Best Online Colleges in Florida

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Florida has supported distance and online learning programs for decades. In 1996, the state launched the Florida Community College Distance Learning Consortium, a network of public and private colleges that work to create and develop statewide online learning initiatives. Next came the Florida Virtual Campus in 1999, which provides online educational resources and support to high school and college students. These resources include access to digital journal and library databases, online courses, and virtual student services.

Together, these initiatives make Florida one of the best states for online learners. Between 2006 and 2011, enrollment in postsecondary online courses increased by 128.8%, and today there are well over 150 online colleges, degree programs, and learning initiatives throughout the state.

Online colleges in Florida have provided a venue for frugal students to obtain degrees and certificates without incurring significant debt. Like most states, tuition rates in Florida have spiked in recent years alongside major cutbacks in state funding and appropriations. However, grants account for nearly 12% of the state’s total financial support for higher education, a significant allocation that helps individual students save on tuition and related expenses. Additionally, the rise of online programs has encouraged many students to study in a distance program, where costs are generally lower.

2016 Online Education Trends Report: Learn how online programs are changing the face of higher education.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description    
1

University of Florida

 2/587.51%Gainesville, FL

campus_University_of_FLorida

The University of Florida in Gainesville is one of the top public universities in the South. The distance education program offers the same education that residential students receive. The available undergraduate programs include:

  • Anthropology, B.A.
  • Business Administration, B.S.
  • Computer Science, B.S.
  • Health Education & Behavior, B.S.
  • Public Relations, B.S.

The application process for UF Online is straightforward. Complete the application, submit the application fee, and send ACT and/or SAT scores.

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2

University of Central Florida

 2/569.7%Orlando, FL

campus_university_of_central_florida2

The University of Central Florida offers undergraduate degrees and in-demand graduate programs along with certificate, baccalaureate completion programs, and undergraduate minors. The online undergraduate programs include:

  • Applied Science, B.S.
  • Communication and Conflict, B.A.
  • English - Technical Communication, B.A
  • Nursing B.S.N. Completion Programs
  • Technical Education and Industry Training, B.S.
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3

University of West Florida

 2/551.46%Pensacola, FL

campus_university_of_west_florida

The University of West Florida online consists of the 60 semester hours of online upper division coursework. While UWF also partners with state and community colleges to help meet any other online lower division course requirements. Its undergraduate programs include:

  • Career and Technical Education, B.S.
  • Engineering Technology, B.S. - Information Engineering Technology
  • Information Technology, B.S. - Network Systems Operations
  • Maritime Studies, B.A.
  • Social Sciences, Interdisciplinary, B.A. - Teaching and Learning

UWF is a military-friendly school. The UWF out-of-state fee waiver covers the out-of-state portion of assessed tuition and fees for online students.

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4

University of South Florida

 2/567.19%Tampa, FL

campus-university-of-south-florida

The University of South Florida Innovative Education offers bachelor’s and master's degree in an online format. Students can also choose from hundreds of individual courses online. Online program offerings include:

  • Applied Sciences – Information Studies, B.S.
  • Applied Sciences – Public Health, B.S.
  • Information Technology, B.S.
  • Nursing, RN to B.S.
  • Women's and Gender Studies, B.A.

USF has one of the top 20 Online Graduate Computer Information Technology Programs in the country. USF online features its Innovation Hub, which provides a space for faculty and instructional designers to create high-quality online courses.

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5

Florida State University

 2/579.13%Tallahassee, FL

campus-florida-state-university

Florida State University’s online undergraduate degree programs are advanced standing degree programs. Students are required to have completed 60 or more semester hours of transferable credit and must also have completed program prerequisites and liberal studies requirements.

The undergraduate programs at FSU include:

  • Public Safety and Security, B.S. (Major in Crime Scene Investigation)
  • Public Safety and Security, B.S. (Major in Law Enforcement Intelligence)
  • Public Safety and Security, B.S. (Major in Law Enforcement Operations)
  • Computer Science, B.A.
  • Social Science, B.S.
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6

Florida International University

 2/554.19%Miami, FL

Florida International University’s online courses are hosted on Blackboard, an easy-to-use learning management system that FIU Online uses to host all its online courses. Students and faculty can post and share documents and other course content and communicate via email, real-time chats, or discussion boards.

  • Communication Arts: Organization Communication Studies, B.A.
  • Finance, BBA
  • Health Services Administration, BHSA
  • International Business, BBA
  • Logistics and Supply Chain Management, BBA
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7

University of North Florida

 2/5N/AFL

In addition to fully online degrees, the University of North Florida also offers hundreds of distance learning courses. UNF defines distance learning as at least 80% of coursework taught using some kind of technology when students and faculty are separated by space or time. It offers postgraduate and certificate programs, such as:

  • Doctor of Clinical Nutrition
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Master of Science in American Sign Language/English Interpreting
  • Master of Education in Special Education: Autism Track
  • Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood Education
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8

The Baptist College of Florida

 2/546.94%Graceville, FL

Baptist College of Florida’s online courses are through the Campus Web Learning Management System (LMS). The LMS system allows students to study online with most of the capabilities of our traditional classrooms. Students can participate in the forums at any time of day or night.

The College’s online courses are given over a 15 week period. Students receive the syllabus two weeks prior to class so they can organize their schedules. The College’s online classes rely on asynchronous communication, which means participating in a “threaded discussion” similar to an Internet forum. The professor initiates questions in the forum.

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9

Jacksonville University

 4/540.82%Jacksonville, FL

Jacksonville University offers Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The RN to BSN online degree exposes students to broad range of nursing subjects from community health, critical care, and research and assessment. It also emphasizes general education subjects such as nutrition, statistics, and anatomy and physiology.

The online BS in Nursing program is designed for working RNs who are looking for a CCNE-accredited nursing school online. Jacksonville University offers a scholarship for Online RN to BSN students. The scholarship supports the ongoing professional development of RNs.

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10

Remington College-Heathrow Campus

 3/5N/AHeathrow, FL

Remington College offers online associate degrees and online bachelor’s degree programs. The programs are designed to prepare students for jobs after graduation. Associate degree programs offered are Health Information Technology, Paralegal and Occupational Therapy Assistant. Its 4-year degrees include:

  • General Business Concentration
  • Human Resources Concentration
  • Management Concentration
  • Organizational Management
  • Health Information Management

Remington is also a strong college in Florida for medical assisting and offers an online diploma program in the subject. Courses include Fundamentals of Medical Assisting, Medical Laboratory Procedures, Cardiac Specialty Procedures, and Coding and Billing. The program helps students prepare to sit for the Certified Clinical Medical Assisting (CCMA) exam.

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11

Northwood University – Florida

 4/527.78%West Palm Beach, FL

Northwood University – Florida offers a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree online. Students can major in a number of online programs, including:

  • Aftermarket Management
  • Applied Management
  • Computer Information Management (Transfer Students Only)
  • Franchising Management (Northwood is the only fully-accredited university in North America to offer a bachelor's degree in this discipline)
  • Health Care Management

Northwood University is based in Michigan but their Florida Education Center is located in West Palm Beach. It was founded in 1959 as the Northwood Institute in Alma, Michigan.

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12

St. Thomas University-Florida

 4/532.7%Miami Gardens, FL

St. Thomas University specializes in advanced online degrees and is a top notch option for those seeking an online education in Florida. Its online learning system is named HotChalk Ember and it allows students to work on course topics and engage with instructors and fellow students through a variety of Internet-based tools and services. These include audio and video based lectures and presentations, online/streaming voice conversations, discussion boards, document downloads, and online chats.

Along with an Ed.D. in Leadership and Management, St. Thomas also offers master’s degrees in subjects such as:

  • Business Administration (MBA)
  • Trade and Logistics Management
  • Educational Leadership
  • Instructional Technology
  • Reading Education
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13

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach

 5/552.36%Daytona Beach, FL

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach offers online associate, bachelor’s, master's, and Ph.D. degrees along with certificate programs. In 1971 it became one of the first 20 universities in the world to offer distance learning. Today, it offers online bachelor’s degrees in subjects such as:

  • Aeronautics
  • Aviation Business Administration
  • Emergency Services
  • Engineering Technology
  • Unmanned Systems Applications

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University delivers online courses through EagleVision, a virtual classroom that combines Web video conferencing and a learning management system. EagleVision allows for real-time collaboration between students and faculty.

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14

Adventist University of Health Sciences

 3/5N/AFL

Adventist University Health Science is run by the Seventh-day Adventist church and specializes in healthcare careers; it aims to develop leaders who will practice healthcare as a ministry. Adventist University of Health Sciences offers an online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-to-BSN completion option), Radiologic Sciences (completion degree), and Diagnostic Medical Sonography (completion degree). They also offer an Executive Master of Healthcare Administration.

Students in the residential program gain clinical experience at the Florida Hospital in Downtown Orlando. Florida Hospital is the largest of more than 350 worldwide healthcare facilities operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

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15

Florida Institute of Technology – Online

 5/5N/AMelbourne, FL

Florida Institute of Technology’s online division, known as Florida Tech, offers associate, bachelor’s, certificates, and even advanced degrees. Its baccalaureate degree offerings include:

  • Applied Psychology
  • Aviation Management
  • Business Administration Computer Information Systems
  • Criminal Justice Homeland Security
  • Computer Information Systems

Students enrolled in any bachelor’s degree program can add a Human Resources Administration minor.

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16

Florida Atlantic University

 1/545.95%Boca Raton, FL

Florida Atlantic University’s Center for eLearning has a number of fully-online degree programs including a master’s and Phd in business. They also offer undergraduate business degrees such as a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting, Business Administration in Marketing, and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management with a Concentration in Leadership and Applied Managerial Skills. Other degrees offered include:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice
  • Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with Multicultural Education Specialization
  • Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with TESOL Specialization
  • Master of Education in Instructional Technology
  • Master of Science, Exercise Science and Health Promotion
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17

Hodges University

 3/528.74%Naples, FL

Hodges University delivers its online degrees using Blackboard, an online platform that streamlines peer interaction and instructional support. Students can complete their associate, bachelor’s, or master’s online at Hodges.

Hodges is a private university founded in Naples in 1990 as International College. The school was renamed Hodges University in 2007. Its schools include the Fisher School of Technology, Johnson School of Business, Nichols School of Professional Studies, School of Allied Health, and School of Liberal Studies. Hodges is known for its English as a Second Language (ESL) program.

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18

Valencia College

 1/544.46%Orlando, FL

Valencia College offers online courses for most subject areas. The college offers Career Coach, a free online tool that helps students explore potential careers. The real-time information is customized for Orange and Osceola counties. The school promises the same resources for both online and residential students.

The Aspen Institute awarded Valencia the first Aspen Prize for College Excellence. School alumni include two famous musicians: Howie Dorough (1993) of the Backstreet Boys and Chris Kirkpatrick (1993) of N'Sync.

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19

Florida Gulf Coast University

 2/549.12%Fort Myers, FL

Florida Gulf Coast University offers accredited courses and degree programs through its distance education program. Some of the online degree programs offered include:

  • Master's in Business Administration
  • Master's in Public Administration
  • Special Education, MEd
  • Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies

Online certificate programs include Health Services Administration and Local Government Management and Planning. It also offers many online courses that are not part of an online degree program.

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20

Warner University

 3/537.67%Lake Wales, FL

Warner University is a private Christian college in Lake Wales that is run by the Church of God. It offers online associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, along with certificate programs. Available degrees include the following:

  • The Associate of Science in Church Ministry
  • The Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration
  • The Bachelor of Arts in Educational Studies
  • The Bachelor of Science in Transformational Christian Ministry
  • Master of Science in Management (MSM)
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21

Northwest Florida State College

 1/539.91%Niceville, FL

Northwest Florida State College offers associate and bachelor’s degrees fully online. The NWF Online Campus offers technical support and other virtual student resources. NWF offers a Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) Degree in Management and Supervision and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The nursing program is an R.N. to B.S.N. degree and is open to applicants who currently hold a valid Florida Registered Nursing license and have completed an accredited ADN or diploma program.

It offers several online associate degrees in subjects such as:

  • Accounting
  • Business Administration
  • Computer Information Science
  • Information Technology
  • Psychology, General
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22

Palm Beach Atlantic University

 4/554.95%West Palm Beach, FL

Palm Beach Atlantic University offers online degrees through its Office of Online Learning. It provides the infrastructure, training, and technical support to maintain the excellence of its online courses. The University partners with eCollege and Class Live Pro, which offers a virtual classroom that operates in real time. It offers the following degrees online:

  • Ministry, B.A.
  • Nursing, RN to BSN
  • Organizational Management, B.S.
  • Psychology, B.S.
  • Leadership, M.S.

Palm Beach Atlantic University was founded in 1968 as a Christian university. PBA's main campus is in the city of West Palm Beach.

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23

Nova Southeastern University

 4/546.11%Fort Lauderdale, FL

Nova Southeastern University participates in the Southern Regional Education Board's Electronic Campus program. Eighty-three of NSU's programs have been certified by the SREB. It offers the following online bachelor’s programs:

  • Business Management, B.S.
  • Computer Information Systems, B.S.
  • Health Science, B.S.
  • Psychology, B.S.
  • Nursing, B.S.

It offers many master’s degree programs online, including:

  • Human Resource Management, M.S.
  • Information Security, M.S.
  • Information Technology, M.S.
  • Instructional Technology and Distance Education, M.S.
  • Management Information Systems, M.S.
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24

Daytona State College

 1/536.45%Daytona Beach, FL

Daytona College’s bachelor’s degree programs feature a 2 + 2 model, requiring students to finish an A.S. degree during the first two years of study followed by two years of bachelor’s degree work. Its online bachelor’s programs are:

  • Applied Science in Supervision and Management
  • Engineering Technology
  • Engineering Technology (Electrical Engineering Concentration)
  • Information Technology

The school offers online associate degrees in Accounting Technology, Business Administration, Office Administration, and several other subjects.

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25

City College – Fort Lauderdale

 3/5N/AFL

City College - Fort Lauderdale offers three bachelor’s programs online. Its online Business Administration in Management focuses on global business issues, economics, and the latest technologies. It also emphasizes accounting, human resources, and business law and ethics. City College’s Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration focuses on the political, ethical, legal, social, political, socio-economic, and business issues that affect health care organizations.

City’s College’s third online degree program is its Bachelor of Science in Nursing. The Online RN to BSN program builds on previous nursing experience.

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More About Online Colleges in Florida

As of fall 2012, Florida counted over 150,000 degree seeking students at Title IV institutions that were enrolled exclusively in distance education courses. Over 8,500 non-degree-seeking students enrolled exclusively in distance learning programs.

Browse our list of the best online colleges in Florida for more insight into distance learning programs in this state.

NCES Report

According to a 2012 report by the NCES:

  • 68,064 undergraduates lived in Florida or the same jurisdiction as the school.
  • Those outside Florida totaled over 72,000, and a further 726 came from outside the United States.
  • Over 16,000 graduate students pursued online-exclusive degree programs within Florida’s boundaries.
  • Over 11,000 came from elsewhere in the U.S.