Colleges in South Florida: Full List of Schools

Considering South Florida colleges? Learn about the most popular colleges in South Florida and why so many students choose them.
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  • With pristine beaches and a vibrant culture, South Florida is a top college destination.
  • South Florida has urban, suburban, small, and large colleges to choose from.
  • More than 170,000 students attend South Florida colleges.

Over 850,000 undergraduates were enrolled in Florida colleges in spring 2023, including tens of thousands of undergrads who flocked to South Florida colleges to earn their degrees.

It's easy to see why so many students attend colleges in South Florida. With warm temperatures throughout the year and miles of sandy beaches, South Florida is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.

And with affordable tuition rates, vibrant campus cultures, and boundless job opportunities, South Florida has become a top destination for college.

5 Popular South Florida Colleges

Here are some popular choices for college in South Florida. We chose these schools based on criteria like academic rigor, number of applicants, and overall prestige.

The school data reported below is sourced from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). All enrollment data is from 2021, while acceptance rate and tuition data is from 2022-2023.

1. University of Miami

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $57,194
  • Acceptance Rate: 19%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 19,096

One of the most selective colleges in South Florida, UM is a private research institution that offers more than 180 bachelor's programs and over 200 graduate programs. If you're interested in undergraduate research, you can take advantage of the school's 30 research centers and institutes.

UM's main campus hosts dozens of fraternities and sororities, over 270 student clubs, and an engaged student government.

2. Florida Atlantic University

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $4,879 (in-state) |
    $17,324 (out-of-state)
  • Acceptance Rate: 81%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 30,155

Looking for an urban college experience in South Florida? Then check out FAU, an esteemed public university that enrolls over 25,000 undergrads on its Boca Raton campus. You can choose from nearly 70 majors, and Florida residents can pay one of the most affordable tuition rates in the state.

Outside the classroom, you can join 400 clubs and organizations. FAU's campus is always busy, with over 5,000 student-led events every year. You can choose to live off campus or in modern dorms that house around 4,000 students.

3. Florida International University

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $6,565 (in-state) |
    $18,963 (out-of-state)
  • Acceptance Rate: 64%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 56,664

One of South Florida's largest colleges, FIU offers a suburban campus just outside Miami. Over 49,000 undergrads attend the public university, where they can choose from over 80 bachelor's programs.

FIU has a vibrant Greek program, a radio station, and over 300 clubs and organizations. The university is also a great option if you plan to launch a career in South Florida, where roughly 165,000 FIU alums live and work.

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4. Nova Southeastern University

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $36,300
  • Acceptance Rate: 76%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 20,898

Fort Lauderdale's NSU offers over 50 bachelor's degrees and is home to 6,000 undergraduates. The private university also offers many graduate programs across its eight regional campuses.

Founded in 1964 as a graduate research institution, NSU currently boasts five medical schools and awards more than 7,000 degrees each year. You can pursue unique healthcare degrees here, with majors like cardiovascular sonography and respiratory therapy. The school also oversees popular programs in business, education, tech, and the social sciences.

5. Barry University

  • Avg. Undergraduate Tuition & Fees: $32,500
  • Acceptance Rate: 60%
  • Total Student Enrollment: 7,337

A private Catholic university in Miami, Barry enrolls around 3,500 undergraduates in its 55 major programs. The school uses a liberal arts curriculum that incorporates experiential learning and internship opportunities.

Located a few miles from pristine beaches, the university's campus provides easy access to everything Miami has to offer. You can also enroll at Barry online or take classes in the Bahamas.

List of All Colleges in South Florida

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

All data comes from NCES. Schools with fewer than 500 undergraduates were excluded from this list.

All Colleges in South Florida
School Total Student Enrollment Avg. Annual Net Price Acceptance Rate Number of Applicants
Barry University 7,337 $20,207 60% 13,225
Everglades University 2,649 $28,778 70% 779
Florida Atlantic University 30,155 $9,711 81% 24,268
Florida International University 56,664 $9,881 64% 17,343
Florida Memorial University 1,028 $16,359 70% 11,931
Lynn University 3,385 $38,728 80% 7,843
Nova Southeastern University 20,898 $29,589 76% 16,789
Palm Beach Atlantic University 3,687 $30,276 95% 6,220
St. Thomas University 5,921 $28,654 65% 7,520
University of Miami 19,096 $36,467 19% 49,169
Source: NCES

Cost of Living in South Florida

Many cities in South Florida have a relatively high cost of living. According to Payscale data, Fort Lauderdale is 22% more expensive than the national average.

Groceries, utilities, and transportation all tend to cost more than average, though the biggest factor affecting living expenses in South Florida is related to housing. Average rental prices in cities like Miami and Fort Lauderdale range from roughly $1,200-$4,000 a month, depending on your accommodations and location.

Students can keep costs lower by choosing an affordable college. A handful of public colleges in South Florida report annual net prices below $10,000.

Benefits of Studying in South Florida

South Florida is a major tourist destination, so it's easy to see why undergrads flock to the area for college. Thanks to its many beaches and sunny weather, Florida is a great place for sports and relaxation. But there are some other great benefits to choosing a South Florida college.

For one, Florida reports some of the lowest in-state tuition rates in the country, according to NCES.

There are also many internship and employment opportunities in South Florida. If you're interested in working in tourism, hospitality, or marine science, South Florida could be an especially great place to work.

Frequently Asked Questions About Colleges in South Florida

What is the best college in South Florida?

While many colleges in South Florida earn high marks in national rankings, the University of Miami stands out as the most selective. The private institution reported a 19% acceptance rate in fall 2022, according to NCES.

South Florida's largest public colleges also offer academic quality and a large regional alumni network. Between them, Florida Atlantic University and Florida International University enroll nearly 87,000 students. That means about half of all South Florida college students attend FAU or FIU.

What is the fastest-growing college in South Florida?

Currently, many Florida colleges report shrinking enrollments, mirroring national trends. According to the Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research, the state's college enrollment levels dropped 4.5% from 2022 to 2023.

Nonetheless, several South Florida colleges continue to boast strong enrollment numbers. FIU enrolls over 56,000 students, making it the largest college in South Florida. It's followed by FAU, which enrolls over 30,000 students. Both schools report net prices of under $10,000 a year.

Is FIU or FAU better?

FIU and FAU are both highly ranked public universities in South Florida. From its Miami campus, FIU enrolls more students than FAU. It also reports a slightly lower acceptance rate of 64%. In comparison, FAU — located in Fort Lauderdale — accepts 81% of applicants.

The two South Florida colleges also report similar net prices, with both costing around $10,000 a year. 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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