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Our Research

This list features some of the best online schools in Florida. Each school featured is a nonprofit, accredited institution — either public or private — with a high standard of academic quality for post-secondary institutions. We included liberal arts colleges and research universities as well as small, midsize, and large institutions. Next, we compared this comprehensive list to a list of aggregated college rankings from reputable publications like the U.S. News & World Report among others to simplify a student’s college search. We pored through these rankings so students don’t have to.

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.

We evaluated each school on tuition costs, admission, retention and graduation rates, faculty, and reputation as well as the student resources provided for online students. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score on a scale of 0 to 100. Read more about our ranking methodology.

Online College Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

The Top 50 Online Colleges in Florida

Best Online Colleges in Florida Badge

University of Florida

The Baptist College of Florida

University of Central Florida

The University of West Florida

Florida Institute of Technology

Nova Southeastern University

Keiser University

Florida International University

Saint Leo University

Florida Gulf Coast University

Southeastern University

Warner University

Everglades University

Daytona State College

Eastern Florida State College

Barry University

Florida Atlantic University

St. Petersburg College

Palm Beach Atlantic University

Bethune-Cookman University

Florida State College at Jacksonville

Indian River State College

Broward College

Florida State University

University of South Florida

Lynn University

Northwest Florida State College

Hodges University

Stetson University

University of North Florida

Webber International College

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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, the University of Florida is the No. 1 best school in the country for online bachelor’s degree programs. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University–Worldwide and the University of Central Florida also rank highly, at No. 2 and No. 8 in the nation, respectively. At the graduate level, Florida also has strong online degree options — particularly at the University of Florida, which ranks in the top 10 for a range of education and business degrees. Florida’s community colleges have extensive options for online courses, certificates, and degrees as well.

It’s also worth mentioning that we included multiple Florida schools in our guide to the best accredited online colleges in the entire United States. In addition to showing you the top 30 options in the country for remote learning, this guide offers expert advice on how to choose a college and complete the application process.

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 one of 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: University of North Florida, $243 per credit

Most expensive online college in Florida: Florida Southern College, $1,055 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, some students whose grandparents reside in Florida can now qualify for 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

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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

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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

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José Martí Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund

This need-based merit scholarship provides funding to eligible Florida 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

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Top 5 Fast-Growing Industries 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 (2020–2030), we’ve determined that the following five careers have some of the highest projected growth rates 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 $110,310.

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 $111,870 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 tend to make six-figure salaries. The average annual PA salary in Florida is $110,930.

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 $80,550.

​​Software Developers and Testers

As governments, companies, and individuals become ever more reliant on web-based technologies, it’s no surprise the skills of software developers and testers are in high demand. Salaries in this field tend to be quite high — in Florida, software developers earn an average salary of $113,300, and software testers make $89,730.

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