Florida Colleges & Universities

Find out about the plentiful educational and career opportunities in Florida.

Colleges in Florida: A Sunny Future in the Sunshine State: Every year, millions of tourists flock to Florida in search of warm weather, sandy beaches, and world-renowned attractions such as Disney World. What you may not know is that as popular as Florida is to visit, it is also a popular place to stay and get an education. Sixty-six percent of Florida's high school graduates who continue their education do so at an in-state college.

Some highlights about colleges in Florida might give you insight as to why so many students pursue their education in-state, and especially when viewed in the context of the career opportunities that await beyond Florida schools.

Overview of Florida Colleges: Florida schools offer a wide variety of post-secondary educational choices in terms of locations, degrees, majors, and types of institutions. The three major types of post-secondary schools in Florida can be categorized as follows:

  • Community colleges: Florida has 28 community colleges spread over 62 campuses. According to the Florida Department of Education, this community college system serves over 800,000 students, most of whom are enrolled part-time. Associate's degrees are the most popular programs among students in this system, and Florida's community college system has led the nation in awarding associate's degrees. As for cost, according to the College Board's statistics for the 2009-10 school year, average tuition and fees at public, two-year schools in Florida is $2,552 per year (for in-state students).

  • State schools: There are 12 state colleges in Florida, serving roughly 300,000 students, led by the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida, with roughly 50,000 students each. The average annual cost of a four-year state college in Florida is $4,382 for in-state residents.

  • Private colleges: Private colleges in Florida serve well over 100,000 students, with the largest school being Nova Southeastern, with about 29,000 students. The average annual cost of four-year private colleges in Florida is $24,425.

Colleges in Florida Lead to Opportunities: As you can see, Florida colleges offer you many different options for earning a degree, or multiple degrees. If you are like most people who attend college, you are likely to find the effort well worthwhile:

  • • According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people in the U.S. with bachelor's degrees rose by 34% in the decade from 1999 to 2009. The number of people with advanced degrees has risen as well. All of this means that the standard for what credentials you need to compete in the job market has been raised.
  • • Census Bureau data also indicates that earning those degrees typically pays off very well financially. In 2008, the average person with an advanced degree earned $83,144, compared with $58,613 for the average person with nothing higher than a bachelor's degree, and $31,283 for the average person with just a high school diploma.

Of course, your job prospects also depend on what type of career you choose. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the following were some of the most plentiful job categories as of 2009:

  • • Healthcare
  • • Education
  • • Business and finance

In financial terms, the BLS found the following to be the most rewarding career fields, on average:

  • • Management
  • • Law
  • • Architecture and engineering
  • • Computers

In short, Florida offers you a variety of promising career choices -- and Florida colleges offer you ample means of pursuing those choices.

The writer Richard Barrington has earned the CFA designation and is a 20-year veteran of the financial industry, including having previously served for over a dozen years as a member of the Executive Committee of Manning & Napier Advisors, Inc. Richard has written extensively on investment and personal finance topics.


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