2022 Top Public Colleges and Universities in Florida

Public colleges and universities are often the most affordable option for students pursuing higher education, but it’s not just affordability that makes these institutions attractive. Public colleges and universities also rank highly among the best institutions in many states, Florida included.

Public institutions receive state and federal funding. Although they generally have larger class sizes than private institutions, they also tend to offer a wide variety of academic programs, diverse student bodies, and prestigious research opportunities.

2022 Best Public Colleges and Universities in Florida

At BestColleges, we believe a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We want to help you navigate the college selection process by offering transparent, inclusive, and relevant school rankings.

Our rankings are grounded in a few guiding principles and use the latest statistical data available from trusted sources. Read our ranking methodology. We hope our approach helps you find the school that is best for you.

Showing 30 schools

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    Avg Tuition per YearTuition is the price you pay to attend classes. Tuition varies by school, and does not include costs associated with room and board, books, school supplies, meal plans, or transportation.

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    #1

    University of Florida

    Gainesville, FL

    Graduation Rate

    88%

    Enrollment

    52,407

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $6381

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $28659

    Located in Gainesville, Florida, University of Florida awards degrees and certificates as a public institution. The institution's faculty brings expertise in multiple fields. The college offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce. The amount students pay per credit is unknown at this time. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid, including grants and loans. The institution reports a graduation rate of 88%. The school's admission rate is unavailable. The admissions office provides more information about application requirements. University of Florida has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #2

    Florida State University

    Tallahassee, FL

    Graduation Rate

    83%

    Enrollment

    42,450

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $5656

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $18786

    From its campus in Tallahassee, Florida, Florida State University offers programs as a public institution. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their professional goals. Students strengthen their knowledge of the field by completing coursework. Applicants may qualify for test-optional admissions. Students may find it easier to apply without a test score requirement. Learners benefit from support services like tutoring and career counseling. Information on the school's cost per credit is unavailable. Learners at the accredited school can pay for their educational costs with federal student aid programs. Florida State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #3

    University of South Florida-Sarasota-Manatee

    Sarasota, FL

    Graduation Rate

    47%

    Enrollment

    2,207

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $5587

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16501

    University of South Florida-Sarasota-Manatee offers programs from its campus in Sarasota, Florida. Students learn from experts in multiple disciplines. The school offers academic and technical tracks to help students meet a variety of professional goals. Depending on the program, students can spend anywhere from a few months up to as many as seven years earning their degree or certificate. Applicants may qualify for test-optional admissions. A waiver makes it easier to enroll. The admissions staff can provide more information on the process. At the accredited institution, enrollees also qualify for financial aid to pay for school. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #4

    University of Central Florida

    Orlando, FL

    Graduation Rate

    72%

    Enrollment

    69,402

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $6368

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $22467

    From its campus in Orlando, Florida, University of Central Florida educates students as a public institution. Students complete programs that prepare them for the workforce. Learners benefit from the school's academic rigor and affordable tuition rate. Many of the school's degrees make national rankings. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. Degree-seekers at this accredited institution may qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Degree-seekers choose from academic and technical programs at the institution. Depending on their major, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. University of Central Florida holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #5

    University of Florida-Online

    Gainesville, FL

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    3,926

    Format

    Online

    In-State Tuition

    $3876

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16580

    University of Florida-Online, located in Gainesville, Florida, welcomes students with 22 program options. The institution's many rigorous academic programs rank among the best in the nation. Information on the average student-to-instructor ratio is unavailable. Data on the amount of aid students receive per year on average is unavailable. We do not know the graduation rate at this time. The institution's commitment to experiential learning makes graduates more competitive. The institution's admission rate is unknown at this time. Some programs no longer require standardized tests for admission. Prospective students can contact the admissions department for more details about application requirements.

    #6

    University of South Florida-Main Campus

    Tampa, FL

    Graduation Rate

    75%

    Enrollment

    44,246

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $6410

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $17324

    From its campus in Tampa, Florida, University of South Florida-Main Campus enrolls learners in 238 programs. Students enroll in top-ranked programs that offer a rigorous course of study. The student-to-faculty ratio is unknown. The average amount of aid awarded per student is not available. The school reports a graduation rate of 75%. Job seekers often benefit from hands-on experience, which makes them more competitive job candidates. The institution's admission rate is currently unknown. Some applicants qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. Contact the admissions department for more details about application requirements.

    #7

    The University of West Florida

    Pensacola, FL

    Graduation Rate

    46%

    Enrollment

    12,557

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $6360

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $19241

    From its campus in Pensacola, Florida, The University of West Florida offers academic programs as a public institution. Students leave the school with experience and credentials that prepare them for the workforce. The institution provides academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. Many of the school's degrees make national rankings. Students pay a per-credit fee of around 356 at the school. Degree-seekers at this accredited institution may qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Learners at the school choose from academic and technical programs. Depending on their major, students complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. The University of West Florida holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #8

    Florida International University

    Miami, FL

    Graduation Rate

    63%

    Enrollment

    58,711

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $6565

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $18963

    From its campus in Miami, Florida, Florida International University enrolls students in programs as a public institution. The school offers accredited programs that prepare students for a successful career. Learners benefit from the school's academic rigor and affordable tuition rate. Many of the school's degrees make national rankings. Data on the school's average cost per credit is unavailable. As an accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for federal student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Learners choose from academic and technical majors at the school. Students complete fundamentals courses, technical classes, and general education requirements depending on their program. Florida International University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #9

    Charlotte Technical College

    Port Charlotte, FL

    Graduation Rate

    90%

    Enrollment

    453

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2909

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $11365

    From its campus in Port Charlotte, Florida, Charlotte Technical College grants college degrees as a public institution. With both academic and technical programs, the school helps learners reach their professional goals. Students prepare for a successful career by completing the program's coursework. Depending on the program, applicants may need to submit standardized test scores. A waiver makes it easier to apply. The school supports enrollees with tutoring and career services. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited school, learners qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Charlotte Technical College has received accreditation from the Council on Occupational Education.

    #10

    University of South Florida-St Petersburg

    St. Petersburg, FL

    Graduation Rate

    44%

    Enrollment

    4,448

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $5821

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $16736

    From its campus in St. Petersburg, Florida, University of South Florida-St Petersburg enrolls students as a public institution. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their educational goals. The institution's degree and certificate programs offer coursework that allows students to bolster their knowledge. Some programs may no longer require standardized tests for admission. The waiver makes it simpler to apply. The school supports learners with tutoring and career services. The cost per credit is unknown. Learners at this accredited school also qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. University of South Florida-St Petersburg is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #11

    Florida Gateway College

    Lake City, FL

    Graduation Rate

    53%

    Enrollment

    3,406

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $3100

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $11747

    Florida Gateway College is a public institution located in Lake City, Florida. Degree-seekers take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school's academic and technical programs prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The cost per credit is unknown. Enrollees at the accredited institution qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. The institution reports a graduation rate of 53%. We do not currently have data on the school's admission rate. The admissions office provides more information about application requirements and start dates. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #12

    Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

    Tallahassee, FL

    Graduation Rate

    53%

    Enrollment

    9,626

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $5785

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $17725

    From its campus in Tallahassee, Florida, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University enrolls learners in 96 programs. Degree-seekers benefit from rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The student-to-teacher ratio is currently unknown. Data on the average amount of aid students receive is unavailable. Students graduate from the school at a rate of 53%. The institution's commitment to experiential learning helps graduates on the job market. We do not currently have data on the school's admission rate. Some programs offer test-optional admission policies. Applicants can reach out to the admissions office to learn more about enrolling.

    #13

    Florida Polytechnic University

    Lakeland, FL

    Graduation Rate

    Not Provided

    Enrollment

    1,336

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4940

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $4940

    Florida Polytechnic University ranks as a top school from its campus in Lakeland, Florida. Students take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. Academic and technical programs help learners reach their unique professional goals. Typical time for program completion ranges from a few months to seven years depending on the type of degree or certificate offered. Some programs provide a test-optional admission option. Test-optional policies make it easier to enroll. The admissions department provides additional resources on applying to the school. Students also use financial aid to pay for their college degree or certificate. Florida Polytechnic University has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #14

    University of North Florida

    Jacksonville, FL

    Graduation Rate

    67%

    Enrollment

    17,117

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $6389

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $20793

    From its campus in Jacksonville, Florida, University of North Florida enrolls students as a public institution. Enrollees take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The college offers academic and technical programs that prepare graduates for the workforce. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. At the accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. Bachelor's students graduate from the school at a rate of 67%. The school's admission rate is unavailable. Admissions advisors can provide more information about application requirements and start dates. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #15

    South Florida State College

    Avon Park, FL

    Graduation Rate

    49%

    Enrollment

    2,809

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $3165

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $11859

    A public institution, South Florida State College grants degrees and certificates from its campus in Avon Park, Florida. Instructors draw on their expertise in diverse fields. Students who complete an academic or technical program enter the workforce or pursue a bachelor's degree. The amount students pay per credit on average is currently unknown. Students at the accredited institution qualify for federal financial aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Enrollees graduate from the school at a rate of 49%. The institution's admission rate is unknown at this time. Applicants can reach out to the admission department to learn more about enrolling. South Florida State College holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #16

    Chipola College

    Marianna, FL

    Graduation Rate

    48%

    Enrollment

    1,939

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $3120

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8950

    Located in Marianna, Florida, Chipola College is a public institution that offers multiple programs. Enrollees complete programs that prepare them for the workforce. The programs offer an academically rigorous course of study at an affordable price. The school offers nationally ranked programs in diverse fields. The institution's cost per credit is unknown. As an accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for federal student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Degree-seekers choose from academic and technical programs at the school. Depending on their program, enrollees complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Chipola College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #17

    New College of Florida

    Sarasota, FL

    Graduation Rate

    64%

    Enrollment

    726

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $6916

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $29944

    From its Sarasota, Florida campus, New College of Florida enrolls students in 6 programs. Students choose from rigorous, top-ranked programs at the school. The student-to-teacher ratio is currently unknown. How much aid students receive on average is not currently known. The public school reports a graduation rate of 64%. Students should explore how workplace experience makes them more competitive employee candidates. The rate of admission for the school is unknown. Some programs let applicants apply without submitting test scores. Applicants can reach out to the admissions office to learn more about enrolling.

    #18

    Florida Atlantic University

    Boca Raton, FL

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    30,061

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $4879

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $17324

    From its campus in Boca Raton, Florida, Florida Atlantic University awards degrees and certificates as a top school. Degree-seekers take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school offers academic and technical tracks to help students meet a variety of professional goals. Check the program website for specifics on the degree- or certificate-completion timeline. Some programs may offer test-optional admission policies. Test-optional policies make it easier to apply. The admissions department can help prospective students complete their application. Enrollees at the accredited institution also qualify for financial aid to cover costs. Florida Atlantic University holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #19

    Indian River State College

    Fort Pierce, FL

    Graduation Rate

    41%

    Enrollment

    16,942

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2764

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $10201

    Indian River State College, located in Fort Pierce, Florida, offers 141 programs for degree-seekers. The institution's top-ranked programs offer a rigorous course of study. The average student-to-instructor ratio is unavailable. How much aid students receive on average is currently unknown. Students graduate from the school at a rate of 41%. Job seekers often benefit from hands-on experience, which makes them more competitive job candidates. The institution's admission rate is currently unknown. Some programs let applicants apply without submitting test scores. Prospective students can contact the admissions department for more details about application requirements.

    #20

    Gulf Coast State College

    Panama City, FL

    Graduation Rate

    41%

    Enrollment

    4,797

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2370

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8633

    From its Florida campus, Gulf Coast State College offers 87 academic programs. The institution's rigorous programs rank among the best in the nation. The average student-to-faculty ratio is unavailable. Data on the amount of aid students receive per year on average is unavailable. The public school reports a 41% graduation rate. The institution understands that hands-on experience helps job seekers enter the workforce. The rate of admission for the school is unknown. Some programs no longer require test scores for admission. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements and start dates.

    #21

    Valencia College

    Orlando, FL

    Graduation Rate

    42%

    Enrollment

    47,940

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2474

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $9383

    A public institution located in Orlando, Florida, Valencia College offers a variety of programs. The school's accredited programs prepare learners for the workforce. The institution offers an academically rigorous course of study at an affordable price. Many of the school's degrees make national rankings. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. Degree-seekers at the accredited school may qualify for federal financial aid, including the Pell Grant. The school offers both academic and technical programs. Depending on their major, learners complete fundamentals courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #22

    Lake-Sumter State College

    Leesburg, FL

    Graduation Rate

    47%

    Enrollment

    4,872

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $3232

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $13336

    From its campus in Leesburg, Florida, Lake-Sumter State College enrolls students as a public institution. Enrollees take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. Students who complete an academic or technical program often enter the workforce right away. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown. At the accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. Students earn their bachelor's degree from the school at a rate of 47%. The institution's admission rate is currently unknown. Prospective students can contact the admissions department for more details about application requirements. Lake-Sumter State College has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #23

    Palm Beach State College

    Lake Worth, FL

    Graduation Rate

    37%

    Enrollment

    31,289

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2444

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $8732

    Located in Lake Worth, Florida, Palm Beach State College educates students as a public institution. With both academic and technical programs, the college helps learners reach their professional goals. Students gain knowledge and skill specific to their field by completing their program's coursework requirements. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. These policies make it easier to apply. Learners receive support in the form of tutoring and career services. The school's cost per credit is unknown. Learners at the accredited school qualify for federal student aid programs, including the Pell Grant. Palm Beach State College holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #24

    Florida Gulf Coast University

    Fort Myers, FL

    Graduation Rate

    50%

    Enrollment

    14,977

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $6118

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $25162

    A public institution located in Fort Myers, Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University offers multiple programs. Students leave the school with credentials that prepare them for the workplace. The programs offer an academically rigorous course of study at an affordable price. The school boasts several programs that appear in national rankings. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. As an accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for federal student aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. The institution offers both academic and technical programs. Based on their major, students take foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. Florida Gulf Coast University holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

    #25

    North Florida College

    Madison, FL

    Graduation Rate

    47%

    Enrollment

    1,232

    Format

    In person

    In-State Tuition

    $3054

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $11400

    From its Madison, Florida campus, North Florida College enrolls learners in 30 programs. Students enjoy rigorous programs that rank among the best in the nation. The student-to-teacher ratio is currently unavailable. Information on the average amount of aid students receive is unavailable. Students graduate from the school at a rate of 47%. Graduates often benefit from hands-on experience, which makes them more competitive candidates on the job market. We do not currently have data on the school's admission rate. Some programs let applicants apply without submitting test scores. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements.

    #26

    Saint Johns River State College

    Palatka, FL

    Graduation Rate

    45%

    Enrollment

    7,392

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2830

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $10347

    From its campus in Palatka, Florida, Saint Johns River State College enrolls learners in 53 programs. Students enroll in top-ranked programs that offer a rigorous course of study. The student-to-faculty ratio is unavailable. Data on the average amount of aid students receive is unavailable. Students earn their degree from the school at a rate of 45%. The institution understands that hands-on experience helps job seekers enter the workforce. The school's admission rate is unavailable. Many schools no longer require test scores for admission. The admission department can provide more information about application requirements.

    #27

    Eastern Florida State College

    Cocoa, FL

    Graduation Rate

    45%

    Enrollment

    15,352

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2496

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $9739

    A public institution located in Cocoa, Florida, Eastern Florida State College offers multiple programs. Enrollees complete programs that prepare them for the workforce. Degree-seekers benefit from academically rigorous programs at an affordable price. The school boasts several programs that appear in national rankings. The amount students pay per credit on average is unknown. Students attending the accredited institution may qualify for federal financial aid programs, such as the Pell Grant. Degree-seekers choose from academic and technical programs at the school. Depending on their program, enrollees complete foundational courses, technical classes, and general education requirements. The school holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #28

    Santa Fe College

    Gainesville, FL

    Graduation Rate

    59%

    Enrollment

    14,915

    Format

    Online

    In-State Tuition

    $2563

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $9189

    Located in Gainesville, Florida, Santa Fe College operates as a public institution. Degree-seekers take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. Students who complete an academic or technical program often enter the workforce right away. The amount students pay per credit is currently unknown. At the accredited institution, degree-seekers qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. The institution reports a graduation rate of 59%. The institution's admission rate is unknown at this time. Prospective applicants can contact an admission advisor to learn more about applying. Santa Fe College has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #29

    Miami Dade College

    Miami, FL

    Graduation Rate

    33%

    Enrollment

    51,679

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2838

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $9661

    Located in Miami, Florida, Miami Dade College often ranks among the best schools. The institution's faculty brings expertise in multiple fields. The programs offer academic and technical tracks to help learners meet their career goals. Depending on the degree or certificate type, enrollees can spend anywhere from a few months up to as many as seven years completing a program. Applicants may qualify for a waiver for standardized test scores. The waiver makes it simpler to enroll. The admissions department can help applicants determine the next steps. Financial aid provides options for degree-seekers to pay for their education. Miami Dade College has received accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    #30

    Florida State College at Jacksonville

    Jacksonville, FL

    Graduation Rate

    37%

    Enrollment

    24,605

    Format

    Online, In person

    In-State Tuition

    $2878

    Out-of-State Tuition

    $9992

    Florida State College at Jacksonville is a public institution located in Jacksonville, Florida. Enrollees take courses with experts in diverse disciplines. The school's academic and technical programs prepare graduates for the workforce or further study. The school's average cost per credit is unknown. At the accredited school, students qualify for financial aid, including federal loans, scholarships, and grants. The school reports a 37% graduation rate. The institution's admission rate is unknown at this time. Prospective students can contact the admissions office for more information about applying. Florida State College at Jacksonville has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, an independent accrediting body.

    Why Choose a Public College or University in Florida?

    Deciding whether to attend a private or public institution is usually one of the first steps for students trying to choose the right college.

    Some students may select a private university because they prefer smaller class sizes, allowing them to build rapport with professors. However, choosing a public or private institution often comes down to academic options and finances.

    There are 28 member colleges in the Florida College System, including 12 public four-year universities. Public colleges and universities in Florida receive government funding, which allows them to offer discounted tuition to state residents. Private colleges, on the other hand, primarily rely on tuition, donors, and private funding.

    Consequently, the average tuition rate at private, four-year colleges is usually significantly higher than at public four-year colleges. While in-state tuition is more affordable for state residents, Florida is also a member of the Academic Common Market (ACM).

    The ACM gives students the option to pursue a program of study in another state at participating ACM institutions. While most of the consortium allows student participation at undergraduate and graduate levels, Florida only allows graduate-level participation.

    Pros and Cons of Attending a Public College or University in Florida

    Pros

    • Public four-year colleges are less expensive than private colleges, especially for in-state students.
    • Public four-year colleges tend to attract a more diverse student body.
    • Government funding gives public colleges and universities in Florida the ability to provide various research facilities and labs.
    • Public four-year colleges provide more degree program options than most private colleges.

    Cons

    • Private colleges and universities generally offer more financial aid and scholarship opportunities for students than public colleges.
    • Larger class sizes makes it more difficult for students to engage in one-on-one communication with professors.
    • Large class sizes can make it difficult for some students to feel engaged and motivated.
    • Administrative tasks like transferring credits and securing a place in popular courses can be more difficult at larger institutions.

    Nonprofit vs. For-Profit Universities in Florida

    There are distinct differences between nonprofit and for-profit universities. Nonprofit universities receive government funding and endowments, which they invest back into college operations. All public universities are nonprofits.

    For-profit colleges are privately owned. They operate education businesses focused on making money.

    There are 207 for-profit universities in Florida. There are both pros and cons to for-profits. These universities offer fewer admission requirements, more academic flexibility, online classes, and skills-based training.

    However, for-profit colleges can be expensive, provide fewer support services, and have lower graduation rates. Additionally, lack of accreditation can make it difficult for graduates to enter the job market. This leads to disproportionately high rates of student debt among for-profit college graduates.

    You can check a university’s website or call the school’s admissions office to determine if a university is a nonprofit or a for-profit school. This information is also available via the National Center for Education Statistics’ College Navigator tool.

    How Much Does It Cost to Attend a Public College or University in Florida?

    Tuition at the most and least expensive public institutions in Florida varies by a couple of thousand dollars for state residents.

    In 2020-2021, one of the least expensive public institution tuition and fee rates for in-state students was $2,963 at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City. Among the most expensive was the New College of Florida, with in-state tuition and fees of $6,916 for 2022-2023.

    Additionally, in-state versus out-of-state tuition is significant. The average cost including tuition and required fees at public four-year colleges and universities in Florida was $4,463 for undergraduate state residents in 2019-2020. Out-of-state students paid $18,514, on average, for tuition and fees. Room and board averaged $10,774.

    Private university tuition typically remains the most expensive option for students in Florida. In 2019-2020, tuition and fees at private institutions averaged $27,381. Other costs students should consider in their budgets includetextbooks and supplies, technology fees, parking, travel, and miscellaneous expenses.

    Find the Tools You Need to Get Started on Your Degree

    Frequently Asked Questions About Public Colleges and Universities in Florida

    How many public colleges and universities are there in Florida?

    There are 40 public four-year colleges and universities in Florida. Twelve of these institutions make up the State University System of Florida. The system employs over 60,000 faculty and staff and has an annual operating budget of over $8.5 billion. Florida established statewide governance in 2003 to operate, regulate, control, and manage all public four-year colleges.

    Sixty-five percent of Florida’s high school graduates begin their postsecondary education at a state college. Eighty-two percent of first-year and sophomore minority students in the state attend a school in the Florida College System.

    The best public schools in Florida offer honors and early college/dual enrollment programs. Additionally, adult learners can take college courses for personal and professional development or career preparation.

    What is the most expensive public college or university in Florida?

    New College of Florida was among the most expensive for state residents in 2022-2023, with an in-state tuition of $6,916. Also, Florida International University had an in-state undergraduate tuition of $6,168, for 2021-2022. Tuition for state residents at the most and least expensive public universities in Florida only varies by a few thousand dollars.

    However, out-of-state students pay many thousands more. For example, the cost of tuition and fees at New College of Florida for out-of-state students was $29,944 for the 2022-2023 school year.

    Student expectations, costly administrative overhead, and increasing expenses for educating and housing students contribute to the ever-increasing cost of college.

    What is the least expensive public college or university in Florida?

    In 2020-2021, the in-state tuition of $2,963 at Gulf Coast State College in Panama City was among the least expensive rates.

    However, with a tuition and fees cost of $14,984, it isn’t one of the most inexpensive public colleges annd universities in Florida for out-of-state students. Broward College in Fort Lauderdale is among the least expensive public universities for non-residents, with tuition and fees of $8,952.

    Also, remember, affordable college doesn’t only depend on tuition rates. The most and least expensive public schools in Florida offer financial aid packages that can significantly reduce the cost to attend college.

    Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can help students qualify for various financial aid packages.

    What is the biggest public college or university in Florida?

    While public four-year colleges typically have larger campuses and more students, there are both big and small public schools in Florida.

    The University of Central Florida (UCF) leads the state, with a 2021 fall enrollment of 70,406 students. UCF offers 106 bachelor’s degree programs, 95 master’s degree programs, and 31 research doctorate programs.

    UCF also has an accredited College of Medicine and the Rosen College of Hospitality Management. What’s more, the number of incoming National Merit Scholars ranked UCF among the top 25 universities in the country. The college has an operating budget of $2.1 billion, and UCF researchers received $211 million in funding for fiscal year 2021.

    Is a public university right for me?

    Ultimately, a quality education, student academic services, and financial aid opportunities are top reasons most students pick a specific university. However, school size, social life, student diversity, and the location also determine if a public university is right for you.

    One big difference between private colleges and public universities in Florida is the learning environment.

    Public four-year colleges and universities usually have bigger campuses and larger classes than private colleges. Self-driven, independent learners may find that a public college suits them. On the other hand, students who do better with more classroom engagement and assistance may opt for a private college.