Sarasota, Florida (FL) Colleges and Universities

There are around seven mainstream, nonprofit schools within Sarasota and the surrounding area. Read about the schools with the most program variety, highest graduation rates, lowest student-faculty ratios, and lowest costs to find the school for you.

School Ranking Overview

Sarasota and its surrounding area offers students a variety of options, including three public 4-year institutions, three 4-year private not-for-profit schools, a 2-year public school, and a less-than-two-year option. The information in this article draws on several sources and compares the schools to rank the top three in each of the following categories:

  • Most Program Variety
  • Lowest Net Price
  • Highest Graduation Rate
  • Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

Most Program Variety

Students researching the breadth of programs available around Sarasota will find one school with as many as 74 program offerings and another one with only two. Prospective students who haven't yet charted their career paths might want to keep their options open and consider a school's program variety when deciding where to attend. The top three mainstream, not-for-profit Sarasota-area schools for program variety are ranked below.

1 - Manatee Technical Institute

Manatee Technical Institute, a 2-year public school located in Bradenton, has roughly 1,714 students and approximately 74 different certificate programs, per NCES data. According to the NCES, the institute conferred 168 less-than-1-year, 360 1- to less-than-2-year, and 22 2- to less-than-4-year certificates in the 2011-2012 academic year. During this time, some of the most popular fields of study were health information/medical records technology, cosmetology, and nursing assisting.

2 - State College of Florida - Manatee-Sarasota

Of the mainstream schools in the Sarasota region, this 4-year, public university, located in Bradenton, comes in second place with 47 programs offered to a student population of 11,349, per the NCES. Associate's degrees comprise the largest number of credentials conferred. The NCES published that in 2011-2012, 1,714 associate's degrees, 44 bachelor's degrees, and 65 undergraduate certificates were awarded. The most popular field of study during this time was liberal arts, with registered nursing coming in a distant second. The college offers distance learning options for several programs, including its associate's degree in computer and information sciences program and its associate's and bachelor's degree in registered nursing programs.

3 - Sarasota County Technical Institute

This less-than-2-year public school offers 45 different programs to its 552 students. Information published by the NCES shows that of the 342 certificates awarded in 2011-2012, the most popular fields of study were vocational nursing, emergency medical technology, and fire science.

Lowest Net Price

The NCES calculates the average net price of a school by subtracting the average amount of financial aid received by a students from the total cost of attending that school. The net prices for the schools below apply to the 2010-2011 academic year and range from $3,113 to $10,599.

1 - Manatee Technical Institute

This school had a net price of $3,113 in 2010-2011, making it the most affordable school in the area. Fifty-five percent of full-time incoming students that year received financial aid, based on NCES statistics. Fifty-four percent of all undergraduates received grant or scholarship aid, with the average amount received being $3,943. Tuition and fees for the 2012-2013 school year were $3,830.

2 - Sarasota County Technical Institute

With a net price of $7,135, this 4-year public college is the second most affordable school in the Sarasota area according to the NCES's 2010-2011 figures. This source also reports that tuition and fees for 2012-2013 were $5,712. Among the full-time incoming students during the 2010-2011 school year, 46% received financial aid and none of the students received federal loans. Twenty-seven percent of all undergraduates received an average of $3,569 in the form of grants or scholarships.

3 - State College of Florida - Manatee-Sarasota

Third place in this category belongs to State College of Florida - Manatee-Sarasota, with a net price of $10,599 in 2010-2011. Eighty-four percent of full-time beginning undergraduate students received some type of financial aid in the 2010-2011 academic year, per NCES data. Among the total undergraduate population during this period, 29% received federal loans averaging $6,465 and 62% received grants of scholarships averaging $7,011. The same source estimates that tuition and fees in 2012-2013 totaled $3,074 for Florida residents and $11,597 for nonresidents.

Highest Graduation Rate

The NCES calculates overall graduation rates for U.S. schools, indicating the percentage of students who finish their programs within 150% of 'normal' time (e.g., six years for bachelor's degrees and three years for associate's degrees). The schools profiled below have graduation rates ranging from 70% to 48% and represent the area's nonprofit, mainstream schools with the highest graduation rates.

1 - Manatee Technical Institute

Manatee Technical Institute had a 6-year graduation rate of 70% and a 4-year graduation rate of 14% among students who began their studies in the 2008-2009 academic year. Of students who began their studies at this time, females graduated within six years 78% of the time, while males accomplished the same 63% of the time. In addition, 77% of full-time students and 60% of part-timers who started at Manatee Technical Institute in 2010 returned to the school for their second year in 2011, according to the NCES.

2 - New College of Florida

For 2013, U.S. News & World Report ranked this Sarasota school as #87 among national liberal arts colleges. With a graduation rate of 68% for students who started their programs in 2005, it comes in as the nonprofit school with the second highest graduation rate in the Sarasota area. New College of Florida's 4-year graduation rate during the same period was 50%. The NCES reports that 86% of first-time full-time students who started in 2010 returned in 2011 to continue their studies.

3 - Sarasota County Technical Institute

This school's overall graduation rate was 48% among first-time full-time students who began in the 2008-2009 academic year, a decrease from the previous year's graduation rate of 67%. Its 4-year graduation rate also dropped, falling from 62% among first-time full-time students who started in 2007 to 41% the following year. According to the NCES, 60% of full-time and 56% of part-time undergraduate students who began in 2010 returned to the school in 2011.

Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio

According to some, the ratio of faculty members to students influences student success and satisfaction. The mainstream, nonprofit schools in the area with the lowest student-faculty ratios are profiled below. The ratios range from 3:1 to 10:1.

1 - Sarasota County Technical Institute

With a very low student-faculty ratio of 3:1, Sarasota County Technical Institute comes in first place based on information supplied by the NCES. Additional information provided by the NCES shows that in the fall of 2011, the institute employed 59 full-time and 295 part-time faculty members.

2 - Manatee Technical Institute

This school boasts a student-faculty ratio of 8:1, per NCES data. NCES figures also showed that the institute had 52 full-time and 149 part-time faculty members in 2011.

3 - New College of Florida

U.S. News & World Report published that in 2011, New College of Florida's student-to-faculty ratio was 10:1 and 66.7% of the school's classes contained less than 20 students. The college had 74 full-time and 28 part-time faculty members in Fall 2011, based on NCES figures.

Sarasota Area Schools at a Glance

School Name Location School Type Program Levels Offered Area Ranking
Manatee Technical Institute Bradenton, Florida (8 miles from Sarasota) 2-year, Public Less-than-1-year, 1- to less-than-2-year, and 2- to less-than-4-year certificates Most Program Variety,
Lowest Net Price,
Highest Graduation Rate,
2nd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
New School of Florida Sarasota, Florida 4-year, Public Bachelor's degrees 2nd Highest Graduation Rate,
3rd Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio
Sarasota County Technical Institute Sarasota, Florida Less-than-2-year, Public Less-than-1-year and 1- to less-than-2-year certificates Lowest Student-Faculty Ratio,
2nd Lowest Net Price,
3rd Most Program Variety,
3rd Highest Graduation Rate
State College of Florida - Manatee-Sarasota Bradenton, Florida (7.7 miles from Sarasota) 4-year, Public Less-than-1-year and 1- to less-than-2-year certificates; associate's and bachelor's degrees 2nd Most Program Variety,
3rd Lowest Net Price

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