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.

Find college admissions consultants in your state.

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.

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Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

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

The best colleges pound for pound!

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.

Find out more about our ranking methodology here.

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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. University of Miami
    #1

    University of Miami

    #135 institution's overall influence
    #106 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $52K

    Acceptance

    33%

    Graduation

    84%

    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:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. Eckerd College
    #2

    Eckerd College

    #1548 institution's overall influence
    #357 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $46K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    70%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/26

    Saint Petersburg, FL

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    What is Eckerd College known for?

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. University of Florida
    #3

    University of Florida

    #60 institution's overall influence
    #45 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    31%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    46K

    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
    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • History
    • Law
    • Education
    • Philosophy
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. Florida State University
    #4

    Florida State University

    #146 institution's overall influence
    #174 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    32%

    Graduation

    80%

    Student body

    39K

    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
    • Law
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Education
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. Rollins College
    #6

    Rollins College

    #919 institution's overall influence
    #472 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $52K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    4K

    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
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. St. Thomas University
    #7

    St. Thomas University

    #3615 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    2K

    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
    • History
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. University of South Florida
    #8

    University of South Florida

    #315 institution's overall influence
    #239 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    49%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    37K

    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
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Psychology
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Literature
    • History

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. Nova Southeastern University
    #9

    Nova Southeastern University

    #971 institution's overall influence
    #678 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $32K

    Acceptance

    76%

    Graduation

    52%

    Student body

    13K

    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
    • Education
    • Business
    • Law
    • Psychology
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • History
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. Florida A&M University
    #10

    Florida A&M University

    #1132 institution's overall influence
    #122 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    33%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    9K

    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
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Medical
    • Communications
    • Chemistry
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. Florida International University
    #11

    Florida International University

    #488 institution's overall influence
    #215 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    47K

    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
    • Political Science
    • Law
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Biology
    • Computer Science
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. Florida Atlantic University
    #12

    Florida Atlantic University

    #604 institution's overall influence
    #1363 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1160/24

    Boca Raton, FL

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    What is Florida Atlantic University known for?

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. Ave Maria University
    #13

    Ave Maria University

    #2575 institution's overall influence
    #1037 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $22K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/24

    Ave Maria, FL

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  13. University of Central Florida
    #14

    University of Central Florida

    #482 institution's overall influence
    #181 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    45%

    Graduation

    70%

    Student body

    59K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1255/27

    Orlando, FL

    View profile

    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
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Physics
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. Stetson University
    #15

    Stetson University

    #833 institution's overall influence
    #797 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    62%

    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
    • Literature
    • Medical
    • Religious Studies
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. Flagler College
    #16

    Flagler College

    #3812 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $20K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    3K

    Saint Augustine, FL

    View profile

    What is Flagler College known for?

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. Florida Southern College
    #17

    Florida Southern College

    #1721 institution's overall influence
    #1434 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    63%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1192/26

    Lakeland, FL

    View profile

    What is Florida Southern College known for?

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. Jacksonville University
    #18

    Jacksonville University

    #1512 institution's overall influence
    #406 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/21

    Jacksonville, FL

    View profile

    What is Jacksonville University known for?

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. Seminole State College of Florida
    #19

    Seminole State College of Florida

    #3878 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    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

  19. University of West Florida
    #20

    University of West Florida

    #1545 institution's overall influence
    #156 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    11K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1170/25

    Pensacola, FL

    View profile

    What is University of West Florida known for?

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

    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Business
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Chemistry
    • Communications
    • Philosophy

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. Palm Beach Atlantic University
    #21

    Palm Beach Atlantic University

    #3787 institution's overall influence
    #941 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    54%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1090/23

    West Palm Beach, FL

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    What is Palm Beach Atlantic University known for?

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. Lynn University
    #22

    Lynn University

    #4072 institution's overall influence
    #543 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    51%

    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
    • Criminal Justice
    • Sociology

    Most Influential Alumni

  22. Everglades University
    #23

    Everglades University

    #7942 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $18K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    2K

    Boca Raton, FL

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  23. Southeastern University
    #24

    Southeastern University

    #6911 institution's overall influence
    #135 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $27K

    Acceptance

    43%

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    6K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1060/21

    Lakeland, FL

    View profile

    What is Southeastern University known for?

    Most Influential Alumni

  24. University of North Florida
    #25

    University of North Florida

    #1235 institution's overall influence
    #1230 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1175/22

    Jacksonville, FL

    View profile

    What is University of North Florida known for?

    Most Influential Alumni

Find the Best Schools in Florida for your Major

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