Best Public Colleges in Florida 2022

Public colleges and universities account for almost 75 percent of all undergraduate students in the U.S. The best public colleges in Florida provide broad access to reputable degree programs, affordable tuition, and sprawling educational communities.

Best Public Colleges in Florida 2022

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 in Florida can choose from 40 public and 50 private colleges that award associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in fields like anthropology, nursing, law, religious studies, and earth sciences. Nearly 40 colleges and universities in Florida offer online degrees that provide extra flexibility for educational opportunities. 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 the difference between public and private colleges?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models. Public colleges and universities are owned by the state and receive both state and federal funding to operate. Private colleges and universities are private companies with private funding. If you’re looking at the pros and cons of private vs. public colleges, 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 bachelor’s 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. Attending a college in-state is usually the cheapest option. Private universities and colleges can be very competitive with their funding opportunities, so do not simply believe that private colleges are always going to be more expensive. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually. But in the end, the cost of college comes down to each student’s academic and financial situation.

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This list is composed entirely of public colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 38 public universities in Florida. The list below of the 25 best public universities in Florida. To be included, shcools must receive direct funding from the state, be fully accredited, and offer a broad range of bachelor’s degress.

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

Methodology

The people affiliated with a school are ultimately what make it great! 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 in their fields of study.

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

To rank the influence of schools, we first determine the influence of scholars and professionals based on the number of citations and publications they have had over the past 10 years. In addition to publications and citations, we consider the web links to and from these sources, and the page views of those sources. We then match the influential people to their alma maters and institutions of employment, so that their influence is attributed to those schools. Our machine-learning Influence Ranking algorithm produces a numerical score of academic achievements, merits, and citations across Wikipedia, wikidata, Crossref, Semantic Scholar and an ever-growing body of data. If you are interested in exploring how and why we rank by influence, explore our methodology in more depth.

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Best Public Colleges in Flordia 2022

  1. #1

    University of Florida

    Gainesville , FL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    31%

    Graduation

    89%

    Student body

    47K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1390/30

    What is University of Florida known for?

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

    • Anthropology
    • History
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • Law
    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. #2

    Florida State University

    Tallahassee , FL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    32%

    Graduation

    84%

    Student body

    40K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1270/28

    What is Florida State University known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Earth Sciences
    • Social Work
    • Physics
    • Mathematics
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Business
    • Chemistry
    • Law

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    45%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    60K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1255/27

    What is University of Central Florida known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Earth Sciences
    • Physics
    • Nursing
    • Chemistry
    • Business
    • Economics
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    49%

    Graduation

    74%

    Student body

    44K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1250/27

    What is University of South Florida known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Medical
    • Social Work
    • Anthropology
    • Biology
    • Psychology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    67%

    Student body

    48K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1195/25

    What is Florida International University known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Political Science
    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Education
    • Economics
    • Business
    • Law
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. #6

    Florida Atlantic University

    Boca Raton , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $5K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    26K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1160/24

    What is Florida Atlantic University known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Criminal Justice
    • Political Science
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Engineering

    Most Influential Alumni

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  7. #8

    University of North Florida

    Jacksonville , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    66%

    Student body

    15K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1175/22

    What is University of North Florida known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. #9

    University of West Florida

    Pensacola , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    58%

    Graduation

    48%

    Student body

    10K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1170/25

    What is University of West Florida known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • Chemistry
    • Engineering
    • Anthropology
    • Sociology
    • Biology
    • Social Work
    • Political Science
    • Mathematics
    • Earth Sciences

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. #11

    Miami Dade College

    Miami , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    33%

    Student body

    45K

    What is Miami Dade College known for?

    Miami Dade College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    • Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #12

    Valencia College

    Orlando , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    34K

    What is Valencia College known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. #13

    Florida Gulf Coast University

    Fort Myers , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $6K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    13K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/23

    What is Florida Gulf Coast University known for?

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

    • Engineering
    • Computer Science
    • Economics
    • Criminal Justice
    • Biology
    • Political Science
    • Nursing
    • Mathematics
    • History
    • Social Work

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. #14

    Broward College

    Fort Lauderdale , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    35%

    Student body

    27K

    What is Broward College known for?

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

    • Criminal Justice
    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Social Work
    • Medical
    • Engineering
    • Sociology
    • Nursing

    Most Influential Alumni

  13. #15

    Santa Fe College

    Gainesville , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    11K

    What is Santa Fe College known for?

    Santa Fe College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Criminal Justice
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Medical

    Most Influential Alumni

  14. #16

    St. Petersburg College

    Clearwater , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    33%

    Student body

    19K

    What is St. Petersburg College known for?

    St. Petersburg College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  15. #17

    Tallahassee Community College

    Tallahassee , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    9K

    What is Tallahassee Community College known for?

    Tallahassee Community College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  16. Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    37%

    Student body

    11K

    What is Florida SouthWestern State College known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  17. #19

    Daytona State College

    Daytona Beach , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    10K

    What is Daytona State College known for?

    Daytona State College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  18. #20

    Indian River State College

    Fort Pierce , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    11K

    What is Indian River State College known for?

    Indian River State College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Nursing
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Political Science
    • Medical
    • Biology
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  19. Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    12K

    What is Seminole State College of Florida known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  20. Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    40%

    Student body

    17K

    What is Florida State College at Jacksonville known for?

    Florida State College at Jacksonville’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  21. #23

    Chipola College

    Marianna , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    49%

    Student body

    1K

    What is Chipola College known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  22. #24

    Palm Beach State College

    Lake Worth , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Graduation

    44%

    Student body

    21K

    What is Palm Beach State College known for?

    Palm Beach State College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  23. Tuition + fees

    $2K

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    11K

    What is Eastern Florida State College known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

  24. #26

    Northwest Florida State College

    Niceville , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    33%

    Student body

    4K

    What is Northwest Florida State College known for?

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

    • Education
    • Computer Science
    • Medical
    • Business
    • Engineering
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

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Find the best public college in Florida in your area of interest

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. New College of Florida
  2. University of Florida
  3. Florida State University
  4. University of South Florida
  5. Florida A&M University
  6. Florida International University
  7. Florida Atlantic University
  8. University of Central Florida
  9. Seminole State College of Florida
  10. University of West Florida
  11. University of North Florida
  12. Florida Gulf Coast University
  13. Eastern Florida State College
  14. Indian River State College
  15. University of South Florida Sarasota–Manatee

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Photo By William M - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0