Online Colleges in Florida 2021

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Florida boasts many affordable online colleges and universities. Students living in Florida for more than 12 months may qualify for in-state tuition, costing just a fraction of out-of-state tuition. Online and hybrid degree programs eliminate or reduce commuting and residency expenses. Many distance learners stave off some debt by working while in school.

Florida’s unusually large economy makes this state a great place to study. The best colleges in Florida often create partnerships with local organizations and require students to complete internships at real-world work sites. These experiences facilitate hands-on learning, professional networking, and sometimes even employment offers.

Selecting an online college in Florida is an important decision, requiring a lengthy research process. To make the decision easier, we formed these rankings by considering factors like affordability, quality, and accessibility. The following guide highlights these and other notable features of Florida’s best online colleges.

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Questions to Consider When Attending Online School in Florida

  • Q. Do online credits cost more or less in Florida?

    Affordable Florida online colleges typically charge less per credit than on-campus colleges.

  • Q. What is the most affordable college in Florida?

    A public research university located in Gainesville, the University of Florida scores the highest in our affordable college rankings.

  • Q. How long do you have to live in Florida to get in-state tuition?

    If a student or student’s parent lives in Florida for 12 months, the student may qualify for residency status and in-state tuition at Florida online colleges.

Why Choose Florida for Online Higher Education?

Florida’s online degree programs often feature flexible options for attendance, participation, and program pacing. This flexibility accommodates busy schedules, allowing Florida students to continue working while pursuing their degrees.

Prospective students seeking careers in Florida may benefit from online degree programs relevant to the state’s largest industries: manufacturing, homeland security, and life sciences. Other top Florida industries include aerospace and information technology. Earning bachelor’s degrees in fields such as computer science, biochemistry, and engineering can help graduates secure careers in these industries.

Common Online Bachelor’s Programs in Florida

The best colleges in Florida offer diverse majors, including biochemistry, computer science, education, and engineering. Studying the subjects below can prepare students for the growing Florida careers described further down this page.

Biochemistry degrees often lead to lab, clinical, or research careers in diverse industries such as pharmaceutics, healthcare, or education. Biochemistry programs include coursework on biological systems, biophysical chemistry, and organic chemistry. Course topics include states of matter, equilibrium theory, chemical kinetics, and thermodynamics.

Degrees in this promising field support high-paying, high-growth computer science and IT jobs. Computer science bachelor’s programs include courses on computer programming, data analysis, information technology management, and software engineering. Some programs also offer courses in artificial intelligence, 3-D animation, and algorithms.

Bachelor’s in education graduates usually pursue teaching or education administration careers. These degree programs often allow enrollees to focus their degree based on their intended student population. Popular specializations include career and technical education, English as a second language, special education, and physical education. Many bachelor’s in education programs include intensive practicum experiences qualifying enrollees for state teaching certification.

Florida’s online nursing bachelor’s programs typically serve aspiring registered nurses seeking Florida licensure. Core curricula typically include anatomy, microbiology, patient care, and nursing research. Nursing bachelor’s programs often provide specialization options such as obstetrics and gynecology, gerontology, cardiology, or surgical nursing.

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Cost of Attending an Online College in Florida

Florida online colleges vary widely in price, so consider your options carefully when choosing where to apply. The best colleges in Florida often cost more, but high-quality schools may offer more financial aid or better job prospects. However, many Florida schools boast both high quality and affordability.

Florida students can save money by attending public, in-state schools. As the table below indicates, Florida schools charge in-state students a fraction of what non-residents pay. Similarly, private four-year colleges prove five times more expensive than public four-year colleges.

Students often save money by pursuing degrees online rather than on-campus, eliminating commuting and on-campus housing costs. Many online programs waive university fees for distance learners and charge less per credit than on-campus programs.

Average Undergraduate Tuition in Florida
Public Four-Year College Private Four-Year College Public Two-Year College
In-State $4,443 $26,317 $2,506
Out-of-State $18,456 N/A $9,111

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Career and Salary Outlook for Students in Florida

Degrees from Florida online colleges support many lucrative and growing careers in the state. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data in the table below, the following five advanced careers feature impressive median annual salaries ranging from about $126,000-$146,000. BLS job outlook data suggests that computer and information systems managers and financial managers enjoy particularly promising career growth projections.

  • Petroleum Engineers

    Sometimes called drilling, production, or reservoir engineers, petroleum engineers work on oil and gas extraction. Petroleum engineers create plans, methods, and equipment for onshore or offshore extraction. These professionals identify the best extraction methods based on the natural environment surrounding the oil or gas site.

  • Computer and Information Systems Managers

    Also known as IT managers, CIS managers oversee computer and information technology systems, employees, and activities. These professionals identify IT needs, establish goals, manage IT staff, and install and maintain computer systems. CIS managers usually hold at least a bachelor’s degree in a technology-related field.

  • Financial Managers

    These professionals oversee their organizations’ or departments’ financial performance. Common duties include financial goal-setting, investment decision-making, and financial reporting. Financial managers supervise finance and budgeting staff, analyze market trends, ensure legal compliance, and advise executives. Financial managers typically hold at least a bachelor’s in finance or business.

  • Sales Manager

    These managers analyze information, set sales goals, and train and supervise sales teams. Additional duties include customer complaint resolution, budgeting, and sales projection. Sales managers often collaborate with marketing, research, and design departments.

  • Marketing Managers

    Sometimes called advertising or promotions managers, marketing managers help their companies sell products or services. Often cooperating with sales, design, and finance departments, marketing managers create programs designed to attract consumers. Marketing managers negotiate contracts, plan advertising campaigns, analyze market trends, and meet with clients.

Career Median Annual Salary Projected Growth Rate (2018-2028)
Petroleum Engineers $149,750 2.4%
Computer and Information Systems Managers $138,400 11.3%
Financial Managers $131,000 16%
Sales Managers $125,810 5.1%
Marketing Managers $124,600 8.1%

Source: BLS, ProjectionsCentral

Florida Scholarships and Grants

Many nonprofit organizations, schools, governments, and private donors offer scholarships for college students. These funders often award scholarships to applicants demonstrating academic merit, underrepresented identities, or interest in particular fields. Scholarship amounts vary and do not require repayment. The scholarships below can support qualifying students attending Florida online colleges.

  • Bank of America Minority Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Graduating minority Palm Beach County high school seniors planning to major in business or finance may apply. Applicants must complete the FAFSA and fill out a common application demonstrating 2.5 minimum GPAs.

    Amount: Unspecified

    Explore Here

  • Minority Teacher Education Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Minority residents of Florida entering or enrolled in state-approved teacher education programs at participating schools may apply. This scholarship supports college juniors, seniors, or graduate students lacking an education-related bachelor’s degree and boasting at least 60 credits or an associate in arts degree. Only graduate students working toward initial teacher certification may apply.

    Amount: $4,000 annually

    Explore Here

  • Women's Empowerment Scholarship Fund

    Who Can Apply: Female Florida residents exhibiting financial need may qualify. High school applicants need 2.5-3.5 GPAs. Recipients attend two-year or public four-year postsecondary institutions. Applicants complete a common application and the FAFSA.

    Amount: Unspecified

    Explore Here

  • Harry and Bertha Bronstein Memorial Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Palm Beach or Martin county high school students with 2.5 minimum GPAs may apply. Minority students or learners with disabilities receive preference. Applicants submit financial information and a Florida scholarship common application.

    Amount: Unspecified

    Explore Here

  • Florida Farmworker Scholarship Program

    Who Can Apply: This need-based merit scholarship program supports up to 50 Florida-resident farmworkers or their children pursuing full-time undergraduate degrees or certificates at public schools. Eligible candidates maintain 3.5 minimum GPAs in high school coursework, complete 30 service hours, and boast a 90% attendance rate.

    Amount: Up to total tuition and fees

    Explore Here

Best Online Colleges in Florida 2021

See Our Rankings Methodology
  1. University of Florida

    Gainesville, FL



    A public university based in Gainesville, UF Online offers students degree paths in both graduate and undergraduate fields, as well as certificate options.

    UF Online offers 24 different bachelor's degrees online, including anthropology, computer science, several biological science programs, and business programs. Students can augment their bachelor's studies with online minors. The school also offers master's options online, including programs in education, physical and biological sciences, business, and communications.

    Motivated students can advance to doctoral and specialist degrees in education, nursing, and the classics. The over 100 undergraduate and graduate certificate options include clinical toxicology, computer science education, and weed science.

    First-year applicants need a cumulative average GPA of 2.0 on all high school or college credits. They must also meet minimum ACT or SAT requirements to qualify for admission. Transfer students must possess a minimum GPA of 2.0. Graduate applicants must follow individual department criteria for admission.

    UF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  2. Florida State University

    Tallahassee, FL



    Located in Tallahassee,Distance@FSU provides online pathways for students seeking flexible bachelor's and master's programs.

    Students can choose from one of five bachelor's programs in fields like social science, computer science, and public safety. FSU also offers more than 15 master's programs in fields like information technology, curriculum and instruction, and business. Students seeking the highest level of education may opt for one of two doctoral programs in education or a doctor of nursing practice.

    Students may also pursue several undergraduate and graduate certificate options online, including certificates in emergency management, human performance technology, multicultural marketing communication, and youth services.

    The school requires first-year applicants to submit ACT or SAT composite scores (super score), so students can send all attempts as part of their admissions packet. Transfer students need a minimum GPA of 2.0, but the school rarely admits students with less than a 3.0. Graduate applicants must hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited school and meet all individual department requirements.

    FSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  3. University of Central Florida

    Orlando, FL



    Based in Orlando, UCF Online provides over 100 different programs for students seeking both undergraduate and graduate options.

    Students can choose from 25 bachelor's programs, with notable options including programs in anthropology, psychology, and nursing. The school also offers 34 master's programs in fields like education, business, English, and nursing. Motivated nursing students can also complete one of three online doctoral programs in nursing.

    UCF also offers several graduate and undergraduate certificate choices for professional development or to augment an existing degree program. Options include applied photonics, instructional design, fundraising, and public administration.

    First-year applicants must submit ACT or SAT scores. Transfer students must possess a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 on all previous college coursework. Graduate students must check individual departments for GPA, standardized test, and prior work experience requirements before applying to their chosen program.

    UCF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  4. University of South Florida-Main Campus

    Tampa, FL



    Based in Tampa, USF Online offers a variety of bachelor's degree completion programs, as well as graduate pathways.

    Bachelor's options include programs in criminology, environmental science, and public health. The programs offer upper-division courses solely online, allowing students to combine transfer credits with necessary major coursework to complete their degree.

    Master's programs include one interdisciplinary program in cybersecurity, as well as options in public health, medicine, business, and education. The school also offers two doctoral degrees in instructional technology and career and workforce education.

    Undergraduate applicants need at least some transferable credits for degree completion eligibility. Graduate applicants must check individual department requirements and complete all criteria for admission. USF offers admissions counseling for nontraditional students to form a graduation plan.

    USF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  5. Florida International University

    Miami, FL



    Based in Miami, FIU Online offers several undergraduate and graduate programs, as well as certificates designed to enhance learning and career goals.

    The school offers over 50 bachelor's programs in fields like education, psychology, the arts, and technology. Graduate programs include a master's in accounting, communication, disaster management, and engineering. Students can also take advantage of three dual-degree programs: a BS and MS in criminal justice, a BS and MS in hospitality management, and a BS and MS in recreational sports therapy.

    First-year applicants and transfer students with fewer than 60 transferable credits must submit ACT or SAT scores. Graduate students must meet the admissions criteria for their chosen department, including any standardized test or prior work experience requirements.

    FIU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  6. Florida Atlantic University

    Boca Raton, FL



    Based in Boca Raton, FAU Online gives students options to pursue bachelor's and master's programs without stepping onto campus.

    Notable bachelor's programs include several business programs, including a registered nurse bachelor of science in nursing and a bachelor of arts in interdisciplinary studies. Both allow students to customize their degree with a minor. Master's options include several business, education, and nursing programs. The school also offers several certificate programs in fields like big data analytics, child welfare, hospitality and tourism management, and teacher leadership.

    First-year applicants must submit SAT or ACT scores to begin the admissions process. Transfer students must possess a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.5 to apply. All students in both undergraduate and graduate programs must check for individual admissions criteria for their chosen department.

    FAU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  7. The University of West Florida

    Pensacola, FL



    Located in Pensacola, UWF Online offers students the opportunity to participate in graduate and undergraduate programs with the flexibility of online instruction and delivery.

    Bachelor's options include programs in accounting, health sciences, and general business. Several fields offer both graduate and undergraduate degree options, including instructional design and technology, and nursing. Additional master's options include programs in information technology, data science, and cybersecurity.

    The school also offers two online doctoral programs: a doctor of education in curriculum and instruction and a doctor of education in instructional design and technology. Students can also pursue several undergraduate and graduate certificates online, including business analytics, human performance technology, and supply chain logistics management.

    The school provides extra resources for first-generation college students to offset their unique challenges. First-year applicants may need to submit SAT or ACT scores depending on the department. Graduate applicants must possess a minimum GPA of 3.0 on either the last 60 hours of undergraduate work or overall to qualify for admissions. Certain programs also require GRE, GMAT, or MCAT scores.

    UWF is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  8. Lynn University

    Boca Raton, FL



    Based in Boca Raton, Lynn Online offers students flexible degree pathways optimized for both computer and iPad access.

    Bachelor's options include programs in aviation, education, and healthcare. Students can also expand their knowledge with master's-level work in fields such as psychology, public administration, and digital media. The school also offers several online MBA programs in healthcare management, human resource management, marketing, and media management.

    Online certificates help further students' career goals and professional development, with options including digital media and media studies and practice. Students can turn work experience into professional transfer credits and may opt into receiving an iPad through the school.

    The school offers a generous transfer credit policy and does not require undergraduate applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores to apply. Students may apply for one of three start dates and may access admissions counselors online to begin the admissions process or ask questions. Graduate programs require their own admissions criteria, so students must check with individual departments before applying.

    Lynn is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  9. Florida Institute of Technology

    Melbourne, FL



    Based in Melbourne, Florida Tech Online offers associate degree, bachelor's, and master's programs. Several programs offer advanced standing credit options, allowing students with certain certificate training to apply those credits to a full degree.

    Undergraduate options include 10 associate degree programs and over 15 bachelor's programs in fields like criminal justice, business administration, and applied psychology. Students with Florida certified law enforcement certificates or Florida certified corrections officers certificates might receive credit for both the associate and bachelor's degrees in criminal justice.

    Motivated students can move on to several MBA options, as well as master's programs in organizational leadership or supply chain management.

    Students can apply for one of six start dates throughout the year. Most programs do not have minimum GPA or standardized test requirements, but students must possess a minimum GPA of 2.0 in any class for transfer credit eligibility. Graduate applicants must check with individual programs for admission requirements.

    Florida Tech is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  10. Southeastern University

    Lakeland, FL



    Based in Lakeland, SEU Online offers several undergraduate and graduate programs in convenient eight-week formats. Students typically focus on one or two classes at a time.

    SEU offers two associate degrees in ministry and general studies online. The school also offers 10 bachelor's programs in fields like business and behavioral science. Students can also pursue a registered nurse to bachelor of science in nursing program.

    Master's options include programs in education, several MBA options, and options in the behavioral and social sciences. The school also offers five doctoral programs online, including a doctor of education in curriculum and instruction, a doctor of ministry, and a doctor of philosophy in organizational leadership.

    Undergraduate students applying to online programs do not need to submit SAT or ACT scores. Graduate applicants must follow the guidelines for individual departments, including standardized test and work experience requirements.

    SEU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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