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2021 Best Colleges in Florida

62 Colleges
$46,162 Avg Salary*
44% Avg 4-Year Grad Rate*

With all of the options you have for higher education today, it can be tough to choose which direction to take. One of our goals at College Factual is to give you as much information as we can - such as our Top in Florida Colleges and Universities ranking - to help you make that decision.

After analyzing 62 schools in Florida, we came up with our list of those that offered the highest quality education. Instead of depending on subjective information, we focus on over 20 objective factors to determine this ranking. These factors include such things as student-to-faculty ratio, average graduate earnings, and graduation rate.

Learn more about our ranking methodology.

Custom Rankings

We know that one set of rankings doesn't always help you determine the best school for you, so we've created the ability to narrow your list by location and field of study as well as alternative rankings that prioritize different factors such as those of importance to veterans and returning adults or those who value diversity and value for your money.

We've created a tool called College Combat that lets you create your own customized comparisons based on the factors that matter the most to you. Test it out by comparing your favorite schools against others you are considering!

Top Colleges in Florida

Learn more about these excellent schools below:

#1

University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida

Our 2021 rankings named University of Florida the best school in Florida in terms of overall quality for students working on their bachelor’s degree. U of F is a public institution located in Gainesville, Florida. The school has a large population, and it awarded 9,663 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 96%. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from U of F make an average of $56,000 per year during the early years of their career.

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#2

University of Miami

Coral Gables, Florida

You’ll join some of the best and brightest minds around if you attend University of Miami. The school came in at #2 in Florida on this year’s overall quality ranking.Coral Gables, Florida is the setting for this fairly large institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 3,118 students in 2018-2019.

The school has an excellent freshman retention rate of 91%, which means students like the school well enough to return for a second year. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from U Miami is $60,100 during the early years of their career.

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#3

Florida State University

Tallahassee, Florida

The excellent bachelor’s degree programs at Florida State University helped the school earn the #3 place on this year’s ranking of the best schools in Florida.Tallahassee, Florida is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 9,688 students in 2018-2019.

With a freshman retention rate of 94%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. During the early years of their career, graduates from Florida State make an average of $46,400 a year.

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#4

Rollins College

Winter Park, Florida

You’ll be in good company if you decide to attend Rollins College. It ranked #4 on our 2021 Best Colleges in Florida list. Located in Winter Park, Florida, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 664 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 2.4%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $45,700 during the early years of their career..

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Out of the 62 schools in Florida that were part of this year’s ranking, University of South Florida - Main Campus landed the #5 spot on the list.Tampa, Florida is the setting for this large institution of higher learning. The public school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 8,684 students in 2018-2019.

Students who start out at the school are likely to stick around. The freshman retention rate is 90%. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from USF Tampa go into careers with an average salary of $43,500 during the early years of their career.

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Ringling College of Art and Design came in at #6 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Florida ranking. Ringling College is located in Sarasota, Florida and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 298 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The student loan default rate at the school is 2.7%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $33,200 during the early years of their career..

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Embry Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in Florida ranking, coming in at #7. Embry Riddle Daytona Beach is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school situated in Daytona Beach, Florida. It awarded 1,097 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The student loan default rate at the school is 4.2%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from Embry Riddle Daytona Beach make an average of $66,200 per year during the early years of their career.

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University of South Florida Sarasota - Manatee landed the #8 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in Florida ranking. University of South Florida Sarasota - Manatee is located in Sarasota, Florida and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 538 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 1.2%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. During the early years of their career, graduates from University of South Florida Sarasota - Manatee make an average of $43,500 a year.

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#9

University of Central Florida

Orlando, Florida

University of Central Florida did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in Florida ranking, coming in at #9. Located in Orlando, Florida, the large public school handed out 14,087 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The low student loan default rate of 2.4% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1% Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $45,400 during the early years of their career..

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#10

Eckerd College

Saint Petersburg, Florida

Eckerd College did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in Florida ranking, coming in at #10.Saint Petersburg, Florida is the setting for this small institution of higher learning. The private not-for-profit school handed out bachelor’s degrees to 507 students in 2018-2019.

The student loan default rate at the school is 3.3%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% During the early years of their career, graduates from Eckerd make an average of $42,200 a year.

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#11

New College of Florida

Sarasota, Florida

New College of Florida ranked #11 on this year’s Best Colleges in Florida list. New College is a public institution located in Sarasota, Florida. The school has a small population, and it awarded 213 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The student loan default rate at the school is 1.9%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1%

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#12

Stetson University

DeLand, Florida

Stetson University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in Florida ranking, coming in at #12. Stetson is a small private not-for-profit school situated in DeLand, Florida. It awarded 799 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 2.6%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Stetson go into careers with an average salary of $43,200 during the early years of their career.

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#13

Florida Southern College

Lakeland, Florida

Florida Southern College ranked #13 on this year’s Best Colleges in Florida list. Florida Southern College is a small private not-for-profit school located in Lakeland, Florida that handed out 737 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 4.2%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Florida Southern go into careers with an average salary of $41,400 during the early years of their career.

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#14

Jacksonville University

Jacksonville, Florida

With a ranking of #14, Jacksonville University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in Florida list. JU is located in Jacksonville, Florida and has a small student population. In 2018-2019, this school awarded 762 bachelor’s degrees to qualified undergradutates.

The low student loan default rate of 2.0% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1% Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from JU go into careers with an average salary of $50,500 during the early years of their career.

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#15

University of North Florida

Jacksonville, Florida

University of North Florida landed the #15 spot on the 2021 Best Colleges in Florida ranking. UNF is a fairly large public school situated in Jacksonville, Florida. It awarded 3,493 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 1.3%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from UNF make an average of $43,200 per year during the early years of their career.

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#16

Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Nova Southeastern University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in Florida ranking, coming in at #16. Nova Southeastern University is a large private not-for-profit school located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida that handed out 1,108 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 2.2%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Nova Southeastern University go into careers with an average salary of $45,300 during the early years of their career.

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Florida International University came in at #17 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Florida ranking. FIU is a public institution located in Miami, Florida. The school has a large population, and it awarded 12,352 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

With a freshman retention rate of 88%, the school does an excellent job of retaining its students. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from FIU is $46,300 during the early years of their career.

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#18

Florida Institute of Technology

Melbourne, Florida

With a ranking of #18, Florida Institute of Technology did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in Florida list. Florida Institute of Technology is a medium-sized private not-for-profit school located in Melbourne, Florida that handed out 787 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from Florida Tech is $56,600 during the early years of their career.

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#19

University of Florida-Online

Gainesville, Florida

University of Florida-Online came in at #19 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Florida ranking. University of Florida-Online is a small public school situated in Gainesville, Florida. It awarded 597 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 1.5%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from University of Florida-Online is $56,000 during the early years of their career.

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#20

Florida College

Temple Terrace, Florida

Florida College ranked #20 on this year’s Best Colleges in Florida list. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Temple Terrace, Florida, and it awarded 67 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The student loan default rate at the school is 2.3%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Florida College go into careers with an average salary of $39,100 during the early years of their career.

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#21

The University of Tampa

Tampa, Florida

The University of Tampa came in at #21 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Florida ranking. Located in Tampa, Florida, the medium-sized private not-for-profit school awarded 1,775 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The school has an impressive student loan default rate. It’s only 2.6%, which is much lower than the national rate of 10.1%. During the early years of their career, graduates from U of Tampa make an average of $48,600 a year.

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#22

Florida Atlantic University

Boca Raton, Florida

Florida Atlantic University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in Florida ranking, coming in at #22. Florida Atlantic University is a large public school located in Boca Raton, Florida that handed out 5,855 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The low student loan default rate of 3.2% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1% The average salary of a graduate with a bachelor’s degree from FAU is $43,200 during the early years of their career.

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#23

Ave Maria University

Ave Maria, Florida

Ave Maria University did quite well in the 2021 Best Colleges in Florida ranking, coming in at #23. This small private not-for-profit school is located in Ave Maria, Florida, and it awarded 261 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The student loan default rate at the school is 4.3%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% Graduates with a bachelor’s degree from AMU make an average of $32,800 per year during the early years of their career.

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#24

Palm Beach Atlantic University

West Palm Beach, Florida

With a ranking of #24, Palm Beach Atlantic University did quite well on the 2021 Best Colleges in Florida list. Located in West Palm Beach, Florida, the small private not-for-profit school awarded 541 diplomas to qualifed bachelor’s degree students in 2018-2019.

The low student loan default rate of 3.6% is a good sign that students have an easier time paying off their loans than they might at other schools. For comparison, the national default rate is 10.1% Those who receive a bachelor’s degree from Palm Beach Atlantic go into careers with an average salary of $40,600 during the early years of their career.

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#25

Flagler College - St Augustine

Saint Augustine, Florida

Flagler College - St Augustine came in at #25 in this year’s edition of the Best Colleges in Florida ranking. Located in Saint Augustine, Florida, the small private not-for-profit school handed out 823 bachelor’s degrees in 2018-2019.

The student loan default rate at the school is 1.9%, which is quite low when compared to the national default rate of 10.1% Upon graduation, bachelor’s degree recipients go on to jobs making an average salary of $38,900 during the early years of their career..

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Notes and References

Footnotes

*These averages are for the top 25 schools only.

References

  • The Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), a branch of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) serves as the core of our data about colleges.
  • Some other college data, including much of the graduate earnings data, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s (College Scorecard).
  • Information about the national average student loan default rate is from the U.S. Department of Education and refers to data about the 2016 borrower cohort tracking period for which the cohort default rate (CDR) was 10.1%.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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