Best Colleges in Florida + Full List of Schools

Check out our guide to the best colleges in Florida to learn about education options and career paths in the Sunshine State.
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Reese Lopez is a writer with over a decade of experience in the education field. After earning his BA in English from Evergreen State College, he worked as an English language instructor and tutor. Reese also writes fiction and performs in the local ...
Updated on October 16, 2023
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Margaret Weinhold is an associate editor for BestColleges, where she focuses on core content. She is passionate about increasing visibility and accessibility around higher education. Margaret holds a BA in English from the University of Virginia....
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  • Florida is home to 43 four-year, nonprofit colleges and universities, providing you with plenty of options.
  • In-state tuition rates are generally affordable, particularly at public schools.
  • Florida offers plenty of high-paying careers for college graduates in many industries.
  • Florida's cost of living is slightly above average but is more affordable than many states.

Known for its mild weather and frequent sunshine, Florida is a top state for higher education. Major schools like the University of Florida and Florida State University serve tens of thousands of students each year, offering comprehensive training in all major academic and professional fields.

Plus, earning a degree in Florida can prepare you to enter the state's thriving job market.

Our guide to the best colleges in Florida offers an overview of higher education in the Sunshine State, including top schools, popular careers, and cost of living. We also provide a complete list of colleges in Florida.

Featured Online Programs

10 Best Colleges in Florida of 2023

Methodology

How did we choose the best colleges in Florida? Our approach considers academic quality, institutional reputation, and the student experience. We also factored in affordability, which ranks as a top concern for many students.

Finally, our list includes both public and private institutions, along with various campus settings and sizes, so you can find the best fit for your needs.

We use datasets from sources like the National Center for Education Statistics to inform the data for these schools. BestColleges.com 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. from our partners appear among these rankings and are indicated as such. All data is current as of the date this article was published. Program-specific information may vary.

BestColleges.com 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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#1 Best Colleges in Florida + Full List of Schools Best Value

University of Florida

  • Gainesville, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Florida's flagship public university tops the rankings for the best college in the state. The University of Florida boasts a 96.7% retention rate. UF enrolls nearly 56,000 students and awards close to 16,000 degrees each year from its sprawling, historic campus in Gainesville. 

At UF, you can choose from over 300 degree-granting programs and 24 fully online majors through UF Online. Whether you live in one of UF's 26 residence halls or enroll online, you benefit from student services and a large alumni network.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$4,477
Out-of-state
$25,694
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$10,770
Out-of-state
$27,335
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: High

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
High
Retention Rate
97%
Acceptance Rate
31%
Students Enrolled
53,372
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
92% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#2 Best Colleges in Florida + Full List of Schools

University of Miami

  • Coral Gables, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Join over 19,000 students at Florida's top-ranked private university. Founded in 1925, the University of Miami offers over 350 majors and programs. Or design a custom major based on your interests. 

Outside of the classroom, you can join over 270 clubs, participate in student government, or join a fraternity or sorority. The university also encourages students to study abroad. 

The University of Miami promises to meet 100% of demonstrated financial need for incoming students. As a result, 73% of first-year students receive financial aid.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$52,080
Out-of-state
$52,080
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$39,060
Out-of-state
$39,060
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
91%
Acceptance Rate
33%
Students Enrolled
17,809
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
33% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#3 Best Colleges in Florida + Full List of Schools Best Value

Florida State University

  • Tallahassee, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Since 1851, college students have traveled to Tallahassee to study. Today, the state's capital is home to Florida State University, one of the best colleges in Florida. It's also an affordable option for Florida residents thanks to a low in-state tuition rate. 

Over 44,000 students attend FSU, which offers over 280 degree-granting programs. The public university's top-ranking programs include statistics, chemistry, psychology, public policy, and creative writing. Undergrads can also contribute to faculty research as part of the school's research opportunity program.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$4,640
Out-of-state
$19,084
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,684
Out-of-state
$24,116
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: High

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
High
Retention Rate
95%
Acceptance Rate
32%
Students Enrolled
43,569
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
97% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#4 Best Colleges in Florida + Full List of Schools Best Value

University of South Florida

  • Tampa, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Tampa's public university dates back to 1956. The University of South Florida serves 37,000 undergrads who choose from 180 majors. You can also participate in study abroad programs and research opportunities to enrich your education.

Sunshine and palm trees decorate the Tampa campus beautifully. And for students, campus life includes over 600 clubs and student organizations, plus an arts scene, wellness center, and athletic events. USF also runs campuses in St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee, so you can branch out from Tampa.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$4,559
Out-of-state
$15,473
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$8,350
Out-of-state
$19,048
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: High

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
High
Retention Rate
92%
Acceptance Rate
49%
Students Enrolled
50,626
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
90% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#5 Best Colleges in Florida + Full List of Schools Best Value

University of Central Florida

  • Orlando, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Florida's largest college is also one of its best. The University of Central Florida enrolls nearly 70,000 students. From its main campus in Orlando, UCF offers over 240 undergraduate and graduate programs. The public university also operates regional locations and multiple online programs. 

More than 18,000 students graduate and join the growing UCF alumni community every year. And 81% of UCF students receive financial aid, which helps nearly 60% of graduates leave campus with no college debt.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$4,478
Out-of-state
$19,810
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$6,916
Out-of-state
$25,759
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: High

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
High
Retention Rate
92%
Acceptance Rate
45%
Students Enrolled
71,881
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
9% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#6 Best Colleges in Florida + Full List of Schools

New College of Florida

  • Sarasota, FL
  • 4 years
  • Campus

Most students don't know that Florida has a public honors college. The New College of Florida fosters curiosity and individuality. With small classes and an individualized curriculum, New College stands out in the state's public college system.

Choose from over 50 majors and participate in student-led research, internships, and other hands-on learning opportunities. Minutes from Gulf Coast beaches and Sarasota's tourist attractions, you can enjoy activities both on and off campus. 

At New College, 90% of students receive scholarships or financial aid. And thanks to the low in-state tuition rate, nearly two-thirds of students graduate with no debt.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$5,227
Out-of-state
$27,159
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$9,555
Out-of-state
$25,444
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Medium

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Medium
Retention Rate
80%
Acceptance Rate
70%
Students Enrolled
675
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
100% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#7 Best Colleges in Florida + Full List of Schools Best Value

Florida International University

  • Miami, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Over 56,000 students come to Miami to attend one of the best colleges in Florida. A public university, Florida International University offers online and on-campus degrees. With over 200 options, plus South Florida's only public medical and law schools, FIU has something for everyone.

At FIU, you can kayak through mangroves, visit 36 on-campus restaurants, or tailgate at homecoming. On top of a low tuition rate, you can also gain valuable experience with FIU's numerous paid internship opportunities.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$4,721
Out-of-state
$16,529
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$8,912
Out-of-state
$21,393
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: High

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
High
Retention Rate
91%
Acceptance Rate
58%
Students Enrolled
58,836
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
86% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#8 Best Colleges in Florida + Full List of Schools Best Value

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

  • Tallahassee, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

It's one of the largest HBCUs in the country — Florida A&M University dates back to 1887. Today, the public, historically Black university enrolls around 10,000 students on its Tallahassee campus. Thanks to its affordable tuition rate and rich history, FAMU is one of the best colleges in Florida.

You can choose from over 50 majors. Or earn your degree online through FAMU Online, which offers business, nursing, criminal justice, and public health degrees. The online programs also charge low tuition rates. Florida residents can expect to pay $152 per credit for the online RN-to-BSN program.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$3,152
Out-of-state
$14,524
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$8,019
Out-of-state
$22,108
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: High

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
High
Retention Rate
85%
Acceptance Rate
33%
Students Enrolled
9,184
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
98% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#9 Best Colleges in Florida + Full List of Schools

Eckerd College

  • Saint Petersburg, FL
  • 4 years
  • Campus

It's one of the only liberal arts colleges in the country with a mile-long, white-sand beach. The waterfront campus of Eckerd College sits between the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay. 

The private college's 2,000 students benefit from a small college experience in the Tampa Bay area. 

Choose from over 40 majors, including American studies, biochemistry, and marketing. 

Study abroad, complete an internship, or gain research experience to add valuable skills to your degree. And you might graduate early — 93% of Eckerd undergrads finish their degree in four years or less.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$47,044
Out-of-state
$47,044
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
Not provided
Out-of-state
Not provided
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Low

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Low
Retention Rate
80%
Acceptance Rate
69%
Students Enrolled
1,822
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
#10 Best Colleges in Florida + Full List of Schools

Florida Institute of Technology

  • Melbourne, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Want hands-on experience? The Florida Institute of Technology promises immersive, experiential learning from your first day. Students in the College of Aeronautics step into the cockpit during their first week of classes, for example. 

Florida Tech admits undergrads directly into their majors. With small class sizes, the programs offer engaging, project-based learning where students can get personalized attention from their professors. In addition to a strong STEM focus, Florida Tech also offers business and liberal arts majors in a diverse, international community. A third of on-campus undergrads are international students.

Average Undergrad Tuition
In-state
$42,346
Out-of-state
$42,346
Average Graduate Tuition
In-state
$22,338
Out-of-state
$22,338
ROI Score

ROI Value Score: Low

We’ve reviewed hundreds of schools to find the ones that give you the best bang for your buck.

We compared how much you could earn in 10 years with a degree from this school versus only having a high school diploma. Then we compared that amount against school costs and financial aid opportunities. A higher return for your investment results in a higher score for this school.

Our Methodology
Low
Retention Rate
82%
Acceptance Rate
70%
Students Enrolled
6,775
Institution Type
Private
Percent Online Enrollment
30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

List of All Colleges in Florida

We've created a complete list of all four-year nonprofit universities in Florida. You can use the table below to compare data on student population, average net cost, acceptance rate, and number of applicants.

The following school data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). We did not consider schools that enroll fewer than 500 undergrads for this list.

All Colleges in Florida
School Total Student Enrollment Avg. Annual Net Price Acceptance Rate Number of Applicants
AdventHealth University 1,610 $27,329 34% 694
Ana G. Mendez University 7,904 $17,726 100% N/A
Ave Maria University 1,310 $21,078 44% 3,404
Barry University 6,958 $20,207 60% 13,225
Beacon College 501 $43,474 52% 416
Bethune-Cookman University 2,727 $15,769 85% 12,818
Eckerd College 1,993 $41,857 65% 5,549
Edward Waters University 1,181 $13,649 84% 8,988
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona Beach 10,301 $38,983 65% 9,875
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide 11,574 $17,002 58% 1,668
Everglades University 2,624 $28,778 70% 779
Flagler College 2,623 $26,547 81% 5,416
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University 9,215 $11,583 33% 12,372
Florida Atlantic University 29,592 $9,711 81% 24,268
Florida Gulf Coast University 15,969 $10,834 74% 15,657
Florida Institute of Technology 8,315 $30,752 64% 13,941
Florida Institute of Technology-Online 1,230 $24,115 92% 113
Florida International University 55,609 $9,881 64% 17,343
Florida Memorial University 1,137 $16,359 70% 11,931
Florida Polytechnic University 1,593 $12,373 56% 2,779
Florida Southern College 3,281 $27,324 57% 11,120
Florida State University 44,161 $14,003 25% 78,088
Jacksonville University 3,837 $26,943 58% 9,119
Lynn University 3,520 $38,728 80% 7,843
New College of Florida 689 $10,496 75% 1,830
Nova Southeastern University 20,948 $29,589 76% 16,789
Palm Beach Atlantic University 3,828 $30,276 95% 6,220
Ringling College of Art and Design 1,705 $55,752 65% 2,462
Rollins College 3,029 $35,317 50% 9,022
Saint Leo University 10,242 $20,390 80% 6,928
Southeastern University 10,044 $27,910 61% 2,182
St. Thomas University 6,370 $28,654 65% 7,520
Stetson University 3,928 $25,756 94% 7,344
University of Central Florida 68,346 $13,108 41% 54,977
University of Florida 55,211 $11,740 23% 64,473
University of Florida-Online 5,356 $10,791 65% 1,499
University of Miami 19,402 $36,467 19% 49,169
University of North Florida 16,406 $11,338 71% 19,744
University of South Florida 49,600 $11,004 44% 65,568
University of Tampa 10,566 $34,653 26% 40,286
University of West Florida 13,521 $8,609 48% 9,113
Warner University 849 $20,431 55% 1,372
Webber International University 1,133 $27,995 49% 2,665
Source: NCES

Featured Online Programs

What Is the Cost of Attending College in Florida?

If you plan to attend any of the best colleges in Florida, tuition is likely a major concern. As the table below shows, public schools offer significantly lower tuition rates than private schools.

You'll receive even lower tuition as an in-state student, and you'll find the lowest overall tuition rates at public four-year schools.

Cost of College in Florida 2021
Institution Type Avg. Tuition & Required Fees
Public 4-Year (In-State) $4,541
Public 4-Year (Out-of-State) $18,322
Private 4-Year $28,860
Source: NCES

What Are the Highest-Paying Jobs in Florida?

This list highlights five of the highest-paying jobs in Florida. Keep in mind this list only compiles some of the top jobs in Florida. There are plenty of other career options with a college degree.

The following list of high-paying jobs in Florida is based on 2022 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

1. Cardiologists

Median Annual Salary (May 2022): $428,810

Cardiologists diagnose and treat cardiovascular diseases and conditions related to the heart and blood vessels. They may specialize in areas such as echocardiography and electrophysiology. Cardiologists also work to prevent and manage heart conditions.

2. Airline Pilots

Median Annual Salary (May 2022): $270,720

Airline pilots transport people and cargo on airplanes, following fixed routes and navigating takeoffs and landings. They must also respond quickly to flight conditions, such as hazardous weather. Pilots may fly regionally, nationally, or internationally.

3. Chief Executives

Median Annual Salary (May 2022): $256,890

Chief executives direct overall operations for businesses and other organizations. They work to ensure an organization meets set goals and determine overall business and operational strategies. Chief executives work alongside other executives, department heads, and managers.

4. Nurse Anesthetists

Median Annual Salary (May 2022): $174,390

Nurse anesthetists administer anesthesia for surgical procedures and other medical operations. They consult with patients to ensure anesthesia is administered safely and effectively. Nurse anesthetists also monitor patients during surgery and adjust anesthesia levels as needed.

5. Computer and Information Systems Managers

Median Annual Salary (May 2022): $157,810

Computer and information systems managers oversee information technology operations for businesses and other organizations. They determine an organization's overall technology goals and develop strategies to keep IT systems functioning efficiently.

What Is the Cost of Living in Florida?

By most metrics, the cost of living in Florida ranks slightly higher than the national average, though it is still far less expensive than states like New York or California. The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center ranks Florida as the 32nd most expensive state to live in for 2023.

Florida ranks below the national average for utilities and healthcare expenses. However, housing expenses in the state are significantly higher than average. Grocery and transportation expenses also hover just around the national average.

The bottom line? Florida remains just above the national average cost of living, but you can expect to spend more if you're attending school in a major city like Miami.

Frequently Asked Questions About Colleges in Florida

Why study in Florida?

Many of the best schools in Florida offer you a quality education with affordable tuition. While the state is slightly more expensive than average, it's still quite possible to earn a degree affordably, especially if you attend school online or in a smaller town.

Florida also boasts a strong job market with plenty of career opportunities after you graduate.

What are the most popular majors in Florida?

Some of the most popular majors at the University of Florida — the state's flagship public school and one of the best colleges in Florida — include biological and biomedical sciences, business management, and engineering. Other popular majors include communication, health professions, and social sciences.

What is the hardest college to get into in Florida?

The University of Miami boasts Florida's lowest admission rate, accepting just 19% of undergraduate applicants in fall 2022, according to NCES. The University of Florida is also quite selective, admitting around 37% of undergraduate applicants that same year.

How many colleges are in Florida?

NCES reports that Florida is home to 43 four-year nonprofit colleges and universities. The state also has 81 nonprofit two-year colleges, including community colleges, vocational schools, and religious institutions such as seminaries. This number also includes "state colleges," in the Florida College System, which are community colleges that also grant bachelor's degrees.