Colleges in Northern Florida: School Overviews

Northern Florida is home to more than 100 public and private postsecondary institutions. Compare four of the schools in northern Florida to determine which schools might be right for you.

School Ranking Overview

College students interested in attending school in northern Florida will find a number of community colleges, career and technical centers, and 4-year colleges and universities. The four institutions listed in this article are public schools that are located in the northern Florida cities of Tallahassee, Gainesville or Jacksonville. The top three of the four schools discussed were ranked in each of the following categories:

  • Program Variety
  • Net Price
  • Graduation Rate
  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio

Program Variety

For some college students who may not have decided on a major yet, schools with a wide range of learning options may be attractive. Below, the three postsecondary schools with the highest number of program offerings were ranked.

1. University of Florida

In 2014, U.S. News & World Report ranked this public university in Gainesville among the top 50 universities in the nation. Here, students can pursue bachelor's through doctoral degrees in more than 180 fields of study. In addition, professional programs in law, medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine and pharmacy are also available. Degrees are also offered in the following areas, among others:

  • Architecture
  • Astronomy
  • Computer Science
  • Construction Management
  • Dietetics
  • Engineering
  • Forest Resources and Conservation
  • Geology
  • Health Science
  • Interior Design
  • Marine Sciences
  • Music
  • Public Relations
  • Sport Management
  • Tourism, Events and Recreation Management
  • Zoology

2. Florida State University

This Tallahassee-based university offers bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs as well as specialist and dual degrees. In addition, students who have completed at least 60 credit hours and met minimum GPA requirements may request an associate degree. More than 160 learning options are available through the following schools of study:

  • Arts and Sciences
  • Business
  • Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Hospitality
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Human Science
  • Medicine
  • Motion Picture Arts
  • Music
  • Nursing
  • Social Sciences and Public Policy
  • Social Work

3. Florida State College at Jacksonville

Students at this Jacksonville college can choose from approximately 125 areas of study. Though primarily an associate degree-granting college, bachelor's degree, technical certificate and diploma programs are also available. Some available subject areas include the following:

  • Accounting Technology
  • Automotive Service Technology
  • Aviation Operations
  • Building Construction Technology
  • Culinary Management
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Emergency Administration
  • Fire Science Technology
  • Occupational or Physical Therapy Assistant
  • Office Administration
  • Paramedic Studies
  • Paralegal Studies
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Supply Chain Management

Net Price

Another factor that some students may consider is cost of attendance. The net price takes into account the difference between students' average tuition and fees and the average amount of financial aid they receive. The data for this ranking was taken from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and is based on the average net price of first-time students attending full time in the 2012-2013 academic year.

1. Florida State College at Jacksonville

Out of the four schools profiled in this article, this college was the most affordable by far. The net price of attendance here was $7,336.

2. University of North Florida

Next in line is this public school in Jacksonville. On average, students who attended in 2012 and 2013 had an out-of-pocket expense of $13,207.

3. University of Florida

Not far behind was this university. In 2012-2013, students were responsible for an average of $15,157.

Graduation Rate

The NCES also offers school-specific percentage rates for first-time undergraduate students attending full time who earned their degree within 150% of normal completion time. For the schools below, this data accounts for first-time bachelor's degree seekers who began their studies in 2007 and finished within six years' time.

1. University of Florida

This institution takes first place yet again. University of Florida boasted a graduation rate of 87%. Even more impressive, of all first-time bachelor's degree seekers who started in 2012, 96% returned for a second year of study in 2013.

2. Florida State University

Seventy-seven percent of first-time full-timers here earned their degree in six years. In addition, the retention rate for first-time students who began full time in 2012 was 92%.

3. University of North Florida

Out of the two Jacksonville schools profiled in this article, this one took third place, beating its same-city counterpart by 15 percentage points. Specifically, the graduation rate for first-time bachelor's degree seekers who started here in 2007 was 50%. Eighty-two percent of students who started working toward their major in 2012 returned the following year.

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

Schools with a lower student-to-faculty ratio may have more accessible instructors or smaller class sizes. The data used for these rankings was found on the NCES website ( and includes figures for the 2013 year.

1. University of North Florida

On average, there was one faculty member for every 20 students at this school. In the same year, the student population was approximately 16,000.

2. University of Florida

In 2013, nearly 50,000 students attended here. However, the university was able to maintain an arguably reasonable student-to-faculty ratio of 21:1.

3. Florida State College at Jacksonville

About 28,100 students called this school theirs in 2013. On average, for every 24 of these students there was one faculty member.

Northern Florida Area Schools: At a Glance

School NameLocationSchool Type Programs OfferedArea Ranking
Florida State College at JacksonvilleJacksonville, FL4-year, publicUndergraduate Certificates, Diplomas, Associate Degrees, Bachelor's Degrees#3 Program Variety,
#1 Net Price
Florida State UniversityTallahassee, FL4-year, publicAssociate Degrees, Bachelor's Degrees, Master's Degrees, Post-Master's Certificates, Doctoral Degrees#2 Program Variety,
#2 Graduation Rate
University of FloridaGainesville, FL4-year, publicUndergraduate Certificates, Associate Degrees, Bachelor's Degrees, Post-Bachelor's Certificates, Master's Degrees, Post-Master's Certificates, Doctoral Degrees#1 Program Variety,
#3 Net Price,
#1 Graduation Rate,
#2 Student-to-Faculty Ratio
University of North FloridaJacksonville, FL4-year, public Associate Degrees, Bachelor's Degrees, Post-Bachelor's Certificates, Master's Degrees, Post-Master's Certificates, Doctoral Degrees#2 Net Price,
#3 Graduation Rate,
#1 Student-to-Faculty Ratio

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