Florida’s Best Small Colleges & Universities of 2021

Small colleges in Florida are a great option for students interested in a more intimate campus experience, more personal attention from excellent professors, and more immediate access to support services. Whether the focus is on the technical or on the liberal arts, small colleges give you the chance to pursue a well-rounded education while working closely with classmates and professors in a dynamic community atmosphere.

Florida’s Best Small 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


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The following list of the best small colleges and universities in Florida is composed mainly of four-year undergraduate schools (though a handful also offer graduate programs). We’ve identified a total of 34 small colleges in Florida. The list below of the 20 best small colleges in the state satisfies the following three conditions::

  1. It must be a non-profit institution.
  2. It must be fully accredited.
  3. Its student body must consist of 5,000 or fewer students.
  4. Its graduation rate must be above 40%.

How do we determine Florida's best small 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 Small Colleges & Universities in Florida

  1. #1

    New College of Florida

    Sarasota , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    70%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    <1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1270/28

    What is New College of Florida known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  2. #2

    Ave Maria University

    Ave Maria , FL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $23K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    53%

    Student body

    1K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1135/24

    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
    REQUEST INFO
  3. #3

    Eckerd College

    Saint Petersburg , FL
    Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $48K

    Acceptance

    69%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    2K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1185/26

    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

    REQUEST INFO
  4. #4

    Rollins College

    Winter Park , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $54K

    Acceptance

    61%

    Graduation

    81%

    Student body

    3K

    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

    REQUEST INFO
  5. #5

    St. Thomas University

    Miami Gardens , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    60%

    Graduation

    35%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    990/19

    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

    REQUEST INFO
  6. #6

    Stetson University

    DeLand , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $50K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    64%

    Student body

    4K

    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

    REQUEST INFO
  7. #7

    Flagler College

    Saint Augustine , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $20K

    Acceptance

    56%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    3K

    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

    REQUEST INFO
  8. Tuition + fees

    $39K

    Acceptance

    50%

    Graduation

    68%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1192/26

    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
    REQUEST INFO
  9. #9

    Jacksonville University

    Jacksonville , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    78%

    Graduation

    51%

    Student body

    4K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1035/21

    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
  10. #10

    Palm Beach Atlantic University

    West Palm Beach , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $33K

    Acceptance

    92%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1090/23

    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
    REQUEST INFO
  11. #11

    Lynn University

    Boca Raton , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $40K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    3K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1075/23

    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
  12. #12

    Everglades University

    Boca Raton , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $18K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Everglades University known for?

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

    • Medical
    REQUEST INFO
  13. Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    42%

    Student body

    5K

    What is St. Johns River State College known for?

    St. Johns River State College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  14. #15

    Florida Gateway College

    Lake City , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    2K

    What is Florida Gateway College known for?

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

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Nursing
    • Criminal Justice

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  15. 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
    • Business
    • Medical
    • Communications

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  16. Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    2K

    What is South Florida State College known for?

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

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO
  17. #18

    Beacon College

    Leesburg , FL

    Tuition + fees

    $43K

    Acceptance

    45%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    <1K

    What is Beacon College known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • Psychology
    REQUEST INFO
  18. Tuition + fees

    $3K

    Graduation

    47%

    Student body

    3K

    What is Lake–Sumter State College known for?

    Lake–Sumter State College’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Education
    • Medical
    • Computer Science
    REQUEST INFO
  19. #20

    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:

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

    Most Influential Alumni

    REQUEST INFO

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