Hillsborough County, FL Colleges and Technical Schools

There are more than 30 postsecondary institutions within Hillsborough County, Florida. See how four of these schools stack up against each other to find the school for you.

School Ranking Overview

Located on Florida's west coast, Hillsborough County, FL, offers more than 30 school options to students. The county seat is in Tampa, and that's where the colleges, universities and technical schools are primarily located. Over 70% of the institutions are private for-profits offering career training, leaving less than ten public and private non-profit schools to choose from in this area. To assist students in their school research and education decisions, this article compares the four largest not-for-profit institutions in the county; the top three are ranked in these categories:

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

Program Variety

Of the four compared schools, the three below have the highest number of academic programs available to students. Two of the top three institutions offer undergraduate and graduate education, while the other is solely focused on providing undergraduate courses of study. Schools that offer large numbers of programs are more likely to provide a wide range of subjects for students to explore, which can aid them in finding the field that best suits their interests and goals.

1. University of South Florida

Based out of Tampa, the University of South Florida (USF) is a public school offering a considerable number of programs that culminate in degrees from the associate's to doctoral levels as well as graduate certificates. Students can choose from an extensive variety of fields through USF's 213 programs, such as biotechnology, international business, marketing, information technology, teacher education, medicine, athletic training, gerontology, criminology and art history.

2. Hillsborough Community College

A two-year public school in Tampa, Hillsborough Community College (HCC) provides education and formal training through its 84 programs. Fields of study include hospitality management, aquaculture, business administration, computer networking, carpentry, dental assisting, corrections, nursing, veterinary assisting and culinary arts. HCC awards associate's degrees and undergraduate certificates.

3. The University of Tampa

Ranking third is The University of Tampa, a private non-profit school offering about 66 program options. Students attending this Tampa-based institution can earn bachelor's degrees, master's degrees or graduate certificates. A few of the majors and areas of study available at the university include public relations, marine biology, public health, adult health nursing, forensic science, sports management, painting, music, finance and entrepreneurship.

Net Price

The average net prices reported by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) are determined by subtracting the average amount of awarded financial aid from a school's total cost of attendance. The total cost of attendance is a figure that includes in-district or in-state undergraduate tuition, fees, textbooks, housing and academic supplies. Based on these calculations, the following three schools had the lowest 2012-2013 net prices among those compared.

1. Hillsborough Community College

Claiming the number one position in this category is HCC. Those pursuing full-time study paid an average of $5,337 for a year of enrollment.

2. University of Southern Florida

USF had the second lowest net price of the group; students paid an average of $11,335 during the 2012-2013 school year.

3. D.G. Erwin Technical Center

Tampa's D.G. Erwin Technical Center offers certificate programs in healthcare, engineering technology, construction trades and other fields. The school's net price was $15,499 on average, placing it at the bottom of the top three.

Graduation Rate

The institutions below have the highest 2013 graduation rates among the three compared schools, according to the NCES. The stats are based on full-time undergrads who completed a degree or certificate program within 150% of normal time. Graduation rates are useful for comparing school options because they can help students gauge the academic quality and effectiveness at colleges or universities.

1. University of South Florida

With a 63% graduation rate for undergrads who started their programs in fall 2007, USF leads the top three. The university's student retention rate is also high; 89% of full-time undergrads who first enrolled in bachelor's degree programs in the fall of 2012 returned to USF in the fall of 2013 (NCES).

2. The University of Tampa

Just missing out on the top spot is the University of Tampa, which has an overall graduation rate of 62%; the percentage is based on students who enrolled at the school in the fall of 2007. Of the students who started full-time bachelor's degree programs in fall 2012, 75% returned to the University of Tampa the next fall.

3. D.G. Erwin Technical Center

Like the University of Tampa, D.G. Erwin Technical Center has a 62% graduation rate. The stat is based on students who entered programs in fall 2010. The school ranks third because its population is significantly smaller in comparison to the University of Tampa's student body. However, D.G. Erwin's retention rate is higher; 81% of full-time students enrolled in programs in fall 2012 continued to study at the school a year later.

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

Student-to-faculty ratios are worthy of attention when making education decisions because they can impact the academic experience. Schools with lower ratios are more likely able to provide individualized attention and feedback to students in the classroom. The following schools have the lowest student-to-faculty ratios of those profiled, according to 2013 data from the NCES.

1. D.G. Erwin Technical Center

D.G. Erwin Technical Center ranks first for its student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1, which is low enough to likely make one-on-one interaction between students and teachers feasible. The school's instructional faculty included 76 full-time and 48 part-time employees in 2013.

2. The University of Tampa

The University of Tampa ranks second in this category for a student-to-faculty ratio of 17:1. The institution employed 279 full-time and 350 adjunct faculty members in the fall of 2013, all of which held teaching positions.

3. Hillsborough Community College

With 23 students for every one member of faculty, HCC takes the third spot among the schools. All of its faculty in 2013 held instructional positions, and 1,264 of the 1,672 professionals worked part time.

Hillsborough County Schools: At a Glance

School Name Location School Type Programs Offered Area Ranking
D.G. Erwin Technical Center Tampa, FL Public Undergraduate certificates #3 in Net Price, #3 in Graduation Rate, #1 in Student-to-Faculty Ratio
Hillsborough Community College Tampa, FL Public Undergraduate certificates and associate's degrees #2 in Program Variety, #1 in Net Price, #3 in Student-to-Faculty Ratio
The University of Tampa Tampa, FL Private non-profit Graduate certificates; bachelor's and master's degrees #3 in Program Variety, #2 in Graduation Rate, #2 in Student-to-Faculty Ratio
University of South Florida Tampa, FL Public Graduate certificates; associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees #1 in Program Variety, #2 in Net Price, #1 in Graduation Rate

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