7 Reasons to Attend College in Florida
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Editor & Writer
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- Consider studying in Florida if you want to major in business or the health sciences.
- Florida colleges offer majors aligning with many in-demand careers.
- Students and residents can take advantage of many outdoor recreational activities.
- Expect to pay more living in Florida than you would in other states.
Despite its reputation as a haven for retirees, Florida offers opportunities for residents of all ages. Warm weather and good jobs made Florida the nation's fastest-growing state in 2022, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This trend extends to college students attracted by state investment in in-demand community college programs.
The largest universities in Florida, such as Florida State University (FSU) and the University of Florida (UF), cater to growing out-of-state enrollment with excellent student resources. These resources can help you explore the state's economic environment and plan for life after graduation.
What Is Florida Famous For?
Florida is famous for the theme parks that tens of millions of people visit annually. Government investment made the state an aerospace hub in the late 1950s, with the Kennedy Space Center launching all of the United States' moon and shuttle missions.
Florida is also famous for its institutions of higher education. UF dates back to 1853, and the state founded its first college for African Americans in 1887. Today, Florida public colleges and universities educate over 300,000 learners.
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7 Reasons to Study in Florida
Consider studying in Florida if you want a quality education at an affordable price. Other reasons include schools' diverse student bodies and opportunities for off-campus enrichment.
1. Quality Education
You need not look far to find a great Florida college. Florida's best colleges and universities include public and private institutions, such as the University of Miami and Eckerd College. These and other schools hold proper accreditation, meaning they offer you a rigorous and quality educational experience.
Even learners paying out-of-state tuition can save money on their education by studying in Florida. Private scholarship opportunities can reduce your out-of-pocket costs significantly. Residents with financial need can apply for a Florida Student Assistance Grant.
Limiting your search to the cheapest colleges in Florida can further reduce your reliance on student loans. You may also qualify for institutional need- and merit-based aid.
3. In-Demand Careers
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Florida's unemployment rate stayed below 3% throughout 2023. This figure suggests a strong job market with many open positions for recent college graduates. The highest-paying jobs in Florida are in the medical field and require an MD or a similar degree.
Professionals in other fields should also consider Florida, as the state government projects high growth in the information security and operations research sectors. Work with your school's career center to explore the fastest-growing jobs aligning with your major.
4. Outdoor Activities
Although famous as a college spring break destination, Florida offers students and residents much more in the way of outdoor activities. Everglades National Park and many nature preserves provide ideal kayaking, boating, and hiking spots.
Hurricane season brings some risks to living in the Sunshine State. Northwest Florida and the Keys experience hurricanes more than other parts of the state.
Studying in Florida lets you experience diversity on and off campus. Nowhere does Florida show off its diversity more than in Miami-Dade County, where 45% of people identify as a race other than white. Studying in or around Miami lets you explore different cuisines and cultures.
College applicants identifying as LGBTQ+ may want to consider studying in another state. In 2023, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed six bills targeting these individuals' civil rights.
Although Florida college football teams and their lively mascots dominate the news, the state offers learners other ways to express their sports pride. In Gainesville, the Stephen C. O'Connell Center can hold over 10,000 passionate fans of UF's men's basketball team.
Off campus, new transplants and long-term residents follow the Miami Dolphins football team or Miami Heat basketball team. NBA superstar LeBron James took the latter to victory in the 2012 and 2013 NBA championships.
7. Arts and Entertainment
Florida's major cities offer a wealth of arts and entertainment opportunities. Panama City, Jacksonville, and Sarasota feature performing arts centers hosting off-Broadway productions and local performances.
Art lovers can visit the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach to view over 5,000 pieces by artists, which include Andy Warhol and Henri Matisse. No other museum in Florida offers such a diverse collection.
Is It Worth It to Study in Florida?
The answer depends on your educational needs. Some of the most popular undergraduate majors in Florida include business, health sciences, and psychology. Other degree-seekers major in engineering or the biological sciences.
Like many states, Florida experienced a dip in in-person college enrollment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, strong economic growth outpacing the national average suggests a growing need for highly educated workers. You can use this trend to your advantage if you major in one of the most in-demand fields.
Look beyond education and economic statistics when making your decision. Paying out-of-state tuition at a public college may mean taking on thousands of dollars in student debt. If you want to save some money, you can start your education at a local community college before transferring to a Florida school your junior year.
Frequently Asked Questions About Studying in Florida
How long must you live in Florida to get residency?
Public Florida colleges and universities require at least 12 months of continuous residency to qualify for in-state tuition. You can show residency in many ways, such as a voter registration card, driver's license, or proof of full-time employment. If you hold residency but cannot show it before the start of school, you can make a residency appeal to your college's admissions office.
Is there free college tuition in Florida?
Florida offers free and reduced tuition to different groups, such as learners who grew up in the state's foster care system. You can also study in Florida for free through the Free Seat Program. The state pays one class' tuition and fees for active-duty service members and veterans.
Your academic background may qualify you for free tuition, depending on your college. The University of Florida's Presidential Platinum Scholarship covers tuition, fees, and other education-related expenses.
Is Florida an expensive place to live?
A May 2022 CBS News report shows that Floridians pay the highest housing costs in the United States. People relocating to the state during the COVID-19 pandemic caused rents to spike statewide, with the biggest increases in major metropolitan areas. Miami-Dade County reports that fair market rents can be near or exceed $2,000 for a one-bedroom apartment, as of January 2024.
How much does renters insurance cost in Florida?
A MarketWatch report from October 2023 shows that the typical Floridian pays $156 annually in renters insurance. The rent varies by provider, city, and insurance coverage limits. Miami Beach renters with a $60,000 policy pay over $450 annually.
You can reduce your insurance costs in many ways, such as splitting them with a roommate or living outside a downtown area.
Is Florida a good place to live and study?
The answer depends on many factors, such as your educational needs and career aspirations. You must also consider Florida's high cost of living and conservative political climate.
Researching and reflecting on your goals can help you determine whether Florida offers what you require for educational, career, and personal growth.