Southwest Florida Colleges and Universities

There are around 40 colleges and universities in Southwest Florida. See how some of these schools compare in terms of proximity to large urban areas, student population, net price and graduation rate.

Students in Southwest Florida can choose from vocational and trade schools, 4-year colleges and universities, and 2-year community colleges. In this article, we'll look at public and private not-for-profit schools within 100 miles of Fort Myers, FL, all of which offer a variety of traditional programs, and we'll compare these schools using information from the National Center for Education Statistics.

Southwest Florida Schools Near Large Cities

For many people being in a large city is important, and Southwest Florida's cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota offer an array of public and private school options. All but one of the schools listed below are 4-year institutions.

  • Hillsborough Community College (Tampa)
  • The University of Tampa (Tampa)
  • University of South Florida-St Petersburg (St. Petersburg)
  • Eckerd College (St. Petersburg)
  • New College of Florida (Sarasota)

Largest Schools in Southwest Florida

If you are interested in networking and extracurricular activities that will help you build a strong resume, you may find schools with larger student populations helpful as well. Here are five of the largest schools in the area according to 2015 NCES reports:

  • Hillsborough Community College (26,571 enrolled students)
  • Florida SouthWestern State College (15,709 enrolled students)
  • Florida Gulf Coast University (14,833 enrolled students)
  • Polk State College (10,657 enrolled students)
  • State College of Florida-Manatee-Sarasota (10,532 enrolled students)

Lowest Net Price

The cost of education is a foremost consideration for many prospective students. To calculate the net price for a school, the NCES takes the total average expenses incurred by first-time, full-time undergraduates and subtracts the average amount of financial aid received. These figures represent prices for the 2014-2015 academic year.

  • Immokalee Technical College ($1,133)
  • South Florida State College ($5,291)
  • University of South Florida-Sarasota-Manatee ($5,324)
  • Hillsborough Community College ($5,400)
  • Manatee Technical College ($5,685)

Highest Graduation Rate

To calculate graduation rates, the NCES looks at the number of first-time, full-time undergraduates who graduated within 150% of normal time - that's six years or less for a bachelor's program. A relatively high graduation rate is one indicator of a school's overall academic track record. Seven of Southwest Florida's 2-year colleges, including Ridge Career Center and Traviss Career Center, stole the show with graduation rates ranging from 97% to 72% in 2015. Four-year schools with the highest rates are as follows:

  • New College of Florida (71% graduation rate)
  • Eckerd College (65% graduation rate)
  • Remington College-Tampa Campus (64% graduation rate)
  • Florida Southern College (57% graduation rate)
  • The University of Tampa (55% graduation rate)

This information should help you make a decision on which schools in Southwest Florida you want to apply to and inform you of what they have to offer.

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