Florida’s Best Private Colleges & Universities of 2021

Private colleges, unlike large public institutions, can be a great option for students wanting a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Here is our list of the best private colleges in Florida.

Florida’s Best Private 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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What is a public college? And what is the difference between a private and public college?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models — one is a private company with private funding; the other is owned by the state and receives both state and federal funding to operate. If you’re weighing the pros and cons of private vs. public college, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a four-year degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a four-year public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually.

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This list is composed entirely of private colleges and universities that offer four-year undergraduate degrees. We’ve identified 33 private universities in Florida. The list below of the 20 best private universities in the state satisfies the following three conditions:

  1. It must be a private, non-profit institution.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. It must offer a broad range of bachelor’s degrees.

How do we determine Florida's best private 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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20 Best Private Colleges & 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. Ave Maria University
    #2

    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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  3. Eckerd College
    #3

    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

  4. Rollins College
    #5

    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

  5. St. Thomas University
    #6

    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

  6. Nova Southeastern University
    #7

    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

  7. Stetson University
    #8

    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

  8. Flagler College
    #9

    Flagler College

    #3812 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $20K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    3K

    Saint Augustine, FL

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    What is Flagler College known for?

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. Florida Southern College
    #10

    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

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    What is Florida Southern College known for?

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. Jacksonville University
    #11

    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

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    What is Jacksonville University known for?

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. Palm Beach Atlantic University
    #12

    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

  12. Lynn University
    #13

    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

  13. Everglades University
    #14

    Everglades University

    #7942 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $18K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    2K

    Boca Raton, FL

    View profile

  14. Southeastern University
    #15

    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

  15. University of Tampa
    #16

    University of Tampa

    #1657 institution's overall influence
    #1024 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $30K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1175/25

    Tampa, FL

    View profile

    What is University of Tampa known for?

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

    • Education
    • History
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Communications
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. Saint Leo University
    #17

    Saint Leo University

    #2895 institution's overall influence
    #291 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $24K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    45%

    Student body

    11K

    Saint Leo, FL

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    What is Saint Leo University known for?

    Saint Leo University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • History
    • Social Work
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Sociology
    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. Keiser University
    #18

    Keiser University

    #2697 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $21K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    55%

    Student body

    29K

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    View profile

    What is Keiser University known for?

    Keiser University's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Education
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Law
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Psychology
    • Biology
  18. Beacon College
    #19

    Beacon College

    #6304 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $41K

    Acceptance

    45%

    Graduation

    72%

    Student body

    <1K

    Leesburg, FL

    View profile

  19. Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach
    #20

    Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach

    #4684 institution's overall influence

    Tuition + fees

    $37K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    6K

    Daytona Beach, FL

    View profile

    What is Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach known for?

    Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach's faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Engineering
    • Criminal Justice
    • Political Science
    • Computer Science
    • Physics
    • Communications
    • Psychology
    • Medical
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

Find Florida’s best private school for your interest

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

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