north of Tampa in the small town of St. Leo, St. Leo University describes itself as a Catholic, liberal arts school serving learners of all faiths. A private institution with a student body of just over 6,000 students at its St. Leo campus, St Leo University is ranked among the best regional schools in the South (US News and World Report) and, including their regional centers and online students, one of the largest Catholic institutions in the country.

St. Leo provides a variety of undergraduate and graduate programs, with over 40 majors for students to choose from. All students take courses in the liberal arts core, called University Explorations, which teaches students to think critically and live ethically. Among the most popular majors are:

  • Business, Management, Marketing
  • Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting
  • Computer and Information Sciences
  • Parks, Recreation, Leisure, and Fitness Studies

In their commitment to make education accessible to everyone, the school offers evening and weekend classes, as well as an impressive online presence. And student surveys show that St. Leo students rate their interactions with faculty highly.

Students at St. Leo have the opportunity to study abroad, either by spending a semester in another country or by going on a faculty-led short-term study abroad trip. And the campus has over 70 clubs and organizations, as well as campus events and athletics.

19

Nova Southeastern University

College Choice Score:: 70.02

Net Cost:: $28,736

School Website:

Located in Ft. Lauderdale, Nova Southeastern University is a young, innovative, private research institution with a focus on the physical and social sciences. Founded in 1964, the school has a student body population of approximately 24,000 students and is the largest private, not-for-profit institution in the United States that meets the U.S. Department of Education’s criteria as a Hispanic-serving Institution.

Nova Southeastern has 18 colleges, schools and centers that offer a wide variety of degree programs (over 160 programs), from undergraduate through doctoral work. Among the 50 majors that undergraduates can choose from, the most popular are:

  • Health Professions and Related Programs
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
  • Business, Management, Marketing
  • Psychology

Nova Southeastern boasts a student to faculty ratio of 16:1 allowing for small class sizes: almost 80% of classes have fewer than 20 students. Due to their focus on flexible, alternative learning formats, the school is a recipient of the Carnegie Foundation’s prestigious Community Engagement Classification.

In addition to rigorous academics, Nova Southeastern also has more than 400 undergraduate and graduate student organizations, a powerful student government, fraternities and sororities, and intramural sports – as well as school-sponsored events and activities.

20

Eckerd College

College Choice Score:: 69.35

Net Cost:: $41,538

School Website:

A private, liberal arts and sciences college with a waterfront campus that overlooks Boca Ciega Bay at the tip of the city of St. Petersburg, Eckerd College is a relatively young and small institution. Founded in 1960 and currently with a population of 1,789 students, Eckerd College boasts small class sizes and personalized learning experiences.

All students at Eckerd take General Education courses that cover art, literature and the natural and social sciences. In addition, students have over 40 majors to choose from, including the four most popular:

  • Marine Sciences,
  • Biology, General
  • Psychology, General
  • International Business

With a 13:1 student to faculty ratio, Eckerd emphasizes small class sizes and the mentorship role of faculty. The school also promises to combine study, travel, research and internships to prepare students life after graduation. Eckerd operates on a 4-1-4 calendar, giving students the opportunity to study abroad during the January Winter Term or semester-long programs. Nearly 85 percent of Eckerd graduates have spent at least one term overseas.

Most traditional-age students live on their beachfront campus, making it easy to take part in the multitude of campus events, which include an International Cinema Series and various art exhibitions, theater performances, poetry slams, writing workshops and guest lectures.

21

University of South Florida-St. Petersburg

College Choice Score:: 68.07

Net Cost:: $5,830

School Website:

A member of the University of South Florida University system and located on the waterfront of St. Petersburg, the University of South Florida – St. Petersburg (commonly known as USF St. Pete) has a student body of 4,734. The school is self-described as a close-knit, student-centered learning community that conducts wide-ranging, collaborative research to meet society’s needs.

With a student to faculty ratio of 16:1, USF – St. Petersburg offers an educational setting that fosters relationships in smaller class sizes, undergraduate research, and engagement with the broader community. The school offers 24 bachelor’s degree programs and 17 master’s degree options. The most popular majors include:

  • Business, Management, Marketing
  • Social Sciences
  • Psychology
  • Education

For those interested in studying Business, USF – St. Petersburg’s College of Business is accredited by the prestigious AACSB for both Business and Accounting. Additionally, USF-St. Petersburg is a recipient of the Carnegie Foundation’s award for Community Engagement.

When not studying, students at USF- St. Petersburg have numerous opportunities for social interaction, both on campus and in the city of St. Petersburg. The school itself has many clubs and organizations, offering students the opportunity to engage in everything from school media to sports and cultural events.

22

Florida Gulf Coast University

College Choice Score:: 66.13

Net Cost:: $6,118

School Website:

Founded in 1991, Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) is a public university located in Fort Myers in Southwest Florida. Despite the youth of the institution, FGCU ranks among the top regional universities in the South with one of the highest graduate employment rates among the state’s universities.

Through their five colleges (Arts and Sciences, Education, Health Professions and Social Work, Lutgert College of Business, UA Whitaker College of Engineering) students have a wide range of undergraduate and graduate degrees to choose from. Among the most popular majors are:

  • Business, Management, Marketing
  • Psychology
  • Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting

FGCU has a particular focus on encouraging excellence in the STEM disciplines, health professions, business, and marine and environmental sciences. And the school emphasizes innovative, student-centered teaching and learning, and promotes and practices environmental sustainability.

For recreation, FGCU’s 13,700 students have over 180 student organizations, as well as 26 sports clubs for their involvement. The school also offers opportunities for public service, with over 2 million hours of student service hours accrued in the community since 1997.

23

Florida Memorial University

College Choice Score:: 65.70

Net Cost:: $15,280

School Website:

Founded in 1879, Florida Memorial University (FMU) is a private, historically black university located in Miami. The school, which has a student population of 1,467, is ranked among the best regional universities in the South, as well as one of the best historically black universities nationally. FMU is affiliated with the Baptist Church and has a deep commitment to providing a quality liberal arts education.

FMU offers 41 undergraduate programs and 4 master’s programs through their three schools: The School of Arts and Sciences, the ACBSP accredited School of Business, and the School of Education. Among the most popular majors are:

  • Elementary Education and Teaching
  • Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration
  • Psychology, General
  • Accounting

The student to faculty ratio at FMU is 15:1, allowing for small class sizes and personal interaction between students and their instructors. All FMU degree programs focus on graduating students who are well prepared in their discipline to enter a competitive job market, and the Career Center helps students focus their career plans with computerized career assessment tools, career fairs, recruitment drives, and various networking events.

“Leadership, Character, and Service” is the motto of FMU and students have the opportunity to be involved in campus activities and the 40 student organizations that complement their academic programs.

24

Keiser University

College Choice Score:: 61.94

Net Cost:: $17,664

School Website:

Founded in 1977, Keiser University is a private university located in Fort Lauderdale. The school, which has a student population of over 16,000, provides career-focussed undergraduate and graduate education to their diverse student body.

Keiser offers a wide variety of career focussed degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate level – from Business to Criminal Justice, Graphic Arts, and Health Care. Among the most popular majors are:

  • Business Administration and Management
  • Criminal Justice/Safety Studies
  • Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies

Keiser’s ethos centers around making education accessible for a variety of student needs. This involves flexible scheduling and delivery formats and,  to avoid juggling multiple classes, students attend one class at a time for four weeks and take a final exam before moving on to the next class. Class sizes are also kept small to foster connections between students and faculty.

Student Support Services at Keiser are dedicated to eliminating barriers to student learning. Staff are available to assist with résumé preparation, interviewing skills, mock interviewing, professional development workshops, and job postings on the online career center. Student organizations such as Student Government Association, Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, and Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society also provide opportunities for participation.

25

Warner University

College Choice Score:: 58.64

Net Cost:: $19,754

School Website:

Founded in 1968 by Church of God pastors and laity, Warner University is a small, private, Christian liberal arts college located in the small town of Lake Wales. Warner University, which has a highly diverse student body (with 60% of students identifying themselves as black and Hispanic), maintains a student to faculty ratio of 15:1 and is listed among the top regional universities in the South (US News and World Report).

Warner University offers more than 30 undergraduate majors, and 4 master’s programs including recently added majors like: Agricultural Studies, Sports Communication, Exercise and Sport Leadership, and Interdisciplinary Ministry. The most popular majors include:

  • Business Administration, Management and Operations
  • Elementary Education and Teaching
  • Theology/Theological Studies
  • Business Administration and Management

Graduates from Warner University’s Teacher Education program have enjoyed 100% job placement for more than 15 years and, when compared to the other 30 private colleges that make up the Independent Colleges & Universities of Florida (ICUF), the school recently ranked second in employment rates for all graduates.

In addition to academic programs, students at Warner have access to a variety of cultural, educational, social, and recreational programs, as well as study abroad and mission opportunities – both abroad and in the local community.

26

Barry University

College Choice Score:: 58.09

Net Cost:: $28,800

School Website:

Located in Miami Shores, Barry University is a private, Catholic university with a broad arts and sciences focus. The school, which has a student population of 7,971, boasts metropolitan vitality, a diversity of ages, cultures, faiths, and perspectives and a  personalized and purposeful approach to education.

Students at Barry University have access to more than 100 academic programs, including master’s degrees in the Andreas School of Business, the Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law and the Adrian Dominican School of Education. A few of the majors offered include:

  • Marine Biology
  • Nursing
  • Business Administration
  • Computer Science

For students who are unable to attend traditional classes, Barry University is also home to the School of Professional and Career Education, which offers classes across Florida, usually in the evenings or on Saturdays, that can fulfill bachelor’s, master’s and certificate requirements.

Barry’s University’s 60+ student organizations provide opportunities for students to stretch themselves, expand their perspective, learn how to lead and, of course, enjoy themselves. The school also offers the opportunity to study abroad, as well as take part in local and distant service projects like Habitat for Humanity, ecological restoration projects, or helping at local homeless shelters.

27

Lynn University

College Choice Score:: 56.82

Net Cost:: $36,350

School Website:

Located in Boca Raton, Lynn University is a relatively small, private liberal arts college that was founded in 1962. That may not sound particularly unique, but what makes Lynn University distinctive is the school’s student body: of the 2,693 students enrolled, nearly 100 countries and all 50 states are represented, making Lynn one of the most international schools in the country.  The school was also ranked as the third most innovative in the U.S. in 2017 (US News and World Report).

Lynn’s academic ethos is to remain grounded in the liberal arts while containing a collection of colleges oriented toward emerging professional opportunities. The school’s five colleges offer over 37 majors, the most popular of which include:

  • Business, Management, Marketing
  • Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting
  • Psychology
  • Visual and Performing Arts

In addition to their global focus, Lynn University has developed an innovative program called Lynn 3.0. For students who are motivated to work hard, the 3.0 program offers the opportunity take advanced classes and finish their degree in three years, thereby saving thousands of dollars.

And for students who want to study outside of the U.S., Lynn’s Center for Learning Abroad offers three-week, semester, or year-long programs in one of 50 programs in 20 countries.

28

Florida A&M University

College Choice Score:: 54.51

Net Cost:: $5,785

School Website:

Founded in Tallahassee in 1887, Florida A&M University (FAMU) is a public institution, and the only historically black university in the State University System of Florida.  FAMU has a student population of 9,928 which represents every state in the nation as well as 70 countries. The school has ranked highly among historically black colleges and universities, as well as among national universities (US News and World Report).

Florida A&M University has long since moved beyond the ‘Agricultural and Mechanical’ margins of its beginnings. The University now offers 54 bachelor’s degrees, 29 master’s degrees, three professional degrees, and 12 doctoral programs in a wide range of academic areas. Among the most popular majors are:

  • Business Administration
  • Biology
  • Criminal Justice
  • Allied Health

FAMU is also home to several institutes and centers where faculty and students work side-by-side, conducting research to develop solutions to society’s challenges. Among these is the Sustainability Institute in which students and faculty are working with international stakeholders to provide solutions to global socio-economic, ecological, and energy sustainability issues.

In addition to a beautiful campus, FAMU has more than 100 recognized student clubs and organizations which provide students with the opportunity to actively engage in a broad range of educational and recreational activities.

29

Florida Atlantic University

College Choice Score:: 54.21

Net Cost:: $4,831

School Website:

Situated on a 850-acre campus in the city of Boca Raton, Florida Atlantic University is a public institution that was founded in 1962. From its inception, Florida Atlantic has put innovation and accessibility at its center, and today the university serves more than 30,000 freshmen, transfers and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida.

Students at Florida Atlantic University can choose between 180 degree programs from the undergraduate through doctoral levels. Some of the most popular majors the university offers include:

  • Business, Management, Marketing
  • Social Sciences
  • Health Professions
  • Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Florida Atlantic’s School of Business’s undergraduate program, which is accredited by the prestigious AACSB, was ranked among the best in the nation in 2017 (US News and World Report), as was their doctoral Engineering program. And, in line with the school’s focus on accessibility, they have received distinction for their online graduate programs.

In addition to the supportive learning environment, the Boca Raton campus features several facilities that support student activities and meetings.  Its recreation complex includes an aquatic center, gymnasium, tennis courts, wellness center, track, and a variety of fields for club and intramural sports competition.

30

Florida International University

College Choice Score:: 53.98

Net Cost:: $6,556

School Website:

Located in Miami, Florida International University (FIU) is the state’s only top-tier public research university. Founded in 1972 as a university for upper-classmen and graduate students, the school now has a student population of almost 50,000 students ranging from freshmen to doctoral candidates. About 60 percent of students who attend the university are Hispanic, making the school one of the top granters of bachelor’s degrees to Hispanic undergraduates.

Through their 11 colleges and schools, Florida International University offers more than 190 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs, including a variety of fully-online programs. The most popular majors include:

  • Business, Management, Marketing
  • Psychology
  • Social Sciences
  • Health Professions and Related Programs

FIU emphasizes research as a major component of the university’s mission. The Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine and the School of Computing and Information Sciences’ Discovery Lab, are just two of many colleges, schools, and centers whose research initiatives are putting FIU’s name on the academic map.

As a large university set in an urban environment, FIU offers students a plethora of opportunities for socialization and recreation. From art exhibits and theatre productions, to athletics, outdoor recreation and even an organic farmer’s market on campus every Wednesday, there’s little opportunity for boredom at FIU.

31

Edward Waters College

College Choice Score:: 52.53

Net Cost:: $12,525

School Website:

Established in Jacksonville in 1866, Edward Waters College is one of the oldest private institutions in the state and the first college established for the education of African Americans. Named after the third Bishop of the AME church, the school describes itself as a small, private, Christian, historically black, urban, liberal arts college. The school has a trifold focus on scholarship, research, and service and strives to prepare students to thrive in a global world.

The liberal arts program at Edward College aims to be rigorous, inclusive, pragmatic, and socially responsible. The school provides eight degree programs with several majors, including:

  • Biology
  • Elementary Education
  • Communications
  • Business Administration

The teaching and learning environment at Edward Waters is specifically designed to provide support for their students, who come from a diverse array of national, racial/ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds. In addition to accessible teaching, the College offers a comprehensive academic support system which includes: academic advising, learning labs, and tutoring.

At Edward Waters College, campus activities are an integral part the educational experience, serving to educate, motivate, and challenge students. The school has a variety of clubs and organizations, ranging from the Government Association, to service volunteer activities and recreational and sports activities.

32

Chipola College

College Choice Score:: 51.84

Net Cost:: $3,120

School Website:

Situated near the Chipola River in the small city of Marianna, Chipola College is a member institution of the Florida College System. The school has a mission to provide access to quality learning opportunities toward certificates, bachelor’s and associate degrees, while adding to the economic, social, and cultural development of the school’s service area.

Chipola College has a strong workforce development program, and also offers 10 Bachelor’s of Science degrees in education, business and nursing. Chipola is also known for transferring students to other universities in the state. Among the majors that students may choose are:

  • Business Administration: Accounting
  • Business Administration: Management
  • Elementary Education
  • Nursing

Chipola offers a range of student services, including the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) which provides free tutoring or test reviews in almost every subject. The tutors in the ACE program provide encouragement, motivation and positive reinforcement to Chipola students. There is also a Career Service Center (CareerSource) that assists students in choosing career goals, college majors, and directions in life.

Chipola’s small college environment and small class sizes make for a supportive educational experience for students. Chipola also has over 20 student organizations – from the pre-med club to the show choir – that provide opportunities for socialization, recreation, and academic support.

33

Lake-Sumter State College

College Choice Score:: 50.50

Net Cost:: $3,172

School Website:

Located in the town of Leesburg in central Florida, Lake-Sumter State College (LSSC) is a public college and a member institution of the Florida College System.  The college was founded in 1962 to provide the opportunity for Lake and Sumter County students to receive an advanced education. The school has since grown into a three-campus institution serving over 7500 students annually.

Lake-Sumter State College offers three Associate degrees: Associate of Arts, Science, or Applied Science. In addition to these degree programs, Technical Certificate programs are available in a variety of academic disciplines. Available majors include:

  • Engineering Technology
  • General Studies
  • Business Administration
  • Early Childhood Education

In addition to the Associate’s degrees, LSSC recently began offering its first 2+2 baccalaureate degree, the Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Organizational Management. This degree is designed for the working adult who already has an AA or AS degree. Classes take place in the evenings.

LSSC has several recognized student clubs and organizations which provide students with the opportunity to engage in a broad range of educational and recreational activities. In addition, LSSC’s theater, music and arts programs present cultural entertainment throughout the year, while their women’s volleyball and softball and men’s baseball teams compete in collegiate games.

34

Bethune-Cookman University

College Choice Score:: 49.65

Net Cost:: $14,410

School Website:

Originally established in 1904, Bethune-Cookman University is a private, Christian, historically black university with ties to the Methodist Church. Situated on 82 acres in Daytona Beach, the school has a diverse student body of around 3,800 students. The school has distinguished itself among historically black colleges and universities nationally.

Bethune-Cookman has a tradition of both teaching and mentoring students as well as conducting research, publishing and maintaining high academic standards.Through their 9 colleges and schools, Bethune-Cookman University offers 39 undergraduate degrees and six master’s degrees.  The most popular majors include:

  • Corrections and Criminal Justice
  • Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Business Administration and Management
  • Psychology

Of particular note is Bethune-Cookman’s College of Science, Engineering and Math which has received special distinction, being featured in 2017 among the top Engineering programs in the country (US News and World Report). The school also has a robust online and professional studies program (both undergraduate and graduate) for students who are unable to attend college on campus.

Outside of the classroom, Bethune-Cookman has maintained intercollegiate athletic programs and instrumental and choral groups that have achieved national recognition. Additionally, there are over 80 campus organizations/clubs which range from Greek fraternities and sororities to community service groups, and academic societies.

35

Webber International University

College Choice Score:: 49.07

Net Cost:: $24,792

School Website:

Founded in 1927, Webber International University is a small, private institution located in Babson Park, in the rolling hills of Polk County.  Webber International University is small in size, but by maintaining a focus on business and pre-professional studies, they have been able to offer a breadth and depth of learning often not possible for small universities.

Students at Webber have the option of an Associate of Science or Bachelor of Science degree at the undergraduate level and an IACBE accredited MBA at the graduate level. The B.Sc. in Business Administration degree is also IACBE accredited and features 8 majors including:

  • Accounting
  • Computer Information Systems
  • Finance
  • Hospitality Tourism Management

In addition to their campus-based degrees, Webber students have access to an online B.Sc. in Business Administration degrees as well as the B.Sc. in General Business Studies. The school also offers a range of student supports which include the Babson Learning Resource Center and the Programs for Academic Student Success (PASS) Center which provides peer tutoring services.

In addition to high-quality business education, Webber is committed to maintaining small class sizes and a uniquely personal university experience. Campus activities include the annual  Beach Party, Constitution Day, Bowling Nights, Movie Nights and more.

36

Hodges University

College Choice Score:: 48.86

Net Cost:: $13,700

School Website:

Founded in 1990, Hodges University is a private, non-profit institution of higher learning. With campuses located in Naples and Fort Myers, the university uses its local roots and global reach to provide transformation, learner-driven educational opportunities for its students. In addition to offering associate, baccalaureate and graduate degrees in a variety of disciplines and delivery options, Hodges University enhances the ability of students to achieve personal and professional objectives through diverse educational experiences and programs.

Hodges University offers over 30 associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in a wide array of disciplines including business, health-care and technology. Among the most popular majors are:

  • Health Professions and Related Programs
  • Business, Management, Marketing
  • Computer and Information Sciences
  • Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting

Hodges University maintains a 15:1 student to faculty ratio, keeping class sizes to an average of 14 students.  And Hodges displays a deep commitment to accessibility. The school has several online degree programs as well as flexible scheduling options like an accelerated 7½-week term, available for select courses. And for highly self-motivated students, Hodges offers a self-paced competency-based degree option, Upower, which allows students to earn their degree at a fraction of the cost of traditional programs. You can find the source for their tuition here.

In addition to their academic programs, Hodges University supports eight mission-driven student organizations – from community service  to student government – which connect the campus community and provide opportunities for meaningful student involvement.

37

University of West Florida

College Choice Score:: 47.60

Net Cost:: $6,360

School Website:

Founded in Pensacola in 1963, the University of West Florida (UWF) is a public university with multiple locations throughout Northwest Florida and a strong online presence. UWF’s mission is to provide their almost 13,000 students with access to high-quality, relevant, and affordable undergraduate and graduate learning experiences.  

The University of West Florida is home to five academic colleges, offering more than 45 undergraduate degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs, two specialist degrees and a doctorate in education. The most popular majors are:

  • Health Professions
  • Business Administration and Management
  • Social Sciences
  • Psychology

As a research institution, the University of West Florida runs a variety of centers and institutes, offering students and faculty the opportunity for collaborative research. And the school has been garnering national attention for their educational approach: in 2015, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching recognized UWF for its community engagement. Also, UWF’s AACSB accredited College of Business was ranked among the best in the nation in 2017 (US News and World Report), as was their Engineering program.

To help students connect once they are enrolled, there are more than 150 UWF student clubs and organizations, ranging from sports clubs to fraternities and sororities, as well as academic clubs and social service groups.

38

Johnson University Florida

College Choice Score:: 47.02

Net Cost:: $14,270

School Website:

Located in the city of Kissimee, just south of Orlando, Johnson University is a private, Christian university. Founded in 1975 as Florida Christian College, the university is part of the Johnson University System and strives to equip individuals for Christian ministries and other strategic service vocations.

At Johnson University Florida, students have access to more than 15 academic programs. Each of Johnson’s undergraduate programs offers both a biblical core and an arts and sciences core to ensure that students are well-rounded and have a solid biblical foundation for their area of study. Programs include:

  • Business Administration
  • Pastoral Care & Counselling
  • Human Services
  • Nonprofit Administration

Johnson University keeps class sizes small, and their 12:1 student to faculty ratio provides each student with a personalized education. Also, as part of the Johnson University System, students have the opportunity to pursue advanced degrees either on Johnson’s Tennessee campus or through the online campus.  

And at Johnson, students find a community that is easy to connect with through campus activities and organizations. Students are required to participate in 15 hours of Christian service each term, and weekly chapel services and discipleship groups provide a place for spiritual formation and community.

39

Rasmussen College

College Choice Score:: 46.76

Net Cost:: $9,360

School Website:

The only for-profit college on our list, Rasmussen College has three campuses in Florida: Ft. Myers, Ocala, and Tampa. With a focus on career preparation, Rasmussen has made great strides in providing an accredited, affordable and accessible education for students through both traditional, campus-based courses, and online delivery.

Rasmussen College is organized into seven schools (Health Sciences, Design, Business, Justice Studies, Education, Nursing, and Technology) which offer more than 70 programs for in-demand professions. Rasmussen offers Certificates, Diplomas, and Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, including:

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Design
  • Health Information Management
  • Early Childhood Education

Programs vary from campus to campus, so it is important to ensure that the program you are interested in is available at your campus. Rasmussen strives to make every student’s experience personal and meaningful, and their Support+ network offers a range of support services to ensure student success. Each student at Rasmussen has their own advisor to help with course scheduling, financial aid, and learning support.

And student support does not end in the classroom. The Rasmussen Career Center stays connected to a network of employers in the metro area and offers comprehensive career support to help students prepare for a successful profession in their community.

40

Florida College

College Choice Score:: 45.93

Net Cost:: $16,074

School Website:

Founded in 1946, Florida College is a private, Christian university situated 8 miles northeast of Tampa in the city of Temple Terrace. The school is affiliated with (but without formal ties to) the non-institutional Churches of Christ, and provides a higher education with a biblical perspective.

Florida College promises a rigorous education in an encouraging environment and provides students with a  variety of programs at the baccalaureate level. Programs include a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in 17 majors including:

  • Biblical Studies
  • Business Administration
  • Elementary Education
  • Pre-Professional Health Sciences
  • Pre-law

With a student to faculty ratio of 13:1, students at Florida College receive a personalized education in which relationships with faculty play a central role.  Faculty at Florida College integrate biblical perspectives into course curricula as well as exemplifying biblical principles of behavior and encouraging spiritual growth.

Students also have the opportunity to study abroad on short-term, faculty-led trips. In 2017, students and faculty will take a Reformation Tour of Europe, following in the footsteps of Martin Luther and other reformers. Additionally, a variety of student organizations provide points of connection and support on campus, including fine arts, intramural sports, student government and service activities.

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