Florida's higher education network offers a number of quality options for students looking to pursue a post-secondary degree or certificate. The state's public schools offer majors in just about every academic field, from marine biology to engineering, and degree and certificate programs are available at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
List of Ten Top Public Colleges and Universities in Florida
This table features 2015-16 tuition costs and the various degrees offered by some of the top public institutions in Florida:
|Name||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered*||Tuition & Fees* (2015-2016, In-State)|
|Broward College||Fort Lauderdale||4-year, public||Certificate, Associate's, Bachelor's||$2,753 (undergrad)|
|Florida International University||Miami||4-year, public||Associate's, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate Certificate, Master's, Post-Master's Certificate, Doctoral||$6,556 (undergrad) $11,097 (graduate)|
|Florida State College at Jacksonville||Jacksonville||4-year, public||Certificate, Associate's, Bachelor's||$2,830 (undergrad)|
|Florida State University||Tallahassee||4-year, public||Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, Post-Master's Certificate, Doctoral||$6,507 (undergrad) $11,543 (graduate)|
|Miami Dade College||Miami||4-year, public||Certificate, Associate's, Bachelor's||$2,834 (undergrad)|
|St. Petersburg College||Clearwater||4-year, public||Certificate, Associate's, Bachelor's||$3,352 (undergrad)|
|University of Central Florida||Orlando||4-year, public||Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, Post-Master's Certificate, Doctoral||$6,368 (undergrad) $8,872 (graduate)|
|University of Florida||Gainesville||4-year, public||Certificate, Associate's, Bachelor's, Postbaccalaureate Certificate, Master's, Post-Master's Certificate, Doctoral||$6,831 (undergrad) $12,737 (graduate)|
|University of South Florida - Main Campus||Tampa||4-year, public||Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, Post-Master's Certificate, Doctoral||$6,410 (undergrad) $10,428 (graduate)|
|Valencia College||Orlando||4-year, public||Certificate, Associate's, Bachelor's||$2,474 (undergrad)|
Source: *The National Center for Education Statistics
Selecting a Florida Public University
Some points of consideration for students thinking about attending a Florida public university include:
- Students studying in their home state often receive generous reductions in terms of tuition fees, and Florida is no exception - residents of the state can attend a public school for a dramatically lower price than their out-of-state counterparts.
- Most of Florida's public universities feature large student bodies. Students looking for smaller schools do have a few options, such as Florida Polytechnic University (540 students).
- Students who enroll at these schools have access to impressive academic libraries, research centers, and state-of-the-art digital collections.
The University of Florida (UF), Miami Dade College and Valencia College are all 4-year public schools located in midsize-to-large cities in Florida. Although they both offer bachelor's degrees, Miami Dade and Valencia primarily grant associate's degrees to students. Of the three, only UF awards graduate degrees.
University of Florida
Located in Gainesville, UF is Florida's oldest institution of higher learning and one of the five largest universities in the United States. In 2015, this school was ranked 47th among the nation's top public universities by U.S. News & World Report. UF offers more than 100 undergraduate and nearly 200 graduate programs, and boasts an impressive student-to-faculty ratio of 21:1. The Florida Gator athletic teams are consistently ranked in the top ten standings and compete in the NCAA's Division I and Southeastern Conference.
Miami Dade College
Miami Dade College (MDC) is based in downtown Miami and has seven other campuses and centers throughout Miami-Dade County, as well as a virtual college. This college is the largest postsecondary school in Florida and offers more than 300 programs of study leading to vocational training, certificates, and associate's and bachelor's degrees. The college's 12 academic schools include architecture and interior design, computer and engineering technologies, aviation, business, education, funeral services, health sciences, justice and nursing. MDC also has an extensive study abroad program and maintains transfer agreements with over 60 U.S. colleges and universities, including all public 4-year schools in Florida.
Valencia College, formerly known as Valencia Community College, offers classes at eight locations throughout Orlando, Florida, online and via Digital TV. The college offers over 60 programs, including numerous associate's degrees, a few bachelor's degrees and many technical certificates. Valencia College students graduating with career-oriented degrees enjoy a 96% job placement rate. For those wanting further education, Associate of Arts programs in a range of academic fields guarantee graduates admission to advanced degree programs at partnered public schools in Florida. Other educational offerings at Valencia College include internships, study abroad programs and dual-enrollment options for qualifying high school students.
Students looking to study in Florida have many options from top schools across the state. Some schools, such as Florida State College at Jacksonville and Broward College, only offer undergraduate programs (including certificates, associate's and bachelor's degrees), while others, like the University of Florida, feature programs at many levels, from undergrad certificates and associate's degrees to doctoral degrees. Residents of Florida are entitled to significantly cheaper tuition fees at state schools than out-of-state students.