Best Online Colleges in Florida 2021

Find a program that’s right for you.

Best Online Colleges and Universities badge

Many working professionals pursue online college degrees to improve their career prospects. Florida is home to more than 150 colleges and universities, which award degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Learners in the state who need flexible scheduling options often attend online colleges in Florida.

Typical admission requirements for online bachelor’s programs include a high school diploma or the equivalent, a minimum GPA, and standardized test scores. Most schools only accept transfer credits earned with a minimum GPA. Many online colleges in Florida require new distance learners to undergo a virtual orientation. Additionally, in-state students often receive discounted tuition rates at public schools.

Online students experience the same benefits after graduation as their on-campus peers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, college graduates earn higher median salaries and experience lower unemployment rates than professionals without a degree.

Best Online Colleges in Florida 2020

Rank School Location
1 University of Florida Gainesville, FL
2 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL
3 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL
4 University of South Florida Tampa, FL
5 Florida International University Miami, FL

Top Online Programs

Explore programs of your interests with the high-quality standards and flexibility you need to take your career to the next level.


  • Can online colleges be regionally accredited?

    The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges awards regional accreditation to on-campus and online postsecondary institutions in Florida.

  • How much does it cost to get an online degree?

    The cost of earning an online degree depends on factors including the type of school. Private schools typically charge the highest tuition rates, while in-state learners at public institutions generally pay discounted tuition rates.

  • Can you go to college in Florida for free?

    Florida’s lottery system funds a scholarship for in-state students who excel academically in high school. The maximum award covers the full cost of tuition at public colleges and universities.

  • Is an online degree as good as a traditional degree?

    Most employers recognize both on-campus degrees and degrees earned from accredited online colleges in Florida. Graduates of online programs can also qualify for graduate school.

Best Online Colleges in Florida 2021

  1. University of Florida

    Gainesville, FL



    Based in Gainesville, UF Online offers students a broad selection of flexible bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate programs.

    Students can choose from over 20 bachelor's programs in business and leadership, technology, science, and communication. Students can augment their degree with a minor in one of nine subjects, including German, sociology, and business administration. Motivated students can also take advantage of over 80 master's programs, seven doctoral degrees, and over 100 professional certificate programs.

    Undergraduate students must submit SAT or ACT scores as part of the application process. Graduate students must check their individual department requirements for admission. Most programs require students to take either the GRE or GMAT.

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

  2. Florida State University

    Tallahassee, FL



    Based in Tallahassee, DISTANCE@FSU offers a variety of online bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs. Students can complete courses mostly online and in a variety of fields.

    FSU offers bachelor's programs in four areas: computer science, criminology, interdisciplinary science, and public safety and security. Motivated students can choose from 18 different master's programs in fields such as law enforcement intelligence, social work, and art education.

    The school also offers three doctoral programs: doctor of education in educational leadership and policy, doctor of education in instructional systems and learning technologies, and a doctor of nursing practice. Multiple professional certificate programs round out the school's offerings.

    First-year applicants must complete the SAT or ACT, and FSU considers super scores. Graduate students must check with their chosen department for admission requirements. Most programs require students to submit either GRE or GMAT scores.

    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 offers several flexible bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs. Students can also take advantage of online certificate courses for professional growth or mid-career changes.

    Students can choose from over 30 bachelor's degrees in fields such as senior living management, communication and conflict, and health informatics. Motivated students can take advantage of online graduate work with over 30 master's degrees in the social sciences, analytics, and business. Nursing students can take advantage of three doctoral options.

    Students must speak to an admissions counselor before applying to any program. Applicants must possess a minimum GPA of 2.0 for general admissions, but certain programs may require a higher GPA. Undergraduate students with fewer than 60 transferable credits must also submit SAT or ACT scores. Applicants to graduate programs must submit either the GRE or GMAT.

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

  4. University of South Florida

    Tampa, FL



    Located in Tampa, USF Online offers a variety of bachelor's and master's degrees and several professional certificate options.

    USF's certificate catalog includes dozens of fully online options in fields such as education, business, and healthcare. The school also offers seven bachelor's programs, including urban studies and public health. Motivated students can take advantage of around 40 master's programs, with several options in education or public health.

    Online students receive full academic support with tutoring and a live chat help desk. Students can also partner with study mentors and receive online proctoring through the school.

    USF recalculates GPA based on grades in core competencies and AP courses for first-year applicants, with an average admitted GPA around 4.0. Students must also submit SAT or ACT scores. Graduate students must check with their specific program for admission requirements.

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

  5. Florida International University

    Miami, FL



    Located in Miami, FIU Onlineoffers over 50 bachelor's degrees, over 50 master's degrees, and six graduate certificates. Students can also participate in one of several bachelor's to master's tracks, finishing both degrees in just four years.

    Bachelor's options include programs in such fields as healthcare, technology, business, and religious studies. Master's programs include accounting, criminal justice, and educational leadership. Students can also choose from three dual-degree programs: criminal justice, hospitality management, and recreation and sport management. The online school engages students through virtual events, job training, and counseling services.

    Undergraduate applicants must submit SAT or ACT scores to apply. Graduate students need to check with their chosen department to determine work requirements or standardized test needs. Overall, the graduate school requires applicants to possess a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission.

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

Both recent high school graduates and working professionals can attend online colleges in Florida. These programs feature the same rigorous curricula as their on-campus counterparts. Because online programs often feature asynchronous courses, many distance learners work full time or part time while earning their degree or certificate.

Online learners typically receive the same academic opportunities as on-campus students. For example, the University of Florida offers four-year bachelor’s degrees and bachelor’s degree completion programs. Online master’s degree-seekers choose from more than 80 options, including programs in veterinary medical sciences, special education, and materials science and engineering.

Why Get an Online Degree?

Attending one of the top online colleges in Florida can lead to academic and professional benefits. The following list highlights a few common reasons that students choose to pursue their education in an online format.

  • Cost Savings: Most schools charge online students reduced tuition rates. Additionally, distance learners often save on expenses such as transportation and housing costs.
  • Flexible Schedule: Online programs often feature asynchronous curricula, which can benefit working professionals and students with personal obligations. Students in asynchronous classes complete assignments according to their schedule.
  • In-Demand Skills: Students earning an online degree gain the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed professionally. Online learners also develop transferable skills, such as time management.
  • Career Advancement: Earning an online undergraduate or graduate degree can improve career prospects and qualify graduates for advanced positions with increased earning potential.
  • Networking: Online learners often network with peers and professors. These relationships can continue after graduation and can lead to internship and career opportunities.

What Are the Requirements for an Online School?

Applicants to online and on-campus programs must typically meet the same admission requirements. Typical application materials for prospective freshmen include standardized test scores and high school transcripts. Specialized programs may require candidates to complete high school prerequisites or submit an academic portfolio. Transfer applicants must generally have a minimum undergraduate GPA.

Graduation requirements vary by major and degree type. However, students must often maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA and pass all courses with a grade of C or better. Schools place degree-seekers who do not meet these requirements on academic probation.

How Does College Accreditation Work?

Scholarships for Online Students

Students who attend online colleges often save money on tuition and expenses. However, learners at even the most affordable Florida online colleges may need assistance funding their education. Degree-seekers can apply for scholarships, such as those below, to minimize student debt. Learners should research each scholarship’s requirements and deadline before applying.

  • Arts for Life! Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: Florida high school seniors passionate about the arts can apply for this competitive scholarship. Arts for Life! considers applicants who demonstrate talent in creative writing, dance, drama, music, or visual art. Applicants must submit a teacher recommendation, an essay, and a recent headshot.

    Amount: $1,000

  • Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program

    Who Can Apply: Since 1997, this program has supported graduating Florida high school seniors. Applicants must submit the state financial aid application and must have a minimum 3.0 high school GPA and satisfactory ACT or SAT scores. The scholarship renews annually as long as recipients maintain a minimum GPA.

    Amount: Full tuition at an in-state college or university

  • Macy's Emergency Scholarship Fund

    Who Can Apply: The department store company Macy’s awards this scholarship to college students facing an economic emergency, such as an illness or loss of income. Applicants must study full time and need a minimum 3.0 GPA. Candidates submit academic transcripts and an essay detailing their financial situation. Macy’s accepts applications on a rolling basis.

    Amount: $500

  • NIADA Foundation Scholarship

    Who Can Apply: High school seniors throughout the United States can apply for this scholarship from the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association Foundation. Applicants must provide high school transcripts, a 1,200-word essay, and a teacher recommendation. The NIADA Foundation recommends but does not require the submission of ACT or SAT scores.

    Amount: $3,500

  • TeenDrive365 Annual Video Challenge

    Who Can Apply: Car manufacturer Toyota promotes safe driving through this video challenge. High school students submit a 30- to 60-second commercial that convinces their peers to drive safely. Toyota televises the grand-prize winner’s video. Students can view previous winning submissions and an inspiration gallery on the Toyota website.

    Amount: Up to $15,000

Recommended Reading

Whether you’re looking to earn your online degree or you’re a parent looking for answers, you can find all of your questions covered here. Explore these resources to help you make informed decisions and prepare for whatever is thrown your way.

See All Posts
Accredited Online Master’s Programs 2021

Accredited Online Master’s Programs 2021

April 16, 2021   |   Staff Writers

A master's degree can mean new career opportunities, greater responsibilities at work, and a higher earning potential. Accredited help graduate students advance their education in a flexible format. In diverse...

Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degrees 2021

Accredited Online Bachelor’s Degrees 2021

May 21, 2021   |   Staff Writers

An online bachelor's degree can help professionals advance their careers and increase their earning potential. By choosing a regionally accredited online program, students can maximize their educational investment. Professionals who...

Shape your future with an online degree

Connect with a community of peers, and find a program that will allow you to continue your education in a fast and flexible way.