Sarasota, Florida, City and Higher Education Information

Sarasota, Florida, is a small city on the western coast of Florida. Known for its strong artistic tradition and for being the historic home of the Ringling circus family, Sarasota has several colleges and universities offering career training programs and undergraduate and graduate degrees. Find out more about the residents, economy and schools in this city.

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Information about Sarasota, Florida

Located about 50 miles south of Tampa and around 225 miles northwest of Miami, Sarasota had a population of 54,214, based on 2014 U.S. census estimates. The city rises on a hillside beside Sarasota Bay on the Gulf Coast and is home to many writers, artists and performers. The Bohemian tradition is strong in Sarasota, which was largely developed by the circus mogul Charles Ringling, and today the area is still one of the state's leading cultural centers and is the base for several performing arts groups.

Sarasota has an extensive array of resorts, restaurants and boutiques. Siesta Key is a residential enclave of Sarasota Beach, and is home to Siesta Village, the area's popular beach hangout area. Visitors and residents can find numerous theaters, an opera house and ballet and a film society. The city also boasts the Ringling estate, the home of the art-loving circus millionaire credited with inspiring much of Sarasota's style.

Higher Education

Sarasota has eight public and private non-profit colleges and schools within 25 miles, six of which are located in the town. Charles Ringling's legacy endures in the city's Ringling School of Art and Design, a private art school that enrolls about 1,200 students. The New College of Florida is a public liberal arts institution based in the Ringling family estate and is known for its nontraditional evaluation and instruction techniques. The largest college in the city is State College of Florida-Manatee-Sarasota, which had about 10,300 students as of 2014. This public college offers associate's and bachelor's degrees. Other schools include Everglades University and Keiser University.

Economy and Employment

Sarasota's economy is dependent on tourism, education and the arts. Per 2012 census data, health care and social assistance employed nearly 11,000 people. Accommodation and food services employed about 6,000 people, while retail trade employed about 5,200 people.

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