Top 10 Online Colleges in Florida

The Sunshine State isn’t just a vacation destination. Florida boasts plenty of alluring attractions, but one of them can be enjoyed without ever setting foot in the state. For more than a century, Florida has been building a reputation for its prestigious colleges, and you can attend many of them online.

Online schools let you work toward a new credential without uprooting your life. And the credentials they offer are usually the same as you’d earn on campus. So you’re free to pursue an education that fits your life.

To help you sort through the top online schools in Florida, we’ve used data from The National Center for Education Statistics and ratings from school-ranking entities like TheBestSchools.org, AffordableCollegesOnline.org, BestColleges.com, and OnlineColleges.net.

We’ll show you each school’s:

  • Location
  • Tuition cost
  • Admissions rate
  • Graduation rate
  • Number of online degrees
  • Student population
  • Student to faculty ratio
  • Awards and accolades
  • Accreditation
  • Anything else we think will help you decide

Let’s find an online school you’ll love! For starters, here are some highlights:

Most affordable

A quality education doesn’t have to cost a fortune. If you already live in Florida, several schools on this list are incredibly affordable. University of Florida (#1 on our list), University of Central Florida (#2), and University of West Florida (#5) are all about $6,000 per year in-state. Florida International University (#3) is about $7,000 per year in-state.

If you’re not from Florida, a quality Florida education comes with a bigger price tag. The Baptist College of Florida (#10) is the most affordable school on this list for out-of-state students, coming in at about $11,000 per year. Florida Institute of Technology (#9) is a close second at about $12,000 per year.

Best graduation rate

Most people go to college in the hopes of walking away with a degree. Unfortunately, only three of the top online colleges in Florida have above average graduation rates. If your main concern is graduating, your best bet is University of Florida (#1). They have an 87 percent graduation rate.

Most online degree options

Most of these schools focus on either graduate or undergraduate studies. So if you’re looking for the best selection of online degrees, it really depends on the level of degree you have in mind. University of Florida (#1) has way more online graduate degrees than any other school on this list, but Florida International University (#3) has almost twice as many online undergraduate degrees.

You’ll probably notice that a lot of online colleges have business, education, and health-related majors. It’s not as common to see online STEM degrees, but they do exist. We’ll let you know when schools have programs that really stand out.

Best job placement rate

Most schools won’t tell you what percentage of their graduates have jobs, because they don’t have to. Keiser University (#6) was the only school on this list to report their job placement rate, so they win by default here. Still, their 91.8 percent placement rate is pretty good, and they provide the data for you to explore which majors had even better rates.

Now, on to the top ten!

1. University of Florida

Arial view of University of Florida campus
Image source: University of Florida
Location: Gainesville, Florida
Tuition cost:

  • In-state: about $6,000 per year
  • Out-of-state: about $29,000 per year

Admissions rate: 46%
Graduation rate: 87%
Number of online degrees:

  • Undergraduate: 18
  • Graduate: 53

Student population: 52,000+
Student to faculty ratio: 20 to 1
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on TheBestSchools.org: 1
  • Rank on OnlineColleges.net: 1
  • Rank on BestColleges.com: 2
  • Rank on AffordableCollegeOnline.org: 2

University of Florida offers a good selection of online bachelor degrees, and an even wider selection of online graduate-level degrees. In addition to the 18 majors, you can also choose to add one of five minor options.

University of Florida is the #8 best online college in the country.

Here are a couple of their noteworthy online degree programs:

At some schools, you may feel like being an online student means you miss out on a lot of career advancement opportunities. But that’s not the case at all with University of Florida. Online students at UF can take full advantage of the same nationally ranked career center as on-campus students, and you can even supplement your studies with an internship or research opportunities. You’ll also meet once per term with an academic advisor.

Here’s how they put it:

“UF Online provides an unparalleled education to determined individuals—wherever life takes them. We remove barriers, so our students can break through. And those who have what it takes to complete one of our fully online four-year programs earn the same University of Florida degree as their counterparts on campus.”

Whether you’re preparing for graduate studies or looking to start a career, UF gives you the flexibility you need to craft a degree that fits your goals.

In this inspirational video, University of Florida shows you how you can get an online education on your terms:

University of Florida has 400,000+ alumni, and as a student, you’ll be plugged into this network. Regardless of your major, there’s bound to be a huge group of alumni that can help connect your to employers, internship opportunities, and more.

2. University of Central Florida

University of Central Florida campus
Image source: University of Central Florida
Location: Orlando, Florida
Tuition cost:

  • In-state: about $6,000 per year
  • Out-of-state: about $22,000 per year

Admissions rate: 50%
Graduation rate: 69%
Number of online degrees:

  • Undergraduate: 21
  • Graduate: 27

Student population: 64,000+
Student to faculty ratio: 30 to 1
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on BestColleges.com: 1
  • Rank on TheBestSchools.org: 3
  • Rank on OnlineColleges.net: 3
  • Rank on AffordableCollegeOnline.org: 5

University of Central Florida offers a diverse selection of online degrees through UCF Online.

UCF is the #9 best online college in the U.S.

A couple of their degree programs have been nationally ranked as well. They have the:

Here’s what they say about their online degree programs:

“Whether you’re around the corner or across the globe, transferring from another institution or returning to college as a nontraditional learner, the University of Central Florida’s online bachelor’s degrees are designed and taught by the same award-winning faculty who teach these classes at our main campus in Orlando, FL. Every course—online and traditional—is held to the same high-quality standards.”

As a student at UCF, you’ll have access to a wide range of online student services and you’ll still be eligible for internship opportunities.

Here’s what one student’s experience with online classes looked like:

https://player.vimeo.com/video/134733267

UCF also has a “Knights Online” page that teaches you more about how online classes work.

The transfer rate at University of Central Florida is just 4 percent. That’s significantly lower than the national average, and it means that people who start here typically stay here.

3. Florida International University

Florida International University campus
Image source: Florida International University
Location: Miami, Florida
Tuition cost:

  • In-state: about $7,000 per year
  • Out-of-state: about $19,000 per year

Admissions rate: 50%
Graduation rate: 56%
Number of online degrees:

  • Undergraduate: 34
  • Graduate: 24

Student population: 55,000+
Student to faculty ratio: 27 to 1
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on AffordableCollegeOnline.org: 3
  • Rank on BestColleges.com: 4
  • Rank on TheBestSchools.org: 7
  • Rank on OnlineColleges.net: 8

Florida International University offers a wide selection of liberal arts degrees, including several business programs. At the graduate level, they offer some STEM degree programs as well.

FIU has the #3 online BBA degree program in the country.

In addition to their degree programs, FIU has a variety of other online education programs, including Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), which are free and open to anyone. These are condensed versions of college courses, and there’s no instructor. MOOCs help the general public stay educated about topics like cyber security, emergency preparedness, and public health, as well as provide basic training in things like real estate and entrepreneurship.

For those looking for professional credentials and a lighter course load, they have a selection of undergraduate and graduate level certificate programs as well.

Note: FIU has a one percent transfer rate. It’s rare for someone to start their education here and decide to finish it somewhere else.

4. Saint Leo University

Aerial view of Saint Leo University campus
Image source: Saint Leo University
Location: Saint Leo, Florida
Tuition cost: about $21,000 per year
Admissions rate: 70%
Graduation rate: 40%
Number of online degrees:

  • Undergraduate: 25
  • Graduate: 29

Student population: 14,000+
Student to faculty ratio: 16 to 1
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on OnlineColleges.net: 9
  • Rank on BestColleges.com: 10
  • Rank on AffordableCollegeOnline.org: 1

Saint Leo University has a good selection of online degrees in business, psychology, sociology, education, and criminal justice. Students can also supplement their bachelor’s degree with one of four online minors.

Online students at SLU have access to a suite of career services, including:

  • Résumé help from someone familiar with your program and field
  • Mock interviews (over the phone or online)
  • Online webinars with tips for networking, interviewing, and resume building
  • Cover letter assistance
  • Help with job searching

This is the oldest Catholic university in Florida, and they’ve been providing online courses for 20 years.

5. University of West Florida

University of West Florida sign
Image source: University of West Florida
Location: Pensacola, Florida
Tuition cost:

  • In-state: about $6,000 per year
  • Out-of-state: about $19,000 per year

Admissions rate: 41%
Graduation rate: 49%
Number of online degrees:

  • Undergraduate: 7
  • Graduate: 18

Student population: 12,000+
Student to faculty ratio: 22 to 1
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on OnlineColleges.net: 4
  • Rank on BestColleges.com: 5
  • Rank on AffordableCollegeOnline.org: 6

University of West Florida’s online degree programs are relatively balanced between STEM fields and humanities. They also have a good selection of online certificate programs. And if you’ve already started your degree elsewhere, it looks like they have more than 90 degree completion programs (though the website doesn’t list what they are).

About 30% of all students at UWF are fully online.

Fun fact: UWF supports over 11,500 jobs and generates $1.2 billion in annual income and wages.

6. Keiser University at Ft. Lauderdale

Keiser University, Ft. Lauderdale campus
Image source: Keiser University
Location: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Tuition cost: about $18,000 per year
Admissions rate: Open admissions
Graduation rate: 67%
Job placement rate: 91.8%
Number of online degrees:

  • Undergraduate: 24
  • Graduate: 3

Student population: 19,000+
Student to faculty ratio: 14 to 1
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on AffordableCollegeOnline.org: 4
  • Rank on BestColleges.com: 6
  • Rank on OnlineColleges.net: 7

Keiser University at Ft. Lauderdale’s online degree programs mostly fall under business, health, education, and criminal justice. Several of these programs are also available in Spanish.

Here’s what Keiser University wants you to know about their online programs:

“As a student at Keiser University you have access to the staff within the Department of Student Services and resources to assist you with résumé preparation, interviewing skills coaching, mock interviewing, professional development workshops, and job postings on our online career center*. You have the opportunity to get involved in student organizations such as Student Government Association, Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, and Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society which can enhance your personal and professional development while earning your degree.”

While KU’s overall job placement rate is 91.8 percent, it varies quite a bit from program to program. If you find an online degree program that interests you, check out their 2016 job placement data to see how it compares.

7. Southeastern University

Southeastern University campus
Image source: Southeastern University
Location: Lakeland, Florida
Tuition cost: about $24,000 per year
Admissions rate: 46%
Graduation rate: 41%
Number of online degrees:

  • Undergraduate: 8
  • Graduate: 8

Student population: 5,800+
Student to faculty ratio: 21 to 1
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on BestColleges.com: 9

Southeastern University offers online degrees in business, education, social sciences, ministry, design, and criminal justice. They have two online certificate programs as well.

SU is a Christian college. Their undergraduate programs have a required core of religion classes, and while the school’s Christian perspective may not come up in every class, some major-related courses (like servant leadership) naturally incorporate elements of Christianity.

The school says, “We are committed to transforming minds by integrating principles of faith, learning, and service into the lives of our students. Along the way, you will be nurtured through faculty and staff investment, solid community relationships, rigorous scholarship, diverse learning experiences, and disciplined spiritual formation that will propel you toward a lifetime of serving Christ.”

8. Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University campus
Image source: Nova Southeastern University
Location: Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Tuition cost: about $29,000 per year
Admissions rate: 53%
Graduation rate: 50%
Number of online degrees:

  • Undergraduate: 4
  • Graduate: 35

Student population: 21,000+
Student to faculty ratio: 17 to 1
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on OnlineColleges.net: 6
  • Rank on BestColleges.com: 7
  • Rank on TheBestSchools.org: 8

Nova Southeastern University offers online undergraduate degrees in business, health, psychology, and nursing. Their online graduate programs cover a broad range of fields (including STEM programs), but most graduate degrees fall under education. NSU also offers more online PhD programs than any of the other schools on this list.

NSU first started providing distance education in 1972, and they’ve been building a reputation for providing accessible education ever since.

The founders of Nova Southeastern University envisioned the school as a sort of “MIT of the south.” It began with a strong focus on physical and social sciences, but quickly expanded its scope to include numerous other fields.

Fun fact: The Carnegie Foundation has classified the school as a research institution with “high research activity,” and NSU is one of only fifty universities in the country to receive Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification.

9. Florida Institute of Technology

Florida Institute of Technology campus
Image source: Florida Institute of Technology
Location: Melbourne, Florida
Tuition cost: about $12,000 per year
Admissions rate: N/A
Graduation rate: N/A
Number of online degrees:

  • Undergraduate: 26
  • Graduate: 19

Student population: 2,700+
Student to faculty ratio: 17 to 1
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on OnlineColleges.net: 5
  • Rank on TheBestSchools.org: 5

Florida Institute of Technology offers online undergraduate programs in psychology, business, criminal justice, and information technology. They have many online MBA and MS in information technology programs as well. One of their more unique programs is an online AA in aviation management. They also offer a minor in human resource management.

FIT’s online master in human resource management program is the fifth best in the country.

While a lot of online degree programs simply provide you with a PowerPoint presentation to supplement recorded lectures, FIT says, “Our faculty collaborates with instructional designers to ensure each course features an interactive, media-rich experience for our students.”

At FIT, interactions with classmates and professors won’t be limited to email or discussion boards. You’ll also use chat to collaborate on group projects and communicate with your professors.

10. The Baptist College of Florida

The Baptist College of Florida logo
Image source: The Baptist College of Florida
Location: Graceville, Florida
Tuition cost: about $11,000 per year
Admissions rate: 59%
Graduation rate: 53%
Number of online degrees:

  • Undergraduate: 22
  • Graduate: 2

Student population: 400+
Student to faculty ratio: 10 to 1
Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges
Awards and accolades:

  • Rank on OnlineColleges.net: 2
  • Rank on BestColleges.com: 3

The Baptist College of Florida is a small private school with a good selection of online undergraduate degrees in the humanities. Most of their degree programs are in the field of education, music, or religion. They also offer four online minors.

All of BCF’s courses and degree programs are available online.

As you’ll see in this video, every program is taught from a Christian worldview, and every subject is connected to ministry:

https://vimeo.com/151046201

You don’t have to be a member of the Baptist church to get in, but if you go here, you should expect to receive a Baptist education.

A quick note on transferring schools

According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, more than one-third of all college students transfer schools before graduating. In order to transfer your credits from one school to another, the two schools usually have to be accredited by the same organizations.

Thankfully, all of these schools are regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, so you should be able to transfer between them pretty easily.

Should I go to an online school in Florida?

These are the top online schools in Florida. There are some really good online colleges on this list, but only two of them made the cut for our list of the best online schools in the country. Unless you’re attached to one of these schools because you grew up rooting for their teams, or someone you know went there, I’d recommend broadening your search.

If you’re looking at in-state schools because you heard out-of-state schools cost more, you should know: that doesn’t apply to a lot of online schools. Notice how some of the colleges on this list don’t separate in-state and out-of-state tuition? Many schools have one tuition rate for all online students, regardless of where they live. And since you won’t have to move anyways (you’re an online student, after all), it certainly can’t hurt to look at the best of the best.

The most undergraduate degrees offered by any of these schools is 71. Most of these schools offer less than half of that. But some schools in other parts of the country offer well over 100 fully online degree options. Check it out.

The best school is really up to you

Honestly, we can’t tell you which online college is the best choice for you—and you shouldn’t let anyone else do that, either. You have to weigh the factors that are most important to you and let that guide your decision. Choosing a school is a huge investment—both in terms of what it immediately costs you and how it affects your life. So take your time.

We hope this list has helped make the decision a little easier for you. Good luck in your future studies!

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