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Ocala, Florida (FL) Colleges and Universities

While there are only two public schools in Ocala, Florida, there are multiple postsecondary institutions located within a 35-mile radius. Read about the top schools in several categories to find the school for you.

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School Ranking Overview

Located in Marion County, FL, the city of Ocala offers only a few education options for aspiring college students. Surrounding cities, however, offer nearby access to a large four-year university as well as several colleges and vocational schools. Narrowing down the options and finding the right school can be a challenge, but this article seeks to help students by comparing four of these institutions. The top three are then compared in the categories below:

  • Net Price
  • Graduation Rate
  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio
  • Largest Student Population

Net Price

Few students are fortunate enough to be unconcerned with the cost of attending college. For most, finding a reasonably priced school that doesn't break the bank is a priority. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the following three schools of the four compared have the lowest net prices for undergrads as of the 2012-2013 academic year. The net price is calculated by considering the average cost of attendance as well as the average financial aid package awarded to students.

1. Lake-Sumter State College

Formerly known as Lake-Sumter Community College, Lake-Sumter State College is a four-year public institution located in Leesburg, roughly 30 miles from Ocala. The school ranks first in this category for its net price of $4,680.

2. Marion County Community Technical and Adult Education Center

Based out of Ocala, Marion County Community Technical and Adult Education Center (CTAE) is a two-year public school offering certificate programs that train students for a range of vocations. It takes second place for its net price of $9,799.

3. College of Central Florida

The College of Central Florida, previously Central Florida Community College, is also located in Ocala. At $9,895, this four-year public school has the third lowest net price for undergraduate students. Qualified students at this institution, as well as the other schools in this article, could reduce their out-of-pocket expenses through educational financial aid programs.

Graduation Rate

Graduation rates can be helpful when comparing schools because they may offer an idea of the educational quality at the institutions. These three schools have the highest rates among of the schools featured in this article, as reported by the NCES. The stats are based on full-time undergraduate students who earned their first degree or certificate within 150% of normal program completion time.

1. University of Florida

Situated within 35 miles of Ocala, the University of Florida in Gainesville ranks first in this category. The public four-year institution has a graduation rate of 87% for first-time students who entered bachelor's degree programs in fall 2007. The retention rate for the institution -- which reflects the number of full-time students who began bachelor's degree programs in fall 2012 and returned in fall 2013 -- is 96%. Clearly, the vast majority of students feel good about their academic experience at the University of Florida.

2. Marion County Community Technical and Adult Education Center

Based on students who started their postsecondary programs in the 2010-2011 school year, CTAE has the next highest graduation rate at 63%. Of the full-time students who entered programs in fall 2012, 90% returned to the school in fall 2013 (NCES). These numbers suggest that most students at CTAE have a positive opinion of the institution's training programs.

3. College of Central Florida

The College of Central Florida ranks third for its graduation rate of 44%, which is based on students who began academic programs in the fall of 2007.

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

For students who are eager to get personalized attention from their educators, comparing colleges' student-to-faculty ratios is a smart idea. The three institutions below have the lowest ratios of the four profiled based off of fall 2013 data from the NCES.

1. Marion County Community Technical and Adult Education Center

With a student-to-faculty ratio of 9:1, CTAE students can be confident that they'll get individualized attention in the classroom. Serving a little over 400 students, the school had 32 full-time and 43 part-time educators on hand, according to 2013 NCES stats.

2. Lake-Sumter State College

Lake-Sumter comes in second place for its student-to-faculty ratio of 19:1. The school employed 78 full-time and 160 part-time instructors, as of 2013.

3. University of Florida

The University of Florida ranks third with a ratio of 21 students for every one faculty member. As of 2013, the institution employed 5,116 faculty members; nearly 83% were full-time faculty (NCES).

Largest Student Population

Whether to attend a small-scale school or a big university comes down to personal preference for many students; however, larger institutions may have more academic and extracurricular opportunities than those serving a small number of students. Of those compared, the following have the largest student populations, per NCES statistics from fall 2013.

1. University of Florida

The University of Florida is a large school with a student body of 49,878 in 2013. Of that number, 33,168 were undergraduate students.

2. College of Central Florida

The College of Central Florida enrolled 8,162 students, all of which were undergraduates, in 2013, placing the institution in the second spot among the profiled schools' student populations.

3. Lake-Sumter State College

Lake-Sumter State College had the third largest population on this list; the campus was the educational home to 4,288 undergrads in 2013.

Ocala Schools: At a Glance

School Name Location School Type Programs Offered Area Ranking
College of Central Florida Ocala, FL Public Undergraduate certificates; associate's and bachelor's degrees #3 in Net Price, #3 in Graduation Rate, #2 in Largest Student Population
Lake-Sumter State College Leesburg, FL Public Undergraduate certificates; associate's and bachelor's degrees #1 in Net Price, #2 in Student-to-Faculty Ratio, #3 in Largest Student Population
Marion County Community Technical and Adult Education Center Ocala, FL Public Undergraduate certificates #2 in Net Price, #2 in Graduation Rate, #1 in Student-to-Faculty Ratio
University of Florida Gainesville, FL Public Undergraduate and graduate certificates; associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees #1 in Graduation Rate, #3 in Student-to-Faculty Ratio, #1 in Largest Student Population
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