Online Colleges in Florida
Florida students have a bright future!
The Sunshine state was named 2017’s number one state in the nation for higher education by US News & World Report. The rankings look at factors such as tuition costs and graduate rates, areas where the state really excels.
Florida already has a lot to offer, and the ranking serves as inspiration, officials have said, to boost spending on financial aid and increasing the faculty budget. The state is committed to continued improvement.
Overview of Higher Education in Florida
Florida is home to 229 colleges and universities. A 2015-2016 report from the National Center for Education Statistics (NES) reports that of the 229 institutions, 42 are public, 77 are non-profit, and 110 are for-profit.
Florida’s tuition rates are among the lowest in the country. In-state students pay, on average, just $6360 to attend a 4-year intuition. Out-of-state students pay around $21,570. According to the 2016-2017 report by Collegeboard.org, that’s $3290 less than the national average for in-state, and $3360 less for out-of-state students.
On top of low tuition rates, students can look forward to excellent financial aid opportunities. For the 2013-1014 school year, Florida awarded over $556 million in financial aid, according to the National Association of State Student Grant & Aid Programs (NASSGAP). That makes Florida sixth in the nation in terms of financial aid awards!
Florida students are also supported by the state’s involvement in the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), which encourages resource sharing among the 15 participating states. Through this program, Florida students can enroll in out-of-state programs in nearby states while paying in-state rates.
About Online Colleges in Florida
Florida is one of the nation’s leaders in online learning.
In 2012 the NCES reported that 16.1% of Florida’s higher education students were enrolled in fully online degree programs. Another 17.7% of students were participating in some combination of online and on-campus courses.
Most of Florida’s 229 institutions offer online learning opportunities. One of the most impressive programs can be found at University of Florida, where there are over 200 online degrees offered, ranging from certifications to doctoral degrees.
A number of programs exist to help support distance education within the state.
Through the Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC), online students have access to academic advising, library resources, career readiness and distance learning resources. Tools and training materials are also provided for distance educators and staff.
One of FLVC’s star services, FloridaShines, acts as a hub for delivering innovative educational services that operate at all of the state’s institutions.
Another supportive resource, the Florida Distance Learning Association, brings together educational institutions, government agencies, community groups and more to help share information and advance distance learning.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Florida
The FAFSA opens the door to federal financial aid, and many state and private financial aid programs require it as well.
To complete the application, you will need to answer questions about your income and assets, as well as those of your parents (unless you’re considered independent). The information you provide will determine how much and what type of financial aid you are offered.
You may begin to fill out the FAFSA starting October 1st of the year before you plan to attend college. The earlier you complete it, the sooner the college(s) of your choice can offer you a financial aid package, and the more funds you are likely to receive since the money is awarded on a first come, first served basis.
The FFAA, also available starting on October 1st, is a separate application that applies only to the scholarships and grants administered by the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA). OSFA handles about a dozen programs, several of which offer sizable, renewable financial aid packages. Here are just a few examples:
Bright Futures Scholarship Program – Three merit-based scholarships with varying GPA and ACT/SAT score requirements; Awards range from $48 to $103 per credit hour, renewable (with merit requirements)
Access to Better Learning and Education (ABLE) Grant – Need-based aid for students enrolled full-time at an eligible institution and not studying theology or divinity; $1500 per year, renewable up to 9 semesters (with merit requirements)
First Generation Matching Grant Program – Need-based aid for students whose parents have not earned a baccalaureate degree; Award shall not exceed student’s unmet financial need
José Martí Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund – Need and merit based scholarship for students of Hispanic origin attending public or eligible private institution; $2000 per year, renewable (with financial need and merit requirements)
Each individual school may have slightly different requirements for recipients of these grants and scholarships. In addition to these statewide opportunities, schools may also have other aid available, which you can learn about by contacting their financial aid office.
While the programs above are dependant upon financial need and/or academic excellence, scholarships can be offered for a variety of other things, such as the region you live in, a peculiar hobby, or the certain course of study you’ve chosen.
Here are some unique scholarships exclusively available to Florida residents:
|Sea World Orlando Environmental Scholarship||High school seniors with a GPA of 3.0 or higher; Must demonstrate passion for protecting and preserving the world||
|Arts for Life! Scholarship||High school seniors who demonstrate excellence in creative writing, dance, drama, music or visual arts||
$2000 cash award, plus $1000 for those at specific institutions; 25 awards
|AQHA Joan Cain Florida Quarter Horse Youth Scholarship||High school seniors with a GPA of 2.5 or higher; Must demonstrate need, merit and Quarter Horse involvement||
|South Florida Fair Scholarship||Residents of specific counties; Additional credit given to applicants who participate in South Florida Fair||
Varies / Multiple awards
|College Fund of Pinellas County Grant||Residents of Pinellas County only; Must demonstrate significant need||
$1000 per year up
|Right Fit Foundation Scholarship||Residents of specific counties; Preference to middle income families||
Opportunities like these can be found on scholarship search sites such as Fastweb.com, where you can enter basic information about yourself and be matched with dozens of scholarships.
List of Online Colleges in Florida
|Online Colleges in Florida||Location||Annual Tuition||Accreditation||Application Fee|
|Webber International University||Babson Park, Florida||$25,358||Regional||$35|
|Everglades University||Boca Raton, Florida||$16,400||Regional||$50|
|Florida Atlantic University||Boca Raton, Florida||$4,831||Regional||$30|
|Lynn University||Boca Raton, Florida||$36,650||Regional||$45|
|St Petersburg College||Clearwater, Florida||$3,385||Regional||$40|
|Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University||Daytona Beach, Florida||$33,886||Regional||$50|
|Broward College||Fort Lauderdale, Florida||$2,753||Regional||$35|
|Keiser University||Fort Lauderdale, Florida||$18,368||Regional||$55|
|Nova Southeastern University||Fort Lauderdale, Florida||$28,736||Regional||$50|
|Florida Gulf Coast University||Fort Myers, Florida||$6,118||Regional||$30|
|University of Florida||Gainesville, Florida||$3,876||Regional||$30|
|Jacksonville University||Jacksonville, Florida||$33,930||Regional||$30|
|University of North Florida||Jacksonville, Florida||$6,394||Regional||$30|
|Florida Tech University||Lakeland, Florida||$4,940||Regional||$30|
|Southeastern University||Lakeland, Florida||$24,160||Regional||$40|
|Saint Thomas University||Miami Gardens, Florida||$28,800||Regional||$40|
|Florida International University||Miami, Florida||$6,556||Regional||$30|
|Hodges University||Naples, Florida||$13,700||Regional||$20|
|Rasmussen College||Ocala, Florida||$9,360||Regional||$0|
|Everest University||Orange Park, Florida||$12,879||National||$0|
|University of Central Florida||Orlando, Florida||$6,368||Regional||$30|
|University of West Florida||Pensacola, Florida||$6,360||Regional||$30|
|Saint Leo University||Saint Leo, Florida||$21,440||Regional||$0|
|Florida State University||Tallahassee, Florida||$6,507||Regional||$30|
|University of South Florida||Tampa, Florida||$6,410||Regional||$30|
|Full Sail University||Winter Park, Florida||$23,116||National||$40|
Students in the sunshine state pay some of the country’s lowest tuition rates, and then save even more thanks to the numerous grants and scholarships offered by the state. They also have several state organizations committed to supporting them through their education and into their careers, with online and on-campus resources.
Florida is a state that’s committed to education, and the country is taking notice!