With well over 600 miles of beach bordering the state of Florida, it's no wonder so many college students simply think of the state as the top destination for spring break. But Florida is also a top college destination, enrolling nearly 620,000 full time students in 2013. It's not just the sunny weather that keeps so many residents in their home state when it comes time for college. At an average of a shade over $4,000 per year, Florida's in-state cost for a public college or university is just about half the national average.
Florida's postsecondary system began around the time that the territory became a state itself. Admitted into the Union in 1845, part of its charter called for the establishment of a public institution of higher learning. Thus, in 1851, Florida State University became the first college of the Sunshine State. As of the fall of 2014, more than 41,000 students inhabit its Tallahassee area campuses, helping to make it among the more diverse campuses in the nation.
The largest of the state's public schools is the University of Florida in Gainesville. Indeed, the campus which began as a small seminary in 1853 is now home to more than 50,000 students. This makes it one of the five largest colleges in the United States. Its size has proven a tremendous advantage to its students, who enjoy access to 16 distinct academic colleges, 150 research centers, and more than 100 undergraduate majors and masters programs alike.
Not only was the University of Florida ranked 14th overall among public universities in U.S. News & World Report's 2014 survey, but its beloved Gators are winners of multiple bowl games and championships both on the basketball court and the football field, the latter of which seats well over 80,000 fans at a time. The University of Florida ranked 2nd in a 2012 SmartMoney survey concerning the return of starting salary on one's tuition investment and scored the top spot in a 2013 Washington Monthly list of the best colleges for your money.
If you aren't into the whole mega-campus thing, the New College of Florida in Sarasota might be more your speed. The 825 person college sits on 144 acres and provides students with individualized attention and a pass/fail approach to grading. This cozy little campus recently ranked #5 in the U.S. News and World Report's tally of the best public liberal arts colleges in America.
- See who ranks as the best college and university in Florida today.
- The University of Florida ranks among The 100 Best Universities in the World.
Select Florida College & University Profiles
» Adventist University of Health Sciences
» Everglades University
» Florida Institute of Technology
» Florida International University
» Florida State University
» Full Sail University
» Hodges University
» Kaplan University
» Nova Southeastern University
» Saint Leo University
» University of Florida
» University of South Florida
» University of West Florida