Online Colleges in Florida

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Technology has significantly impacted the postsecondary educational landscape in the United States. College-bound students can explore a variety of options, including online bachelor’s degrees and degree-completion programs.

The National Center for Education Statistics shows that 3.1 million undergraduate students enrolled exclusively in online courses in the 2017-18 school year. That number more than doubles (6.6 million) when students who enrolled in at least one online class are included in the count. As technology becomes increasingly prevalent in today’s wired world, more college students can take advantage of the option to pursue a bachelor’s degree online.

Colleges and universities maintain the same academic rigor and graduation requirements for all students regardless of whether they are pursuing an on-campus or online bachelor’s degree. However, delivery options vary. Some institutions or programs prefer to follow an asynchronous delivery format that has no set schedule or meeting time for students and teachers, whereas others follow a synchronous delivery format that has predetermined meeting times. Most schools offer a combination of delivery options for their online programs.

This guide covers topics that can help you decide whether an online bachelor’s degree is the ideal option for you to pursue at this point in your academic career. Continue reading to find out more about school rankings and scholarship opportunities for online students in Florida.

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Top 10 Online Colleges in Florida

Rank School Location
1 The Baptist College of Florida Graceville, FL
2 Florida International University Miami, FL
3 University of South Florida Tampa, FL
4 Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton, FL
5 University of Florida-Online Gainesville, FL
6 Stetson University DeLand, FL
7 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
8 St Petersburg College Clearwater, FL
9 University of North Florida Jacksonville, FL
10 Jacksonville University Jacksonville, FL
Advertisement AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Accredited Online College Programs

2020 Online Colleges in Florida

The list below features Florida’s best and cheapest online schools. We evaluated the schools for academic quality based on factors including number of online programs, student-teacher ratio, and graduation rate. We judged each school’s affordability based on figures including average in-state tuition, percentage of students receiving institutional grants and scholarships, and average financial aid package. The list below includes online schools in Florida that offer students the most value for their money

  1. The Baptist College of Florida
    Location

    Graceville, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1943, The Baptist College of Florida is a small private institution that serves approximately 450 students in more than 25 programs. BCF's 20 online bachelor's degrees include programs in business leadership, ministry studies, and missions. Some degrees offer concentration options, whereas others allow for customization through electives. Each online degree requires 120 credits.

    Most of BCF's online classes are asynchronous, though some synchronous sessions may be required. Some programs may feature onsite requirements. For admission, applicants need a high school or GED diploma and must submit ACT or SAT scores. Applicants must also be active participants in a Christian church. Distance learners may need to participate in an online orientation before they start their program.

  2. Florida International University
    Location

    Miami, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Florida International University serves more than 54,000 students across nearly 200 programs. FIU also operates one of the largest online learning platforms in the country, serving more than 40,000 online learners and offering more than 100 programs, including over 40 online bachelor's degrees. FIU's online bachelor's degrees include programs in crime science, human resource management, and international relations.

    FIU delivers bachelor's degree online coursework asynchronously and throughout the year. Programs usually start in the fall, spring, and summer. While learners can complete most programs entirely online, some may feature onsite requirements like clinical work. For admission, applicants need a high school or GED diploma. They also need to submit ACT or SAT scores. Transfer students may receive credit for previous college coursework. Upon admission, all distance learners get paired with a success coach for support.

  3. University of South Florida
    Location

    Tampa, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1956, the University of South Florida serves more 50,000 students in over 180 programs. To better accommodate working professionals, USF developed online courses and programs, including six online bachelor's degrees. Students can enroll in information studies, public health, and RN-to-BSN online programs. Some programs may feature practicum components that require on-campus or clinical visits.

    USF delivers most coursework asynchronously, although some courses include synchronous elements. Programs usually start twice each year, with classes running through the fall, spring, and summer. Though admission requirements vary by program, applicants typically need at least 60 undergraduate credits with a minimum GPA of 2.5. Applicants with credit from USF may qualify with a lower GPA. Transfer applicants with more than 60 credits usually need a minimum GPA of 2.5 for admission and transfer credit.

  4. Florida Atlantic University
    Location

    Boca Raton, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Established in 1964, Florida Atlantic University offers students access to more than 170 degrees, including a variety of online programs. The school offers more than 10 online bachelor's degrees, including programs in public safety administration, marketing, and hospitality and tourism management. Additionally, some programs offer concentrations. Most FAU degrees require 120 credits.

    FAU delivers most online coursework asynchronously. Programs start in the fall, spring, and summer, and classes run throughout 12-week sessions each semester. For admission, applicants need a high school or GED diploma. They also need to submit ACT or SAT scores. Transfer applicants need a minimum GPA of 2.5 for admission and transfer credits. Online students can access the FAU library, career services, and academic support resources.

  5. University of Florida-Online
    Location

    Gainesville, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Serving more than 35,000 students across more than 200 research and educational centers, the University of Florida is one of the largest schools in the Sunshine State. UF offers more than 200 online programs, including more than 20 online bachelor's degrees in fields like telecommunication, sport management, and tourism and recreation management. UF also offers concentration options and minors for learners looking to further specialize their degree.

    UF delivers most online coursework asynchronously. Programs start in the fall, spring, and summer. Online students can customize their course loads, taking as few as 3-6 credits or as many as 15-18 credits each semester. For admission, applicants need a high school diploma with a minimum GPA of 2.0 or the GED equivalent. They may also need to submit ACT or SAT scores. Competitive transfer applicants typically have more than 60 transfer credits with a minimum GPA of 2.0.

  6. Stetson University
    Location

    DeLand, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    The University of Central Florida was founded in 1963 and now offers more than 220 programs across 13 colleges. UCF introduced online learning in the late 1990s and now offers more than 90 programs. The university offers online bachelor's degrees in fields like health services administration, social sciences, and senior living management. Most programs require 120 credits.

    Most of UCF's online courses are asynchronous. The university offers multiple start dates, and courses run throughout the year. Most of UCF's online programs award completion degrees, requiring applicants to already have some college credits. For admission, applicants typically need a minimum GPA of 2.0. UCF's distance learners pay a lower tuition rate than their on-campus counterparts.

  7. University of Central Florida
    Location

    Orlando, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1927, St. Petersburg College was Florida's first two-year college and the first to offer bachelor's degrees. SPC offers 20 online bachelor's degrees, including programs in elementary education, sustainability management, and management and organizational leadership. Some programs also offer concentration options.

    Online courses at SPC are mostly asynchronous, though some synchronous sessions may be required. Online courses last eight, 12, or 16 weeks. Admission requirements vary, but many programs require applicants to hold a high school diploma with a minimum GPA of 2.0. Some programs may feature additional requirements, such as work experience or a higher GPA. Transfer applicants receive credit on a case-by-case basis.

  8. St Petersburg College
    Location

    Clearwater, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Established in 1965, the University of North Florida serves nearly 15,000 undergraduate students. Many of these students study online, pursuing certificates, master's degrees, or an online bachelor's degree. UNF offers an accelerated, 30-credit online RN-to-BSN program that includes coursework in health assessment, perspectives in chronicity, and professional nursing transition.

    The RN-to-BSN program offers six start dates per year in the fall, spring, and summer. Each online course lasts eight weeks. While learners can study part time, full-time students usually graduate within one year. Most of UNF's online courses are asynchronous, but some scheduled sessions may be required. For admission, applicants need at least 60 undergraduate credits or an associate degree with a minimum GPA of 2.8. They also need to complete all nursing prerequisite courses with a minimum GPA of 2.0.

  9. University of North Florida
    Location

    Jacksonville, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Jacksonville University was founded in 1934 and offers more than 100 majors. To make programs more accessible, JU introduced a variety of online programs, including an online bachelor's degree in nursing. In the 30-credit RN-to-BSN program, learners with RN licenses can complete a bachelor's degree within 10 months. Required courses include acute care concepts, evidence-based nursing, and application of nursing concepts. The program offers six start dates per year, and learners can enroll part time or full time.

    JU delivers most online coursework asynchronously throughout eight-week sessions. Students can complete in-person clinical requirements in their own communities. For admission, applicants need a nursing degree with a minimum GPA of 2.5, plus a valid nursing license. Applicants receive 30 transfer credits for their license and must complete 90 additional credits for the bachelor's degree.

  10. Jacksonville University
    Location

    Jacksonville, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    In 1972, eight years after its founding, Nova Southeastern University introduced its first offsite programs. Over the years, the school expanded its distance-learning programs to include online courses and degrees, including online bachelor's degrees. NSU offers online bachelor's programs in human services administration, health services, and psychology.

    Online classes at NSU are both synchronous and asynchronous, and some programs may feature on-campus or in-person requirements. Courses run throughout the fall, winter, and summer semesters. For admission, applicants need a high school or GED diploma. They also need to submit ACT or SAT scores. Some programs may include additional requirements, including a higher GPA or college credits. Transfer applicants may receive credit for previous coursework.

Online Colleges in Florida Overview

Many students who enroll in online classes cite convenience as one of the main reasons behind their decision to pursue an online program. Schools that offer online degrees typically maintain several starting dates throughout the school year, meaning students can begin their studies at a convenient time. Often, this also means they graduate from the program earlier and enter the workforce sooner.

Some colleges and universities charge online enrollees the same tuition as in-state students regardless of where they live. Over the course of a four-year program, the savings from paying in-state versus out-of-state tuition can easily amount to thousands of dollars. Be sure to inquire whether a prospective school offers this opportunity.

Online enrollees can also access many of the same student services as their on-campus counterparts, including the school library’s digital resources, tutoring assistance, and coursework and career counseling.

Postsecondary institutions in Florida offer a variety of programs, and many offer an online version of their most popular undergraduate majors. Students who opt out of attending a brick-and-mortar school do not miss out on academic opportunities or future career options.

Why Choose Florida for Online Higher Education?

In addition to enjoying an average of 237 days of sunshine each year, Florida also supports a varied economy. Thriving industries in aerospace and aviation, life sciences, and manufacturing means more work opportunities for online college graduates of the Sunshine State.

  • Flexibility: In addition to multiple starting dates, many online programs offer asynchronous coursework. With no set meeting times, you can attend class whenever is most convenient for you.
  • Affordability: Even if you have to pay out-of-state tuition, online programs often turn out to be more affordable because you do not incur additional rent, board, and transportation expenses.
  • Networking Opportunities: Online learners can collaborate with students in other states and even other countries, which vastly enriches their educational experience and helps them establish their professional network early.
  • Less Debt: Because online education often ends up costing students less, many earn the same degree as on-campus students but with little to no college debt.
  • Develop Strong Technical Skills: Online students develop valuable technical skills right along with subject knowledge. They learn how to collaborate virtually, identify and use reliable digital resources, and become familiar with different types of software, which are all highly desired skills in the current workforce.

Cost of Attending an Online College in Florida

Postsecondary institutions often distinguish between tuition and the cost of attending college on campus. Cost of attendance includes tuition plus other factors such as room and board, books, and fees for various activities. Many online schools break down online tuition and fees as well. Continue reading to get a clearer understanding of online tuition.

What to Expect From Tuition and Fees

Many colleges and universities charge online students a technology fee, which onsite enrollees typically do not pay. Some schools bundle the technology fee with tuition, while others charge students per credit or per term. Be sure to inquire from a prospective school which policy they follow. Taken together with your enrollment status (part time or full time), this expense could vary significantly.

Some schools include the cost of testing in the tuition that online students pay, but others expect students to shoulder testing fees when they actually sit down for an exam. Most schools include typical student services in their online tuition, just as these are often covered by on-campus tuition. Online students can use internet-based support services at no added cost.

Schools structure their online tuition and fees differently. Be sure to inquire what your tuition covers to avoid unexpected expenses down the line.

Common Online Bachelor’s Courses

Algebra: This course prepares students for upper-level classes in math, computer, business, and engineering. It includes topics such as geometric sequences, probability and statistics, quadratic and rational inequalities, and linear programming. Students improve their analytical thinking skills by developing a keen understanding of complex algebraic relationships.

Biology: An introductory science course, biology covers topics such as the chemical foundations of life; evolution and ecology; and plant, animal, and human cell structure. Students also learn about different ecosystems around the world and study the evolution and relatedness of all living things. The class typically includes a lab component.

Composition: This class helps students develop academic writing skills to help them succeed throughout their college career and possibly in the workforce after graduation. Students learn how to communicate complex ideas clearly and unambiguously in written form. They also learn how to evaluate research data and use advanced grammatical composition styles in their writing.

English Literature: Learners analyze the different literary styles used in various English texts. They develop an in-depth understanding of the nuances of language and learn how to express their own thoughts through written analysis and oral presentations. The course exposes students to classic works of literature and emerging voices in the field.

Government: Enrollees in this course study how the American government is organized and how it works. They examine the policymaking process and how it is influenced by different factors such as economic forces, international relations, and environmental concerns. Students explore the balance between the law and individual freedoms and how the Constitution defines and protects civil liberties.

FAQ Florida’s Online Schools

Do online credits cost more or less in Florida?

Online costs often depend on factors including your enrollment status, major, and specific degree requirements. Whether a school charges online students the same tuition as in-state enrollees along with available financial assistance can also affect the cost of your online degree.

Be sure to take all these factors into consideration in your cost-comparison research. A slightly more expensive per-credit amount may be offset by more comprehensive student support services or easy access to extensive digital resources maintained by the school.

Which Florida schools accept the most transfer credits?

The State University System of Florida follows a common transfer credit policy for graduates of two-year programs who are continuing their studies in four-year colleges. Students complete a 60-credit program that includes common prerequisite coursework that can be transferred to participating postsecondary institutions.

However, some four-year programs may require the completion of specific courses that are not part of the common perquisites. For example, an engineering program offered by a four-year college or university may require transfer students to show completion of specific math courses. Private universities in Florida maintain their own transfer credit policies.

Will any online colleges in Florida accept a GED?

Just like campus-based schools, online colleges in Florida generally accept a GED in lieu of a high school diploma. However, institutions that receive thousands of applications each year tend to have a more selective admissions process. If you are applying to a competitive school with a GED, you need to bolster your application to increase your odds of being accepted. Be sure to include relevant experiences such as volunteer work, professional expertise, or specialized military training.

Two-year colleges generally maintain a more accommodating admissions policy. Explore the option of getting into an accredited community college with a GED and later transferring to a four-year institution with an associate.

How many academic terms per year do online colleges in Florida offer?

Many campus-based schools offer three terms per year in the fall, spring, and winter. The number of academic terms offered by online schools tend to vary. Additionally, campus-based schools sometimes maintain several starting dates for their online programs. You often have to reach out to the admissions office of prospective schools to get a definite answer.

Note that multiple starting dates do not change classwork deadlines or test dates for online courses. You must complete all coursework requirements within the specified deadlines of each class. However, some schools offer self-paced online courses that students can start and complete entirely on their own schedules.

Which online colleges will accept FAFSA in Florida?

Brick-and-mortar and online colleges in Florida that hold regional accreditation generally accept the FAFSA. They use the student and parent information in the FAFSA as the basis for awarding different types of federal, state, and local aid. Online colleges that administer private scholarship programs also often rely on FAFSA information to determine the recipients of their financial assistance packages.

It is less typical for schools that hold national accreditation to accept the FAFSA. If you plan to apply for federal financial assistance to help pay for your degree, be sure your prospective school accepts the FAFSA.

Are there any free online classes I can take from Florida colleges?

Several Florida universities (notably the University of Central Florida and the University of Florida) offer free online courses for individuals who are not seeking a degree or certificate. Students audit courses through platforms such as Coursera or edX. Currently, no Florida postsecondary institution offers free online courses that students can apply toward a degree.

The University of the People offers free online courses that enrollees can apply toward an associate, a bachelor’s, or an MBA. This tuition-free college charges fees for every exam that students have to take to show completion of a course. The university holds DEAC accreditation.

How can I find the online program options at Florida colleges?

The State University System of Florida and the Florida College System maintain a website called Florida Shines. This searchable site maintains a comprehensive directory of all available programs offered by participating institutions throughout Florida. Students can search for programs by level (certificate, associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, professional) or field, such as nursing, engineering, or healthcare.

Florida Shines includes online programs in its database. Currently, the site only includes programs offered at Florida’s public institutions.

Florida Scholarships and Grants

Many scholarship and grant programs in Florida accept applications from online and on-campus enrollees. The Sunshine State offers several financial assistance programs from federal, state, and local sources as well as private donors. Begin your search for funding by exploring the opportunities below.

  1. Access to Better Learning and Education Grant Program Florida students enrolled in an undergraduate program at a private college or university in the state can apply for this financial aid opportunity. Applicants must enroll in a minimum of 12 credits per term to be eligible for an award. Scholarship Amount: Varies

Bright Futures Scholarships

Applicants must show satisfactory completion of the required 16 college preparatory courses in English, math, natural science, social science, and world language. Applicants must also show completion of 75-100 relevant service hours.

Scholarship Amount: Varies

First Generation Matching Grant Program

An applicant must be the first member in their family to go to college, enrolled in at least six credits per semester, and have demonstrable financial need.

Scholarship Amount: Varies

Florida Student Assistance Grant Program

Florida students pursuing their first bachelor’s degree in a participating public or private nonprofit school can apply for this scholarship opportunity. Applicants must have demonstrable financial need.

Scholarship Amount: Varies

José Martí Scholarship Challenge Grant Fund

The program accepts applications from students of Hispanic descent (except Brazil, Spain, or Haiti). Applicants must have a minimum 3.0 GPA by their seventh semester in high school.

Scholarship Amount: $2,000

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