Florida’s Best Colleges & Universities of 2021

Here are the best colleges and universities in Florida, categorized into two lists – research universities and liberal arts colleges – to help you find the right kind of school for you.

Florida’s Best Colleges & Universities of 2021

Colleges and Universities in Florida

Coming in under the national tuition average at $6,360, Florida’s colleges and universities make earning your degree affordable. Prospective students can choose from 40 public and 50 private institutions that award associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in fields like anthropology, nursing, law, religious studies, and earth sciences. With over 165,000 students across eight campuses and 21 outreach centers, Miami Dade College is the largest public college in the state with a tuition of $3,000.

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Students seeking a religious school can choose from 21 colleges and universities that are grounded in Judeo-Christian, Catholic, Seventh-day Adventist, and Christian principals. Ranked as the top two schools, the University of Florida (UF) and Florida State University (FSU) both have large student populations, with just over 45,000 at UF and just under 39,000 as FSU. Both are also affordable, with tuition at $6,000 and $7,000, respectively.

At $50,000, the University of Miami is the most expensive private college in the state and has graduated influential people, such as Gene Roddenberry, Sylvester Stallone, and Dwayne The Rock Johnson. Florida also offers its nursing students up to $4,000 in loan forgiveness through their Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program.

Coastal cities, sandy beaches, orange groves, and vibrant flowers — it’s no wonder Florida is called The Sunshine State. Home to the famous Everglades National Park and Disney World, Florida also boasts 90 higher education institutes.

With so many options and in such a beautiful setting, Florida has a lot to offer higher education students. Check out Florida’s best degree programs and top career paths.


What are Florida’s Colleges & Universities?

Florida’s Best Overall

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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How do we determine Florida's best colleges and universities?

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great. This is why, at the undergraduate level, we rank the best colleges and universities based on what we call “Concentrated Influence”. Concentrated Influence takes the combined influence score of a college or university’s top academic influencers (including faculty and alums) and divides it by the school’s total number of undergraduates.

Using concentrated influence gives small and mid-sized schools an opportunity to shine by taking away the size advantage of larger universities. A small school with proportionately more influential faculty than a large school, whose influence in absolute terms may be bigger, will nonetheless score higher in a concentrated influence ranking. Our approach highlights undergraduate schools that truly rank for excellence, regardless of size.

If you are serious about finding the best colleges and universities for a bachelor’s degree, you should be asking where the most influential professors are teaching and whether their graduates are themselves advancing the school’s reputation for academic excellence.

Most ranking sites rely on an opaque combination of reputation surveys and arbitrary performance metrics. Concentrated Influence provides a ranking that is free from bias, insulated from manipulation, and reflective of real-world educational outcomes.


We’ve identified a total of 72 colleges and universities in Florida that meet our criteria. This list of the top 25 schools below focuses on schools that offer four-year undergraduate degrees, must be fully accredited, and includes both public and private colleges and universities.

  1. It must be fully accredited.
  2. It must have a student body of at least 1,000 students.
  3. Its graduation rate must be above 40%

25 Best Colleges and Universities in Florida


  1. #1

    University of Miami

    #143 institution's historical influence
    #106 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    33%

    Graduation

    83%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1355/30

    Coral Gables, FL

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    What is University of Miami known for?

    University of Miami’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Law
    • Mathematics
    • Engineering
    • Philosophy
    • Physics
    • Education
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Eckerd College

    #1824 institution's historical influence
    #357 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/26

    Saint Petersburg, FL

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    What is Eckerd College known for?

    Eckerd College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Literature
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Anthropology
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

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  3. #3

    University of Florida

    #72 institution's historical influence
    #45 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    31%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    47K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1390/30

    Gainesville, FL

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    What is University of Florida known for?

    University of Florida’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • History
    • Law
    • Chemistry
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. #4

    Florida State University

    #156 institution's historical influence
    #174 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    32%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    40K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1270/28

    Tallahassee, FL

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    What is Florida State University known for?

    Florida State University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Law
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Chemistry
    • Political Science
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. #5

    Florida Institute of Technology

    #857 institution's historical influence
    #385 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    5K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1255/27

    Melbourne, FL

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    What is Florida Institute of Technology known for?

    Florida Institute of Technology’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry
    • Law
    • Medical
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  6. #6

    Rollins College

    #971 institution's historical influence
    #472 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    81%

    Student body

    3K

    Winter Park, FL

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    What is Rollins College known for?

    Rollins College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Literature
    • Education
    • Chemistry
    • History
    • Economics
    • Communications
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. #7

    St. Thomas University

    #3718 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    35%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    990/19

    Miami Gardens, FL

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    What is St. Thomas University known for?

    St. Thomas University ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Education
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • History
    • Criminal Justice
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #8

    University of South Florida

    #336 institution's historical influence
    #239 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    49%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    44K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1250/27

    Tampa, FL

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    What is University of South Florida known for?

    University of South Florida’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Business
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • Mathematics
    • Computer Science
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #9

    Nova Southeastern University

    #983 institution's historical influence
    #678 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    14K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1175/24

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

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    What is Nova Southeastern University known for?

    Nova Southeastern University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
    • Psychology
    • Business
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Law
    • Mathematics
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
  10. #10

    Florida A&M University

    #1196 institution's historical influence
    #122 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    33%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    8K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1095/21

    Tallahassee, FL

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    What is Florida A&M University known for?

    Florida A&M University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Law
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Chemistry
    • Psychology
  11. #11

    Florida International University

    #519 institution's historical influence
    #215 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    48K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1195/25

    Miami, FL

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    What is Florida International University known for?

    Florida International University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Law
    • Computer Science
    • Literature
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #12

    Florida Atlantic University

    #682 institution's historical influence
    #1363 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1160/24

    Boca Raton, FL

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    What is Florida Atlantic University known for?

    Florida Atlantic University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • History
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  13. #13

    Ave Maria University

    #2863 institution's historical influence
    #1037 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/24

    Ave Maria, FL

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    What is Ave Maria University known for?

    Ave Maria University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • Philosophy
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Physics
    • Literature
  14. #14

    University of Central Florida

    #494 institution's historical influence
    #181 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    45%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    60K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1255/27

    Orlando, FL

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    What is University of Central Florida known for?

    University of Central Florida’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • History
  15. #15

    Stetson University

    #999 institution's historical influence
    #797 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    4K

    DeLand, FL

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    What is Stetson University known for?

    Stetson University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Law
    • Business
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Philosophy
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Religious Studies

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. #16

    Flagler College

    #4119 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $20K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    3K

    Saint Augustine, FL

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    What is Flagler College known for?

    Flagler College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • History
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
    • Economics
    • Psychology
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. #17

    Florida Southern College

    #1821 institution's historical influence
    #1434 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1192/26

    Lakeland, FL

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    What is Florida Southern College known for?

    Florida Southern College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Biology
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Religious Studies
    • Literature
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    REQUEST INFO
  18. #18

    Jacksonville University

    #1798 institution's historical influence
    #406 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/21

    Jacksonville, FL

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    What is Jacksonville University known for?

    Jacksonville University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Education
    • History
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Mathematics
    • Engineering
    • Nursing
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  19. #19

    Seminole State College of Florida

    #4138 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    12K

    Sanford, FL

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    What is Seminole State College of Florida known for?

    Seminole State College of Florida’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Engineering
    • Nursing
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. #20

    University of West Florida

    #2019 institution's historical influence
    #156 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1170/25

    Pensacola, FL

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    What is University of West Florida known for?

    University of West Florida’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Education
    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Communications
    • Philosophy
  21. #21

    Palm Beach Atlantic University

    #3574 institution's historical influence
    #941 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1090/23

    West Palm Beach, FL

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    What is Palm Beach Atlantic University known for?

    Palm Beach Atlantic University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Religious Studies
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Philosophy
    • Business
    • History
    • Law
    • Biology
    • Psychology
  22. #22

    Lynn University

    #4109 institution's historical influence
    #543 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/23

    Boca Raton, FL

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    What is Lynn University known for?

    Lynn University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Education
    • Communications
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Sociology
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  23. #23

    Everglades University

    #8037 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $18K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    2K

    Boca Raton, FL

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    What is Everglades University known for?

    Everglades University’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Medical
  24. #24

    Southeastern University

    #6492 institution's historical influence
    #135 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $28K

    Acceptance

    43%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    7K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1060/21

    Lakeland, FL

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    What is Southeastern University known for?

    Southeastern University ’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Religious Studies
    • Education
    • Business
    • Criminal Justice
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Law
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • Biology
  25. #25

    University of North Florida

    #1510 institution's historical influence
    #1230 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1175/22

    Jacksonville, FL

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    What is University of North Florida known for?

    University of North Florida’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Education
    • Medical
    • Political Science
    • Engineering
    • Psychology
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Communications

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