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Online Colleges in Florida

Most Affordable Online Colleges
Article Sources

Sources:

  1. 2015 Fact Book, Florida College System, Florida Department of Education, http://www.fldoehub.org/CCTCMIS/c/Documents/Fact%20Books/fb2015.pdf
  2. Accreditation, State of Florida, U.S. Department of Education, http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/SearchResult.aspx?6d6f64653d5365617263684279496e737469747574696f6e267264743d372f32352f3230313620313a33363a343120504d
  3. Broward College Degrees and Certificates, Broward College Online, http://www.broward.edu/academics/online/Pages/Degrees-and-Certificates.aspx
  4. Data Center, Orlando Economic Development Commission, http://www.orlandoedc.com/Data-Center.aspx
  5. Degrees and Certificates, Florida Keys Community College, https://www.fkcc.edu/degrees-certificates/
  6. Distance Learning at NFCC, North Florida Community College, http://www.nfcc.edu/mynfcc/distance-learning
  7. Florida educational attainment, 2014 American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/community_facts.xhtml
  8. Greater Miami and the Beaches 2015 Visitor Industry Overview, Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, http://partners.miamiandbeaches.com/~/media/files/gmcvb/partners/research%20statistics/annual-report_2015
  9. Key College Offers "Realtime Court Reporting Program Online" to Students Nationwide, Key College, http://www.keycollege.edu/programs/legal/online-school/
  10. Miami-Dade County, Florida QuickFacts, U.S. Census Bureau, http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045214/12086
  11. Online Courses, Valencia College, https://net1.valenciacollege.edu/future-students/online-courses/
  12. Online Degree, College of Central Florida, http://www.cf.edu/explore/degrees/online/index
  13. Online Programs/Course Details, Eastern Florida State College, http://www.easternflorida.edu/academics/elearning/online-programs-course-details.cfm
  14. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL Metropolitan and Nonmetropolitan Area Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2015, https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?tab=wm#inbox/1552ce9c822d81ed
  15. SACSCOC accreditation, Florida State University, https://sacs.fsu.edu/
  16. SACSCOC accreditation, University of Florida, http://sacs.aa.ufl.edu/
  17. SF Online, Santa Fe College, http://www.sfcollege.edu/online/index
  18. “Tampa on economic roll with thousands of new jobs on the way," Tampa Bay Times, Jerome R. Stockfish, Sept. 5, 2015, http://www.tbo.com/news/business/tampa-on-economic-roll-with-thousands-of-new-jobs-on-the-way-20150905/
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  20. TCC Online Students, Tallahassee Community College, https://www.tcc.fl.edu/Current/Academics/TCCOnline/Pages/Prospective_TCC_Online_Students.aspx
  21. Universities, State University System of Florida, http://www.flbog.edu/aboutsus/universities/
  22. Welcome to Distance Learning at HCC, Hillsborough Community College, http://www.hccfl.edu/distance-learning.aspx
  23. Why Student Debt in Florida is Lower Than Most States, Miami Harold, August 10, 2016, http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/education/article94951622.html
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  25. Dunkin' Donuts South/Southwest Florida Scholarship Program, Accessed August 2016, http://sms.scholarshipamerica.org/ddonuts-fl/guidelines.html
  26. Benacquisto Scholarship Program, Office of Student Financial Assistance, Accessed August 2016, http://www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org/SSFAD/factsheets/FIS.pdf
  27. Minority Teacher Education Scholarships, Florida Fund for Minority Teachers, Accessed August 2016, http://www.ffmt.org/
  28. Access to Better Learning and Education (ABLE) Grant, Office of Student Financial Assistance, Accessed August 2016, http://www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org/SSFAD/factsheets/ABLE.pdf
  29. First Generation Matching Grant Program, Office of Student Financial Assistance, Accessed August 2016, http://www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org/SSFAD/factsheets/FGMG.pdf
  30. William L. Boyd IV Florida Resident Access Grant, Office of Student Financial Assistance, Accessed August 2016, http://www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org/SSFAD/factsheets/FRAG.pdf
  31. Florida Student Assistance Grant Program, Office of Student Financial Assistance, Accessed August 2016, http://www.floridastudentfinancialaid.org/SSFAD/factsheets/FSAG.pdf
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Florida offers nearly 12,000 miles of coastline and clear rights to the nickname of "The Sunshine State." No wonder people from all over the country envision Florida as a retirement destination, giving it the largest population of senior citizens in the country. But they aren't all retiring: increasingly, Florida's seniors are putting off complete retirement and returning to school to extend their careers. Meanwhile, Florida's Millennial population is booming in several cities, including Orlando and Miami, and more than ever they're choosing to live with their parents, save money and enroll in college. All this adds up to a need for accessible, affordable and rapid learning. Enter online education.

Fortunately, Florida colleges and universities are stepping up their online offerings to meet this surging demand. Currently, 77 online colleges and universities offer some kind of online learning option to students.

In 2016, the State University System of Florida announced its goal of delivering 40 percent of its total undergraduate credit hours through online education by 2025, and the University of Florida's UF Online added more than 400 new courses and nearly 300 new instructors in the 2015-2015 school year, along with an innovative fee package enabling online students to take advantage of on-campus amenities and activities.

Best Online Colleges for Florida

If you're considering online colleges, you probably want to be sure you'll be getting your money's worth from your education. To help you find the school that's best for you, we've gathered data on their degree offerings, tuition costs and more from the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) to create this: a list of the 10 best online colleges in Florida. Our unique methodology, which you can read about at the bottom of this page, is designed to guide students' search for online programs. So, without further ado, here are our picks.

1

University of Florida - Gainesville

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$6,381
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
56.94%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
47
School Type
4-year

The first school on our list is part of the UF Online arm of the University of Florida system, which offers more than 100 fully online programs for undergraduates and graduates, across 19 majors and all its campuses around the state, not to mention numerous non-credit and continuing education courses and programs. And online students at UF have access to great resources, including:

  • Virtual career fairs
  • The largest career fair in the Southeast
  • Access to exclusive job postings

Subjects include anthropology, biology, criminology, environmental management, nursing and more. Students may also add minors to their programs of study -- an option not usually offered at online colleges.

Its accessibility and wealth of offerings helps it to earn our top ranking, as well as its affordability. The university has committed to making college affordable for its students, earning third place on Kiplinger's 2013 list of "Best Values in Public Colleges" and placement on the Fiske Guide to Colleges' list of "Best Buys Among Publics."

2

Saint Leo University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$20,520
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
71.16%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
57
School Type
4-year
  • Access to online organizations, such as accounting and pre-law associations, to help build professional networks
  • Professional online tutoring, which is free and offered 365 days a year, 24 hours a day
  • Peer mentoring to answer questions or discuss issues
  • A student advisor assigned to each student, to provide valuable input on course schedules, academics and more

Saint Leo offers six eight-week terms per year of fully online degree programs to meet students' scheduling needs. It offers five associate degrees; 20 bachelor's degrees, along with four minors; 36 master's degrees; and one doctoral program.

3

University of Central Florida

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$6,368
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
52.47%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
38
School Type
4-year

The University of Central Florida earns high marks on our list for its robust slate of programs -- over 80 online degrees and certificates, taught by the same faculty as its on-campus courses -- and its relatively low cost. Princeton Review and Kiplinger's both rank it as a best-value university, and Forbes calls it one of the nation's most affordable colleges. UCF offers:

  • 21 online bachelor's degrees (and minors in five subjects)
  • 5 online bachelor certificates
  • 25 online master's degrees
  • 29 online graduate certificates
  • 3 online doctoral degrees

And as if the sheer number weren't impressive enough, UCF distinguishes itself by offering many unusual programs of study, including technical education and industry training, digital forensics, exceptional student education, autism spectrum disorders, corrections leadership, destination marketing and more.

Part of making college accessible for the population of Florida is supporting students, and UCF offers some great perks in this area, including career planning help and an Office of Student Involvement created to help students find student organizations that enrich their academic lives.

4

Florida International University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$6,556
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
52.91%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
19
School Type
4-year

Florida International University's online learning division, FIU Online, is all about self-paced learning, accelerated completion and real-world skills, all of which make it one of the best online colleges/universities in Florida. It offers 12 fully online bachelor's degrees, in subjects including:

  • Communication arts
  • Early childhood education
  • Health services administration
  • Hospitality management
  • International business
  • Information technology
  • Marketing

FIU Online also offers a more than a dozen master's degrees, a Doctor of Nursing degree, several undergraduate and graduate certificates and continuing education programs.

Students also will enjoy access to FIU's Academy of Leaders leadership development certification program; an emphasis on global learning in every curriculum; an Honors College that promotes lifelong learning and community engagement; and Success Coaches, who are assigned to students to guide their experience, whether it comes to time-management help or study skills.

5

University of South Florida - Main Campus

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$6,410
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
49.90%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
22
School Type
4-year

USF was founded in 1956, becoming the first independent state university that was conceived, planned and built in the 20th century. This set the tone for USF as a thoroughly modern university:

  • It became the first university in the country to reach an agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs to offer special services to veterans using the GI Bill.
  • It ranked 63rd among the nation's top research universities by the National Science Foundation, being named the nation's fastest-growing university for federal research funds by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Its commitment to innovation is even expressed in its online education services: the Innovative Education program provides distance learning, continuing education, degree completion, certificate, workforce development, lifelong learning and pre-college programs. USF offers both fully and partially online graduate certificates and partially online bachelor's and master's degree programs, in subjects including applied sciences, information studies, information technology, nursing and criminal justice.

6

Florida National University - Main Campus

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$13,250
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
42.22%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
22
School Type
4-year

The sixth school on our list is a relative newcomer. It opened its doors in January 1988, and has the unusual distinction of being focused on a diverse student body -- primarily on the education of Hispanic students. Its emphasis on career preparation extends to its support services, with job placement assistance, resume services, career advisement, employment workshops, mock interview sessions and job fairs.

FNU offers an online English as a Second Language certificate and career education diploma, as well as degrees in subjects including accounting, business, computer information technology, health services administration, nursing and paralegal studies. Students may choose from 13 associate degrees, nine bachelor's degrees and four master's degrees.

7

Florida State University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$6,507
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
31.49%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
13
School Type
4-year

Florida State is renowned for its commitment to online options for students; it has actually received notice from lawmakers for its innovative approaches. In 2013, Governor Rick Scott designated FSU as a "preeminent university," meaning that it is eligible to receive state funding to become nationally prominent. The designation is based on many of the same criteria that helped put it on our top 10 list: graduation rate, retention rate, high research expenditures and a top ranking for research spending and endowments.

Students enrolled in FSU's online programs graduate with diplomas that show no distinction between online or on-campus learning, and programs include smaller classes with mentoring services.

FSU's online undergraduate programs are called "advanced standing degrees": students generally are required to come in with 60 or more semester hours of transferable credit, including the school's liberal arts requirement, in order to complete the online degrees.

8

Florida Atlantic University

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$4,831
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
34.34%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
7
School Type
4-year

The eighth school on our list of best online colleges/universities in Florida was created as a distance-learning institution 50 years ago, back when "distance learning" meant correspondence courses that were videotaped and mailed to students. Since then, the offerings have expanded to include video-streaming of classes, courses that use online-conferencing tools and completely online courses that use interactive multimedia as part of their delivery. Its fully online programs include:

  • 10 bachelor's degrees in subjects including interdisciplinary studies, business administration, geography, RN to BSN, public safety and computer science
  • 10 graduate and master's degrees and certificates in education, health and business subjects

In brief, distance learning is FAU's specialty, and the school earns high marks for its keen understanding of its students' needs. Its user-friendly website even includes pages written specifically for new moms, busy working parents and night owls.

9

North Florida Community College

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$2,994
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
47.30%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
N/A
School Type
2-year

Florida's Statewide Articulation Agreement guarantees community college students a few nice perks, including guaranteed admission to one of the 11 state universities upon successful completion of an associate degree. This streamlined access to a four-year education, combined with NFCC's affordability, help earn it a place on our list. In fact, it's one of the most affordable colleges in the state, and it awarded an impressive $230,000 in scholarships and grants in 2016.

This rural, public community college is primarily a commuter school -- it doesn't currently offer fully online degrees or certificates. However, its certificate and associate degrees may include online courses, which are offered through Ed2go, a national online education delivery service. NFCC's catalog of online courses are in subjects including business, college readiness, computers, health care, law and legal, education, and more.

10

Keiser University - Ft. Lauderdale

Tuition & Fees/Year Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
$17,664
Distance Education Participation Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
46.28%
Number of Programs Offered Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
46
School Type
4-year

Keiser was founded in 1977 with the goal of providing a career-focused education. Today, it is Florida's third-largest not-for-profit university and has 18 campuses around the state. Through its Online Division, undergraduate and graduate degrees are offered in several disciplines, including the following:

  • Chiropractic
  • Criminal justice
  • Culinary
  • Fire science
  • General studies
  • Information technology

Keiser offers 10 associate degrees, 18 bachelor's degrees and four graduate degrees that are delivered fully online. Courses are taken one at a time, to ensure students don't become overwhelmed as they try to balance school with their lives and responsibilities.

Students also may appreciate knowing that Keiser relies on advisory boards in each program of study. These are comprised of industry experts, alumni, community leaders, faculty and staff who provide input on common practices in those fields, to ensure that Keiser students are receiving the most up-to-date and useful training available.

Affordable Online Colleges in Florida

Many students are concerned about the cost of pursuing a higher education and are looking for a quality, yet affordable school. Below you can read about a sampling of the most affordable community colleges and universities in Florida. The schools are listed due to their in-state tuition, which was reported to the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). To see schools arranged in a ranked list based on overall quality, affordability, or many other desirous qualities, see the Top Colleges tool.

Affordable Two-Year Online Colleges in Florida

While there are many universities and colleges where Sunshine State students can study, below are a few of the most affordable two-year online colleges in Florida:

College NameTuition & Fees/Year
Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Distance Education Participation
Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Number of Online Programs Offered
Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics..
School Type
Tallahassee Community College$2,02627.67%42-year
Hillsborough Community College$2,50628.00%22-year
Erwin Technical College$2,602N/AN/A2-year
Charlotte Technical Center$2,909N/AN/A2-year
North Florida Community College$2,99447.30%N/A2-year

Affordable Four-Year Online Colleges in Florida

The following are some of the most affordable four-year colleges and universities in Florida. These schools are good options for students who want to earn a bachelor’s degree but also don’t want to break the bank.

College NameTuition & Fees/Year
Tuition and fees per year refers to the average in-state tuition and required fees for full-time undergraduates and, if applicable, graduate students as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Distance Education Participation
Distance Education Participation refers to the percentage of students taking either some or all of the courses via distance education, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Number of Online Programs Offered
Number of programs offered refers to the count of degrees and certificates offered via distance education at any level as of 2016, according to the National Center for Education Statistics..
School Type
Palm Beach State College$2,444N/A164-year
Valencia College$2,474N/A134-year
Eastern Florida State College$2,496N/A54-year
Santa Fe College$2,539N/AN/A4-year
College of Central Florida$2,570N/A54-year

College Accreditation in Florida

Picking an accredited college is just as important as picking the right major. That hard-earned degree has to be valid in a student's home state.

According to the Department of Education, there are 595 accredited institutions in Florida. The state's largest college systems, the University of Florida in Gainesville, the Florida State University system, and the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida, are accredited by the same regional body:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)

Smaller schools and religious schools in Florida may be accredited by different governing bodies. Students can check with the Department of Education to see if a school is accredited by a valid governing body.

School Interviews

Want to know what makes attending online college in Florida special? Here are several viewpoints from educational leaders in the Sunshine State.

Dr. Christine Broeker
Technology will continue to emerge and improve ... and online learning will integrate new technology to enhance student learning.

Dr. Christine Broeker

Interim executive director of eLearning

Seminole State College

Q. Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at Seminole State College of Florida?

Seminole State offers nearly 40 fully online programs, including two baccalaureate programs. The college, which is regionally accredited, ranks as one of the most affordable four-year colleges in the nation.

In August 2014, Seminole State added these online two-year programs: Fire Science, which is recognized by FEMA, and Entrepreneurship and Business Management which is unique in Florida.

Q. What advice would you give to students interested in an online degree program?

Online programs require a unique commitment from students as well as good time management skills, motivation and self-discipline. Take a look at yourself and examine what type of programs work best for you.

Contact a faculty member or advisor in the online program you are interested in. In an online degree program, it is important to be able to reach someone if you need assistance. You can learn a lot about the type of support and service you will be able to count on from initial calls or emails.

At Seminole State, we offer several types of courses, from traditional to hybrid (online and on-campus) to fully online. We also encourage students to take advantage of resources that are available to them. At Seminole State, we offer online tutoring, incorporating librarians within certain courses to help with research; and a team of student success specialists who provide advising services for online students.

Finally, students interested in online programs should always make sure the institution is regionally accredited.

Q. How do you anticipate online learning might evolve in the coming years?

We know we’ll continue to see an increase in the number of students. Enrollment increased 15.5 percent in fall 2014 compared with fall 2013.

We expect students will use a range of mobile technologies, such as tablets and smartphones, to learn online. Technology will continue to emerge and improve – such as through voice recognition, retina display, fingerprint scanners and webcam tools -- and online learning will integrate new technology to enhance student learning.


Amy Locklear
Today we can give most students the delivery mode they need for success, be it online or on campus. That's the beauty of technology in modern higher education.

Amy Locklear

Vice President for Academic Affairs

Daytona State College

Q. Can you tell us a little about the online programs offered at Daytona State College?

The college ranks among the top 10 Best Online Bachelor's programs in the country, two years running, according to U.S. News & World Report. More than half of Daytona State's students take one or more online courses a year, and last year nearly 3,000 students enrolled in fully online programs at DSC. The college offers online 11 degree programs - including two-year university transfer - and 10 online certificate programs.

Q. What advice would you give to students interested in an online degree program?

While online classes have grown in number and popularity throughout higher education, distance learning requires self-discipline and time management to keep up with coursework deadlines and online lectures. Some students thrive in that environment, embracing digital communication and freedom from a physical setting. Others learn better in face-to-face settings, interacting directly with professors and fellow students. DSC recommends students review its advisory web page about online benefits and challenges before jumping into distance learning.

Q. How is online learning changing higher education?

Today we can give most students the delivery mode they need for success, be it online or on campus. That's the beauty of technology in modern higher education.

It's an exciting time in education. We're constantly looking at new best practices and multimedia instruction to help the success of today's students, who come from all stages and walks of life.

Financial Aid in Florida

In addition to its sunny climate and fantastic institutions of higher learning, Florida also offers numerous grant and scholarship opportunities for its resident students, which serve to encourage them to stay in-state for their college years.

That could partly be attributed to the fact that the Florida Department of Education, Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA), administers a variety of state-funded grants and scholarships to assist Florida residents with the costs of college. In many cases, every student is eligible as long as they perform well academically, while other awards provide assistance to those demonstrating financial need.

Here is a sampling of Florida scholarships and grants.

Florida Scholarships

One of the best ways to offset the cost of college is to score scholarships since they do not have to be repaid. Luckily, for Sunshine State residents, there are numerous merit- and need-based scholarships, especially for those interested in pursuing undergraduate studies in their home state. Some programs run by the state are only offered at partner institutions, so be sure to see which schools participate before you apply.

This is Florida's largest merit-based scholarship based on high school academic achievement. Students must be a Florida resident and a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen and submit the Florida Financial Aid Application (FFAA) after high school graduation to qualify. There are four different Bright Futures award types: Florida Academic Scholars (FAS) award, the Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS) award, the Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholars (GSV), and the Florida Gold Seal CAPE Scholars award (GSC). (The latter two are geared toward students who are entering career education or certificate programs.)

  • Application deadline: August 31
  • Award amount: Varies based on GPA, scores on college entrance exams, community service hours and other factors
  • Number of scholarships awarded: Varies
  • Renewable: Yes
  • Minimum GPA: Each award has specific academic criteria, minimum ACT, SAT or PERT test scores and requires volunteer service hours
  • Merit vs. need-based: Merit
  • Ethnicity: All
  • Academic status: Applicants must earn a standard Florida high school diploma and be accepted by an eligible Florida school.
  • Residency required: Yes
High school students attending school in either The Palm Beach Treasure Coast area of Florida, the Greater Miami - Fort Lauderdale area (including Broward, Dade and Monroe counties), or the Greater Ft Myers-Naples are invited to apply for this scholarship. Scholarship recipients are selected on the basis of academic record, demonstrated leadership, participation in school and community activities, honors, work experience, statement of goals and aspirations, unusual personal or family circumstances, and an outside appraisal. Once potential scholarship recipients are identified, financial data is reviewed to determine if the student demonstrates financial need.

  • Application deadline: April
  • Award amount: $1,000
  • Number of scholarships awarded: 15
  • Renewable: No
  • Minimum GPA: 3.5
  • Merit vs. need-based: Both
  • Ethnicity: All
  • Academic status Must plan to enroll in full-time undergraduate study
  • Residency required:  Yes
This "full ride" is awarded to Florida high school graduates who achieve National Merit Scholar status and choose to attend one of the six National Merit Scholarship Corporation sponsors: Florida State University, New College of Florida, University of Central Florida, University of Florida, University of Miami and University of South Florida.

  • Application deadline: A separate application is not required once Merit Scholar status is achieved
  • Award amount: Equal to the institutional cost of attendance, minus other state aid
  • Number of scholarships awarded: Varies
  • Renewable: Yes
  • Minimum GPA: Must maintain a 3.0 GPA to renew scholarship
  • Merit vs. need-based: Merit
  • Ethnicity: All
  • Academic status: Must be a National Merit Finalist and have received one of the merit scholarships
  • Residency required:  Yes
Minority students who are training to be teachers are selected based on writing ability, communication skills, overall academic performance and evidence of commitment to the youth of America, preferably demonstrated through volunteer activities. Special consideration is given to community college graduates.

  • Application deadline: July 1 for the fall semester; November 1 for spring semester
  • Award amount: $4,000
  • Number of scholarships awarded: Not specified
  • Renewable: Yes, up to two consecutive years
  • Minimum GPA: Not specified
  • Merit vs. need-based: Merit
  • Ethnicity: African American/Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian American/Pacific Islander, or American Indian/Alaskan native
  • Academic status: Must have earned 60 credit hours or an Associate of Arts degree
  • Residency required:  Yes

If you’re interested in learning more about how to find scholarships for college, read the Ultimate Guide to Scholarships.

Florida Grants

The Florida Department of Education, Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA), offers several different need-based grants for students, which is a huge help to families who cannot afford college. Every little bit helps, and Florida residents who meet qualifications can get assistance with the cost of their post-secondary education.

Full-time students who meet the eligibility requirements for state financial aid and attend eligible in-state schools can earn an annual award.

  • Application deadline: Varies by institution
  • Award amount: The annual award amount is set by the Legislature in the General Appropriation Act each year.
This grant aims to help degree-seeking undergraduate students with substantial financial need whose parents do not hold college or advanced degrees. They must meet the eligibility requirements laid out by the state for financial need and they also must have a FAFSA on file.

  • Application deadline: Varies by institution
  • Award amount: The postsecondary institution determines the award amount for each recipient.
Designed for students attending private, nonprofit Florida colleges and universities, this grant has minimum GPA requirements. Applicants must also meet Florida's eligibility requirements for state aid.

  • Application deadline: Varies
  • Award amount: Each participating institution determines application procedures, deadlines and student eligibility.
This grant aims to help degree-seeking undergraduate students with substantial financial need whose parents do not hold college or advanced degrees. They must meet the eligibility requirements laid out by the state for financial need and they also must have a FAFSA on file.

  • Application deadline: Varies by institution
  • Award amount: Each participating institution determines application procedures, deadlines, student eligibility and award amount.

For an in-depth look at how to qualify for grants and make college more affordable, read our Ultimate Guide to Grants.

Florida Loans

Florida does not have a state-specific loan program for students since their financial aid programs focus on scholarships and grants. While earning scholarships and grants are preferable to taking out student loans, loans may be necessary for some students to cover the cost of college. In that case, students should fill out a FAFSA and look into federal student loans.

Learn more about student loans, including federal loan programs, in the Ultimate Guide to Student Loans.

Additional Resources for Financial Aid in Florida

Featured Cities in Florida

Florida offers many different unique and diverse places to live, from bustling Miami in the south to Jacksonville in the north. Below are three of the top cities for online students in Florida. For each city you will see helpful information for online students, such as average rent and the average salary of a high school graduate compared to the salary of a bachelor’s degree graduate, as reported by the 2015 American Community Survey (census.gov).

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL Metro Area

Total Population

5,861,000

Median salary for high school grads

$24,316

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$43,301

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

30.6%

Median rent

$1,149

Fun Facts

There is no shortage of fun to be had in Miami, from world-class beaches to a wide variety of ethnic restaurants and a well-documented vibrant nightlife. Miami also offers cruises, zoos, several professional sports teams, shopping and museums. Miami's Art Deco Historic District is a must-see for many visitors, while the Little Havana neighborhood gives residents and tourists an authentic taste of Cuban flavor.

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL Metro Area

Total Population

2,888,458

Median salary for high school grads

$26,614

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$46,428

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

28.9%

Median rent

$953

Fun Facts

The Salvador Dali Museum is one of several high-quality art museums in the Greater Tampa Bay region. Visitors and residents also can enjoy Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, Weeki Wachee Springs and Legoland Florida. Tampa also is home to professional football, hockey and baseball teams.

Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL Metro Area

Total Population

2,277,816

Median salary for high school grads

$24,836

Median salary with a bachelor's degree

$42,192

% of the population enrolled in college or grad school

32.3%

Median rent

$1,033

Fun Facts

Orlando is known as "Theme Park Capital of the World," and for good reason. In addition to Walt Disney World and Disney's Animal Kingdom, Orlando is home to Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Studios Florida and Epcot Center.

 
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