The 5 Best Online Colleges in Florida

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Updated December 13, 2022

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Online colleges in Florida offer you many degree and certificate options. Learn more about how online learning can advance your education and career.

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The Sunshine State is a great place to attend college — even if it's online. In fact, an online college may lend you the flexible schedule you need to spend time on Florida's white-sand beaches.

Online colleges in Florida provide excellent educational opportunities to residents and nonresidents alike. Online Florida universities offer many of the same advantages as on-campus schools, such as career advising, library services, and institutional financial aid programs.

Why Consider Online Colleges in Florida?

  • Enrolling in a Florida online college gives you the flexibility to balance school with work and family.
  • Many online programs run asynchronously, letting you schedule lessons around your other responsibilities.
  • Online students do not need to relocate to enroll in the most affordable program in Florida.
  • You can save money by not paying for campus housing or a meal plan.
  • Florida schools offer you the same online degrees available to on-campus learners.
  • Online bachelor's degrees in Florida qualify you to enroll in online or on-campus graduate programs.
  • Some online colleges in Florida feature start dates throughout the year.

Did You Know?


  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that Florida's top 10 best-paying jobs require a college degree as of May 2021.
  • Florida had only a 2.7% unemployment rate in October 2022, indicating a strong job market for recent college grads and experienced professionals.
  • The University of Florida Online offers bachelor's degrees in seven career fields, such as communication and public safety.
  • Professional or life experience may let you skip some classes and graduate sooner than your peers.
  • Online Florida universities use different admissions pathways for veterans, adult learners, and homeschooled students.

Explore Our Featured Online Programs

How Does Accreditation Work for Online Schools in Florida?

As you might already know, not all online colleges in Florida with attractive websites offer high-quality degrees. You can separate the best Florida online colleges from the rest by checking their accreditation status.

College accreditation involves a multistep process that includes satisfying many eligibility requirements and undergoing evaluation by an outside agency.

Research whether programs that interest you hold institutional accreditation from a reputable agency, such as the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). DEAC accreditation shows that a college's online programs offer the same rigor and outcomes as its in-person degrees. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation website lets you explore other agencies' reputations.

The Florida Department of Education also evaluates college accreditation agencies and approves the best ones. Florida recognizes 38 accrediting agencies as of April 2022.

Top 5 Online Colleges in Florida

Read About Our Methodology Here

#1 The 5 Best Online Colleges in Florida

University of Florida

  • Gainesville, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online

Students attending the University of Florida can choose from online and in-person academic programs. In addition to delivering on-campus programs from its campus in Gainesville, the public school offers 22 online programs. The institution delivers online resources, such as tutoring, for its online learners.

Online enrollees can develop professional connections with classmates and professors using the virtual classroom environment. Online programs require both general education and field-specific classes, helping learners gain hard and soft skills. Students consult with academic advisors before registering for classes. Enrollees can complete research projects, internships, and other experiential learning opportunities to gain practical skills.

The financial aid office can help applicants understand funding options and minimize student debt. Students should submit the FAFSA to determine their eligibility for federal financial aid.

Average Tuition
In-state
$3,358
Out-of-state
$15,000
Retention Rate
63%
Admission Rate
32%
Students Enrolled
3,926
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
Not provided
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#2 The 5 Best Online Colleges in Florida

Florida State University

  • Tallahassee, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Looking for a premier online education? Consider Florida State University. Busy students with personal or professional responsibilities often pursue one of the public institution's 17 online programs. Online learners often save money by living in areas with lower costs of living while attending school.

Virtual learning environments provide opportunities for enrollees to connect with professors and peers. Research opportunities help participants bolster their resume and develop practical skills. Academic advisors help learners choose courses that align with their professional goals, customizing the curriculum to their needs.

If they demonstrate financial need, degree-seekers may qualify for federal scholarships, grants, and loans. Financial aid officers provide information about options students can use to fund their education, such as scholarships and fellowships. The school reports that 97% of enrollees receive financial aid of some kind, which can help them fund their degree.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,640
Out-of-state
$19,084
Retention Rate
93%
Admission Rate
36%
Students Enrolled
42,450
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
47% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#3 The 5 Best Online Colleges in Florida

University of Central Florida

  • Orlando, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Enrollees interested in pursuing online programs can consider the University of Central Florida’s high-quality distance options. The school's online programs meet the same academic standards as its in-person programs. Busy students often benefit from the flexibility of online learning.

Enrollees connect with classmates and faculty members through a virtual classroom environment. Experiential learning opportunities, such as internships, allow degree-seekers to gain practical skills in their field. Academic advisors provide support and guidance for online students throughout their program. Career resources include job fairs, career workshops, and resume assistance, which help learners prepare to secure a position in their field.

Students should budget for living expenses and program fees, in addition to tuition. Before enrolling, applicants should consider the overall cost of earning a degree and can receive detailed information from an admissions counselor. Enrollees can reduce the financial burden of higher education by applying for scholarships and grants.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,478
Out-of-state
$19,810
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
44%
Students Enrolled
69,402
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
59% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#4 The 5 Best Online Colleges in Florida

University of South Florida

  • Tampa, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

Enrollees who plan to study online can pursue a variety of excellent remote programs from the University of South Florida. Many of the school's 24,241 online learners save money on transportation and housing costs. Along with working professionals, students with children often pursue online learning because of the increased flexibility it offers.

Enrollees can connect with peers and instructors through group projects, virtual office hours, and online discussion boards. Degree-seekers can collaborate with classmates or faculty members on research projects that contribute to their field. Students can access academic advising to ensure they remain on track to graduate. Career resources include job fairs, career workshops, and resume assistance, which help learners prepare to secure a position in their field.

Online students may need to pay an additional technology fee. Before enrolling, applicants should discuss full program costs with an admissions counselor. Eligible enrollees can benefit from internal and external funding opportunities to help lower the total cost.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,559
Out-of-state
$15,473
Retention Rate
91%
Admission Rate
48%
Students Enrolled
44,246
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
55% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

#5 The 5 Best Online Colleges in Florida

Florida International University

  • Miami, FL
  • 4 years
  • Online + Campus

With exceptional flexibility for busy learners, Florida International University's online programs are ideal for working professionals. Although the school's campus is in Miami, students can attend its 67 online programs from anywhere. The institution delivers remote programming to 39,863 online enrollees.

The school fosters a strong online learning community, featuring collaborative opportunities. While enrolled in their online program, participants can connect with classmates using tools such as videoconferencing. Students can pursue internships and research projects to enhance their resume while completing their program. Online learners can access academic and professional resources to benefit their studies. Enrollees can take advantage of career services and networking opportunities to prepare to secure a job after graduation.

Federal financial aid programs can help students afford higher education. Along with providing information about institutional funding, the school's financial aid office can help learners explore additional funding options, such as third-party scholarships. To help pay for their educational program, 90% of enrollees receive financial aid, according to the institution.

Average Tuition
In-state
$4,721
Out-of-state
$16,529
Retention Rate
89%
Admission Rate
58%
Students Enrolled
58,711
Institution Type
Public
Percent Online Enrollment
68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.
Accreditation
Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

7 Popular Cities for Accredited Online Colleges in Florida

Simplify your search for Florida online universities by exploring what those in different cities offer. The advantages of attending a local online school in Florida include qualifying for hybrid programs and making professional connections within your community.

  1. 1

    Daytona Beach

    Nearly 75,000 people called Daytona Beach home in 2021. Daytona State College offers more than two dozen online degree and certificate programs.
  2. 2

    Fort Lauderdale

    Located on the Atlantic coast, Fort Lauderdale is home to City College just outside the city limits. This private school offers an online bachelor's degree in healthcare administration and many on-campus health sciences programs.
  3. 3

    Gainesville

    Central Florida residents living in Gainesville benefit from the University of Florida, situated in the heart of the city. You can select from many online undergraduate majors, such as education sciences, geology, and public relations.
  4. 4

    Jacksonville

    Students in Jacksonville can access many public and private colleges. The city's Florida State College branch offers you more than two dozen online certificates and degrees.
  5. 5

    Miami

    Situated near Florida's southern tip, Miami hosts City College Miami. This small private school features online degrees in healthcare administration, business, and nursing.
  6. 6

    Tampa

    Located on the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa is home to the University of South Florida. Fully online undergraduate degrees include criminology, public health, and urban studies.
  7. 7

    Orlando

    Orlando offers much more than Disney World. The city's Columbia College branch lets students explore online majors in seven fields, including accounting and the sciences.

How Much Do Online Universities in Florida Cost?

Online colleges in Florida can help you save money on a degree, especially if you hold in-state residency.

In-state students at two-year public schools paid just over $2,500 per year in tuition and fees in 2020-2021, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Learners attending public four-year schools spent more for a bachelor's degree.

Expect to pay nearly four times the in-state tuition rate if you lack Florida residency. However, you will still spend less than your peers attending private four-year colleges or universities.

While reviewing these figures, remember that textbooks and other required materials add to your total cost of attendance (COA). Online Florida universities' admissions and financial aid departments can help you determine an exact COA. These professionals can also assist you with filling out the FAFSA.

Popular Majors in Florida


  • Biology
  • Business
  • Criminal Justice
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Nursing
  • Political Science
  • Psychology

Career Opportunities in Florida

Online colleges in Florida can prepare you for one of many careers featuring a high salary and rapid projected growth.

Note that factors such as work experience, education, and geographic location can affect your salary. Also, actual job growth may differ from BLS projections due to unexpected economic developments, such as a recession.

10 Fast-Growing Jobs in Florida
Job Job Growth Rate (2020-2030) Median Annual Salary (May 2021)
Nurse Practitioners 71% $104,830
Statisticians 63% $83,090
Gaming and Sports Book Writers and Runners 62% $28,660
First-Line Supervisors of Gambling Services Workers 59% $53,990
Gaming Dealers 57% $35,850
Gaming Cage Workers 54% $28,960
Restaurants Cooks 54% $31,130
Data Scientists and Mathematical Science Occupations 53% $80,980
Information Security Analysts 52% $102,850
Physician Assistants 46% $104,810

Sources: Projections Central, BLS

What Are the Highest-Paying Jobs in Florida?

Most of the highest-paying jobs in Florida require a medical degree. In 2021, anesthesiologists in Florida earned a median annual salary of $363,570. Unfortunately, you cannot earn this degree online, as becoming a doctor requires intensive hands-on training. However, aspiring chief executives and pilots may explore hybrid programs.

Use your school's enrollment counselors to research which stages of your educational journey online learning may benefit you.

10 High-Paying Jobs in Florida
Job Median Annual Salary (May 2021) Education Required
Anesthesiologists $363,570 First-Professional Degree
Cardiologists $359,420 First-Professional Degree
Radiologists $318,530 First-Professional Degree
Emergency Medicine Physicians $313,590 First-Professional Degree
Physicians, Pathologists $251,220 First-Professional Degree
Obstetricians and Gynecologists $249,800 First-Professional Degree
Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers $232,600 Bachelor's Degree
Dermatologists $219,580 First-Professional Degree
Psychiatrists $216,040 First-Professional Degree
Chief Executives $215,050 Bachelor's Degree

Source: BLS

Frequently Asked Questions About Online Colleges in Florida

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

You must establish residency in Florida for 12 months to qualify. However, Florida denies in-state tuition requests from residents 23 and younger who rely on out-of-state parents or guardians for tuition payments.

You can prove residency to your school by providing one form of accepted documentation, such as vehicle registration, a driver's license, or a voter registration card. Consult your college's admissions department to learn more about other ways to gain in-state student status.

How many colleges and universities are in Florida?

Florida features 40 public colleges and universities offering the best tuition rate to in-state students. The state also hosts 30 private colleges with full accreditation and nonprofit status. Many of these schools offer online and hybrid programs.

Note that these 70 schools do not include private for-profit colleges. Research for-profit schools' accreditations and reputations before enrolling.

What is the cheapest online college in Florida?

Public schools within the Florida College System offered residents the most affordable tuition rate in the 2020-2021 school year. They charged only $72 per credit for an associate degree and $92 per credit for a bachelor's degree. Nonresidents paid $216.

You can lower your COA in many ways, such as by qualifying for federal grants and exploring private scholarships. Both reduce your reliance on student loans and set you up for long-term financial well-being.

Do I need to live in Florida to attend an online college in Florida?

Most Florida university online programs do not require you to live in the state. Hybrid degrees and those qualifying graduates for a Florida state license may restrict applicants to residents. You can determine eligibility for one of these programs by researching colleges' websites or contacting their admissions departments.

What Florida colleges offer online degrees?

Many top private and public online colleges in Florida offer undergraduate and graduate degrees. Online programs use the same admission and graduation requirements as their on-campus counterparts. Benefits such as asynchronous education may let you continue working full or part time while in school.

Research online Florida universities the same way you would on-campus ones. Comparing tuition, offered degrees, and student services can help you make an informed decision.


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AccreditedSchoolsOnline.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.

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