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.

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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

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?

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.

20 Best Private Colleges & 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

    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
  3. #3

    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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  4. #4

    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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  5. #5

    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

  6. #6

    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

  7. #7

    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
  8. #8

    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

  9. #9

    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

  10. #10

    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
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  11. #11

    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
  12. #12

    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
  13. #13

    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
  14. #14

    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
  15. #15

    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
  16. #16

    University of Tampa

    #1852 institution's historical influence
    #1024 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $31K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1175/25

    Tampa, FL

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    What is University of Tampa known for?

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

    • History
    • Education
    • Literature
    • Political Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Economics
    • Communications
    REQUEST INFO
  17. #17

    Saint Leo University

    #3000 institution's historical influence
    #291 overall school desirability

    Tuition + fees

    $25K

    Acceptance

    73%

    Graduation

    50%

    Student body

    10K

    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
    • Criminal Justice
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. #18

    Keiser University

    #3126 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $21K

    Acceptance

    97%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    29K

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

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    What is Keiser University known for?

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

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

    Beacon College

    #6418 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    45%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    <1K

    Leesburg, FL

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    What is Beacon College known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
  20. #20

    Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach

    #6118 institution's historical influence

    Tuition + fees

    $38K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    7K

    Daytona Beach, FL

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

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO

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