Frequently Asked Questions: Online Colleges in Florida

Does Florida have good online colleges and universities?

Absolutely. Florida’s online programs consistently rank among the top in the nation. For instance, according to U.S. News & World Report’s rankings, University of Florida and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University–Worldwide (which has a Florida campus) are tied for No. 1 best online bachelor’s program in the country. University of Central Florida and Daytona State College also rank highly, at No. 7 and No. 35 in the nation, respectively. At the graduate level, Florida also has strong online degree options, particularly at University of Florida, which ranks in the top 10 for a range of education, engineering, and business degrees. Florida’s community colleges also have extensive options for online courses, certificates, and degrees.

Do online college credits in Florida cost more than in-person classes?

The answer to this question depends on which college you attend. Some colleges offer discounted rates for online courses regardless of where you live, while others charge an additional fee for online courses to help cover the cost of software licenses, technical support, etc. At University of Florida, online students pay about half the tuition of on-campus students, which can save you thousands, if not tens of thousands, in the long run. However, out-of-state students tend to pay higher tuition than in-state students at public universities in Florida, even for online degrees.

Why should you choose Florida for online higher education?

Florida’s online higher education reputation speaks for itself. If you want to enroll in the highest-ranked online programs in the country, look to Florida. The state is truly a leader in online degree programs.

The Cost of Online College in Florida

How much does an online degree in Florida cost?

The cost of an online degree in Florida depends on which institution you attend as well as the type of degree you choose to pursue. For example, undergraduate courses are usually more affordable than graduate degrees. Also, you may find yourself paying more for your degree if you major in a STEM field rather than the humanities.

Regardless of the cost per credit, you should also consider that you may be able to save a lot of money on indirect expenses, such as transportation and housing, by earning your college degree online.

To give you a sense of exactly how much you should expect to pay for your online education, we’ve listed the current rates for earning an online bachelor’s degree in Florida below:

  • Most affordable online college in Florida: Florida International University, $264 per credit
  • Most expensive online college in Florida: Florida Southern College, $1,025 per credit

Average College Tuition Cost

Source: Education Data Initiative

How long do you have to live in Florida to get in-state tuition rates?

Establishing Florida residency typically requires you to have resided in Florida for at least 12 months prior to declaring Florida residency. You must also prove legal and physical ties to the state by changing your driver’s license and voter registration, owning property or paying rent, paying for utilities in the state, etc. Some exceptions are made for active-duty service members and spouses of Florida residents.

Who qualifies for reduced tuition costs in Florida?

Florida recently passed a new bill on higher education that includes some new tuition discounts and waivers. For instance, students whose grandparents reside in Florida can now qualify for in-state tuition. Because Florida is one of the country’s most popular retirement destinations, it’s likely that a fair number of out-of-state students have grandparents who live in the state, enabling them to benefit from in-state tuition. Additionally, Florida participates in the Academic Common Market — though only at the graduate level.

The state of Florida also sponsors the Florida Student Assistance Grant Program, which provides need-based funding to full-time students at Florida’s public universities and community colleges. The amount of the award differs every year. Eligibility is determined using information from the FAFSA application, so it’s important to file that early and accurately. The FAFSA will also show you if you are eligible for Federal Pell Grants, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), and other financial aid awards.

College Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Grant Programs in Florida

In addition to out-of-state tuition waivers and the Florida Student Assistance Grant Program, there are a number of other programs available that can help you cover the cost of college. Some of these programs are also based on financial need, while others are awarded based on factors such as demographics or academic merit. We’ve reviewed a few of the most prominent financial aid options for you below:

Benacquisto Scholarship Program

This scholarship provides high school graduates who receive National Merit Scholar distinction with funding to cover the difference between the cost of tuition at a Florida public university and the other financial aid and scholarships they receive.

Who’s eligible? Florida residents who achieve National Merit Scholar status and enroll at an eligible Florida postsecondary institution during the fall academic term immediately following high school graduation.

Contact information: [email protected] | 888-827-2004

Learn more

Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program

Funded by the Florida lottery, this program provides several levels of merit-based scholarship money to qualified applicants, ranging from partial to full tuition and fees to a university in Florida.

Who’s eligible? Florida high school graduates with a minimum 3.0 GPA, 75 community service hours, and ACT/SAT score of 25/1210.

Contact information: [email protected] | 888-827-2004

Learn more

First Generation Matching Grant Program

This program provides need-based funding to first-generation college students who reside in Florida and attend a public Florida university or community college.

Who’s eligible? Florida residents who are first-generation college students and are enrolled at a public university or community college in Florida.

Contact information: [email protected] | 888-827-2004

Learn more

José Martí Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund

This need-based merit scholarship provides funding to eligible Florida-resident students of Hispanic origin.

Who’s eligible? Florida residents of Hispanic origin who have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 and demonstrate a minimum of $2,000 in financial need, as determined by the FAFSA.

Contact information: [email protected] | 888-827-2004

Learn more

5 Fastest Growing Careers in Florida

If you’re still in the process of assessing your college options, you may also be undecided on your major. When selecting a major, one of the most important factors to consider is your future employability. Thinking about which industries and careers are growing the fastest in Florida can make it easier to find a job once you graduate, and being in demand should also help you earn a higher salary.

By consulting the U.S. Department of Labor’s Long-Term Employment Projections 2018–2028, we’ve determined that the following five careers have some of the highest projected growth rates in Florida:

Operations Research Analysts

Operations research analysts use the tools of math and data analysis to help companies and organizations make decisions and solve problems. Companies hire operations research analysts to bring quantitative reasoning and analysis to bear on their costs and day-to-day routine. In Florida, these professionals earn an average salary of $70,640.

Information Security Analysts

Information security analysts monitor and manage an organization’s computer networks and systems. Specifically, information security analysts keep an organization’s data safe. As cybersecurity and information security become increasingly important in our digital world, these security analysts are in high demand. They are also well-compensated, making an average annual salary of $95,190 in Florida.

Physician Assistants

Physician assistants (PAs) are one of the most in-demand health professionals. They work under physicians to support patient care, and must complete extensive education and medical training. They are not as highly compensated as physicians, but they still make six-figure salaries. The average annual PA salary in Florida is $108,820.

​​Software Developers (Applications)

As governments, companies, and individuals become ever more reliant on web-based technologies, it’s no surprise the skills of software developers, especially app developers, are in high demand. Salaries in this field tend to be quite high, with software developers earning an average salary of $100,030 per year in Florida.

Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners (NPs) are advanced practice registered nurses who specialize in diagnosing and treating patients with an emphasis on preventative care and health education. They are quickly becoming many Americans’ preferred primary care professionals. NPs tend to be well-compensated; in Florida they earn an average salary of $101,060 per year.

Our Research

This list features some of the best online college programs in Florida. We included liberal arts colleges and research universities, as well as larger and midsized institutions. We based our selections on tuition costs, the number of credits required to graduate, and the online coursework delivery format.

For this list, we only included accredited institutions that employ a high standard of quality for post-secondary institutions. Most of the colleges on our list are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), a reputable organization that examines the academic objectives, quality, and overall effectiveness of education programs in the southern United States.

  • 79hours to write this article
  • 129universities and colleges we assessed
  • 247education programs we compared

The Top 50 Online Colleges in Florida

Best Online Colleges in Florida Badge
loader Image