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Online Colleges in Florida The 38 Best Schools of 2018

Florida has two primary college and university systems with accredited online programs for certificate, undergraduate, and graduate student learners. The Florida College System (FCS) includes 28 individual colleges that serve 800,000 of the state’s high school graduates pursuing higher education. The State University System helps approximately 300,000 students across 12 universities in Florida. In addition, the Florida Virtual Campus (FVC) partners with the FCS and state university system to provide quality online learning options for students at all levels and in a variety of subjects.

Want to learn more? Read on to find the best accredited online colleges in Florida, to learn the advantages of earning a degree in state, and, perhaps most importantly, how to get the financial aid you need to pay for it.

Higher Education Needs in Florida

What’s the value of a college degree in Florida? With any state, the answer lies in how it legislates higher education, and how it connects earning a college degree to landing a job.

In 2016, Florida pushed a series of laws and measures to expand higher education opportunity across the state. The primary goal was to create stronger relationships between college students and the broader business community. The governor’s Internship Challenge, for example, encouraged companies to look to state colleges and universities to fill a majority of its internship openings. This “degree to job” funnel would give businesses a steadier stream of talent with which to build, and students more confidence in the return on their college investment.

To gauge their success, the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Council set a goal of 55% of Floridians holding at least a post-secondary certificate by 2025. In 2016, an estimated 45.9% met this standard.

Paying for College in Florida

One way to improve college enrollment rates – and to create a more educated workforce – is to make higher education more affordable. The state of Florida belongs to the Southern Regional Education Board’s Academic Common Market, a network of colleges across the south that offer tuition reciprocity. Tuition reciprocity means that regardless of where you live, you pay in-state tuition as long as you’re enrolled in one of 1,900 qualifying programs within the 15 participating states.

Pell Grants also help students in Florida pay for their college educations.

These federal grants help those who may not be able to afford tuition otherwise, and, unlike loans, they do not have to be repaid. To qualify for a Pell Grant, you must be a U.S. citizen and have a family income level below $50,000, although most award money typically goes to students with family incomes below $20,000.

Online Higher Education in Florida

Online education is another way Florida continues to increase college opportunities for its residents. First, it gives access to higher education to those who live far from campus or simply can’t make it their easily. Second, online learning is proven to speed up time to graduation. In 2015, students who took at least 21% of their courses online graduated in 4.0 years, compared to 4.3 years for those with no distance learning courses at all. Finally, online courses give working adults the chance to earn a degree more conveniently. Also in 2015, the average age of fully online students was 29; the average age of hybrid or campus students was 22 (Source: Higher Education Coordinating Council, 2016 report)

214KStudents with at least one online course
1.2MTotal college students
115No. of colleges with online programs

Florida schools with online learning options work hard to deliver strong programs to growing student populations. To facilitate the volume and maintain quality standard, the University of Florida partners with the Online Learning Consortium (OLC).

The OLC is dedicated to improving online education by establishing best practices in administration, instruction, course design, and access.

Florida State University’s Office of Distance Learning follows a similar path with its student-first approach to online and blended higher education. FSU has a detailed online orientation that includes a step-by-step guide to the entire process including registration, course materials, and course access.

Best Online Colleges in Florida: 2018

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Florida’s online learning opportunities present multiple ways to earn a college degree. The University of Florida, Florida State, and the Florida Virtual Campus help students find and enroll in the courses they need and work toward their educational and career goals. But with so many schools in the state, which ones truly stand out? Which colleges offer the most affordable online programs year in and year out?


Let’s see which online colleges in Florida made the grade for 2017-2018.

1. Saint Leo University Saint Leo $19,740 Saint Leo UniversityLearn More 99% 41 15:1 46% Yes Yes Yes
2. University of Florida Gainesville $4,477 University of FloridaLearn More 28% 37 20:1 87% No Yes Yes
3. University of South Florida-Main Campus Tampa $4,559 University of South Florida-Main CampusLearn More 72% 21 24:1 63% No Yes Yes
4. University of Central Florida Orlando $4,478 University of Central FloridaLearn More 45% 37 30:1 67% Yes Yes Yes
5. Jones College-Jacksonville Jacksonville $7,560 Jones College-JacksonvilleLearn More 100% 4 7:1 14% Yes Yes Yes
6. The University of West Florida Pensacola $3,735 The University of West FloridaLearn More 62% 21 22:1 42% No Yes Yes
7. Warner University Lake Wales $18,416 Warner UniversityLearn More 93% 6 17:1 40% Yes Yes Yes
8. Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale Fort Lauderdale $16,056 Keiser University-Ft LauderdaleLearn More 78% 22 12:1 68% Yes Yes Yes
9. Southeastern University Lakeland $21,202 Southeastern UniversityLearn More 80% 16 20:1 38% Yes Yes Yes
10. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University Tallahassee $3,152 Florida Agricultural and Mechanical UniversityLearn More 58% 3 16:1 41% Yes Yes Yes
11. Florida International University Miami $4,721 Florida International UniversityLearn More 36% 19 25:1 52% No Yes Yes
12. University of South Florida-St Petersburg St. Petersburg $4,206 University of South Florida-St PetersburgLearn More 54% 3 16:1 43% No Yes Yes
13. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Worldwide Daytona Beach $8,040 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-WorldwideLearn More 35% 23 14:1 58% Yes Yes Yes
14. University of North Florida Jacksonville $3,853 University of North FloridaLearn More 48% 4 18:1 50% No Yes Yes
15. Webber International University Babson Park $21,686 Webber International UniversityLearn More 98% 4 24:1 26% No Yes Yes
16. Florida State University Tallahassee $4,640 Florida State UniversityLearn More 43% 11 25:1 77% No Yes Yes
17. The Baptist College of Florida Graceville $9,300 The Baptist College of FloridaLearn More 71% 14 11:1 37% No No Yes
18. Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton $2,522 Florida Atlantic UniversityLearn More 39% 7 23:1 41% No Yes Yes
19. Trinity Baptist College Jacksonville $9,110 Trinity Baptist CollegeLearn More 70% 4 18:1 34% No Yes Yes
20. Trinity College of Florida Trinity $12,740 Trinity College of FloridaLearn More 94% 3 8:1 32% Yes No Yes
21. St Petersburg College Clearwater $2,483 St Petersburg CollegeLearn More 26% 10 22:1 N/A Yes Yes Yes
22. State College of Florida-Manatee-Sarasota Bradenton $2,365 State College of Florida-Manatee-SarasotaLearn More 10% 7 22:1 N/A Yes Yes Yes
23. Florida State College at Jacksonville Jacksonville $2,095 Florida State College at JacksonvilleLearn More 14% 6 23:1 N/A Yes Yes Yes
24. Florida Gulf Coast University Fort Myers $4,191 Florida Gulf Coast UniversityLearn More 19% 7 22:1 44% No Yes Yes
25. Florida SouthWestern State College Fort Myers $2,436 Florida SouthWestern State CollegeLearn More 20% 3 28:1 N/A Yes Yes Yes
26. Hobe Sound Bible College Hobe Sound $5,200 Hobe Sound Bible CollegeLearn More 62% 8 12:1 45% No No No
27. Daytona State College Daytona Beach $3,134 Daytona State CollegeLearn More 16% 3 20:1 N/A Yes Yes Yes
28. Indian River State College Fort Pierce $2,496 Indian River State CollegeLearn More 10% 7 26:1 N/A No Yes Yes
29. Broward College Fort Lauderdale $1,810 Broward CollegeLearn More 18% 4 29:1 N/A Yes Yes Yes
30. Hodges University Naples $12,720 Hodges UniversityLearn More 13% 20 15:1 11% No Yes Yes
31. Everglades University Boca Raton $14,400 Everglades UniversityLearn More 35% 10 11:1 33% No Yes Yes
32. University of Fort Lauderdale Lauderhill $7,200 University of Fort LauderdaleLearn More N/A 5 5:1 N/A No Yes Yes
33. University of Florida-Online Gainesville $3,358 University of Florida-OnlineLearn More 13% 11 35:1 N/A No Yes Yes
34. Adventist University of Health Sciences Orlando $11,850 Adventist University of Health SciencesLearn More 23% 4 8:1 17% No No Yes
35. South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary Deerfield Beach $6,000 South Florida Bible College and Theological SeminaryLearn More 11% 10 10:1 N/A Yes No Yes
36. Remington College-Heathrow Campus Heathrow $13,185 Remington College-Heathrow CampusLearn More N/A 3 7:1 N/A No Yes Yes
37. Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico-Miami Miami $11,340 Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico-MiamiLearn More N/A 5 6:1 100% No No Yes
38. Florida Institute of Technology-Online Melbourne $12,240 Florida Institute of Technology-OnlineLearn More N/A 21 23:1 N/A No No Yes
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2-Year Best College Ranking

1. Tallahassee Community College Tallahassee $2,002 Tallahassee Community CollegeLearn More 12% 4 30:1 N/A yes yes yes

Scholarships & Grants in Florida

The Academic Common Market and Pell Grants are two ways students can save on the cost of college. But in some cases, those options may not be enough. To further reduce the impact of tuition and fees on the college student pocketbook, look to scholarships and grants. Campus and online students in Florida have a wide variety of public and private scholarship and grant opportunities at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Here are five worth checking out, as well as websites worth exploring to get your scholarship search in full swing.

1. Southwest Florida Community Foundation

The Community Foundation awarded more than $800,000 to 150 southwest Florida students in 2016, and looks to surpass that in 2017 and beyond. Scholarships are for high school graduates who want to further their education at any level. The scholarship requires and essay, unofficial transcripts, reference letters, and completion of the e-Apply application.

Scholarship Amount: Varies

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2. Florida Resident Access Grant (FRAG)

The FRAG program gives qualifying students at private non-profit institutions in Florida tuition assistance. Students must be a Florida resident, a U.S. citizen, enrolled in at least 12 credit hours, and have good student and financial standing with the state.

Scholarship Amount: Varies

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3. First Generation Matching Grant Program (FGMG)

A needs-based grant for undergraduate students with extreme financial need and enrolled in a participating institution. Eligible students must have parents who have not earned a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Scholarship Amount: Varies

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4. Minority Teacher Education Scholarship

From the Florida Fund for Minority Teachers, Inc., this scholarship focuses on minority students enrolled in one of the FCS institutions or any other Florida college or university with a teacher education program. Key qualifying factors include belong to a minority group and having not earned more than 18 credits in upper-division coursework.

Scholarship Amount: Varies

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5. Florida Work Experience Program

Targets students who wish to attain and earn credit for work experiences to reinforce their academic pursuits. To qualify, students must be in good financial standing, hold a minimum 2.0 GPA, maintain credit loads based on their enrollment status, e.g. 12 credits for full-time enrollment, 6 credits for half-time enrollment.

Scholarship Amount: Varies

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Find Colleges in Florida

Find the Florida online colleges with the accreditation and affordability you need with our complete database of schools in the state.