Florida’s Best Liberal Arts Colleges & Universities of 2021

Liberal arts colleges are a great option for students seeking a well-rounded education in an intimate campus setting. The best liberal arts colleges in Florida offer a diverse selection of degree programs with opportunities for a highly individualized educational experience.

Florida’s Best Liberal Arts 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.

Moresee more

Related: Differences between research universities and teaching colleges

Florida's Best Colleges and Universities 2021 badge
Download Badge

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.

Moresee more

10 Best Liberal Arts Colleges & Universities in Florida

A liberal arts college is a school that puts a premium on undergraduate studies and offers a broad range of subjects for students to study. A college of liberal arts typically provides smaller class sizes, more direct engagement with professors, and, most importantly, the opportunity to sample a wide range of subject areas on the way to a bachelor’s degree. We’ve identified 59 liberal arts universities in Florida. The list below of the 25 best liberal arts schools in the state satisfies the following three conditions:

  1. It must be a non-profit institution.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. Its graduation rate must be above 50%.

  1. New College of Florida
    #1

    New College of Florida

    #1262 institution's overall influence
    #846 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1270/28

    Sarasota, FL

    View profile

  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

    View profile

    What is Eckerd College known for?

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. Ave Maria University
    #3

    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

    View profile

  4. Rollins College
    #4

    Rollins College

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

    Tuition + fees

    $52K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    75%

    Student body

    4K

    Winter Park, FL

    View profile

    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

  5. Stetson University
    #5

    Stetson University

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

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    4K

    DeLand, FL

    View profile

    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

  6. Flagler College
    #6

    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

  7. Florida Southern College
    #7

    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

  8. Everglades University
    #8

    Everglades University

    #7942 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $18K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    2K

    Boca Raton, FL

    View profile

  9. Eastern Florida State College
    #9

    Eastern Florida State College

    #5809 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Student body

    11K

    Cocoa, FL

    View profile

    What is Eastern Florida State College known for?

    Eastern Florida State College's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. University of South Florida Sarasota–Manatee
    #10

    University of South Florida Sarasota–Manatee

    #9461 institution's overall influence
    #103 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    24%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1225/27

    Sarasota, FL

    View profile

Find the Best Schools in Florida for your Major

Anthropology

Biology

Business

Chemistry

Communications

Computer Science

Criminal Justice

Earth Sciences

Economics

Education

Engineering

History

Law

Literature

Mathematics

Medical

Nursing

Philosophy

Physics

Political Science

Psychology

Religious Studies

Social Work

Sociology

Resources for College-Bound Students

Photo By: Ave Maria University

Want to be an Academic Influence Insider? Sign up to get the latest news, information, and rankings in our upcoming newsletter.