Online Colleges in Florida

2019's Top Online Programs

Nicknamed the Sunshine State, Florida is known for its sandy beaches and swampy interiors. Surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, it is also the southernmost state in the contiguous United States. Although Florida holds a reputation for being both a spring break destination and a place for retirement communities, the state is also home to many prestigious and prominent universities. The best online colleges in Florida offer a variety of degrees in nearly every field.

Along with a beautiful natural landscape, Florida students and job seekers benefit from a diverse economy and a generally low cost of living. Many accredited online colleges in Florida offer lower tuition rates for state residents, allowing in-state students to take advantage of both flexible course schedules and affordable living.

If you're interested in convenient web-based courses, affordability, and nationally ranked schools and programs, read on to learn more about attending an online college in Florida.

Job Outlook for Students With College Degrees in Florida

Graduates of online colleges in Florida enjoy a generally positive job outlook. As the tables below demonstrate, Florida's August 2018 unemployment rate was slightly lower than the national average, and has decreased further since, reaching 3.4% in October 2018. Florida offers stable salary rates as well as potential for employment growth. While the state's annual mean salary is lower than the national average, it aligns with the lower cost of living in many Florida cities. For example, Pensacola's cost of living is 8% lower than the U.S. average, and the cost of living in Florida's capitol, Tallahassee -- home to Florida State University -- is 4% lower. It is much easier to maintain a high standard of living in Florida than in many other states.

Higher education correlates with both elevated employment rates and greater earning potential in nearly every state. Between 75% and 80% of Florida College System alumni who earn a bachelor's or associate degree find work after graduation. In addition, bachelor's degree-holders earned three times more than the minimum wage, while employees with an associate degree made just over double the minimum wage.

Unemployment Rate, August 2018

Florida 3.7%
United States 3.8%

Source: BLS

Annual Mean Wage, May 2017

Florida $44,790
United States $50,620

Source: BLS

State
Degree Level
School Type
Environment

Cost of Online Colleges in Florida

Online colleges in Florida enjoy a reputation for affordability, and many distance education programs cost less than their on-campus counterparts. In addition to paying lower tuition rates, online students avoid many of the costs associated with campus living, including room and board, meal plans, facility fees, and transportation. Some schools, however, charge distance learners a per-class technology fee, and online students are still responsible for purchasing books, course materials, software, and updated technologies, such as laptops.

In general, online colleges in Florida feature a lower cost of attendance than schools in other states. In-state tuition at public, two-year Florida institutions is $410 below the national average and $3,870 less than the national average at public four-year institutions. When compared to data from other states, online community colleges in Florida offer exceptional value. However, program costs may be different for out-of-state students, and tuition rates vary considerably according to individual school, degree level, and major. Always check with an institution to obtain the most up-to-date information regarding tuition and fees and find out if you qualify for tuition discounts or waivers.

Average Price for In-State Tuition and Fees by Institution Type, 2018-19

  Public Two-Year Public Four-Year
Florida $3,250 $6,360
U.S. Average $3,660 $10,230

Source: The College Board

In-State vs. Out-of-State Tuition in Florida

Out-of-state students typically pay more for tuition than state residents, even at the most affordable online colleges in Florida. Nationwide, annual out-of-state tuition rates at public four-year universities are twice as high as in-state rates. Nonresident students attending public four-year universities in Florida pay three times more for tuition than state residents. Relatively affordable in-state rates encourage Florida residents to pursue higher education within their home state and strengthen local economies.

Out-of-state students on a budget, however, can still attend a Florida university. At many online programs in Florida, nonresident distance learners pay tuition rates much lower than on-campus, out-of-state students. For instance, tuition at the University of Florida for nonresident online students is $552.62 per credit hour, while out-of-state learners enrolled in on-campus programs pay $955.28 per credit hour. Some institutions and academic departments offer tuition waivers or discounts for nonresident students.

Average Tuition and Fees, 2018-19

  Public Two-Year In-State Public Four-Year Out-of-State
Florida $6,360 $20,840
U.S. Average $10,230 $26,290

Source: The College Board

Financial Aid in Florida

Students in Florida enjoy access to both federal and state financial aid programs. All candidates should fill out a FAFSA form to determine if they are eligible for federal financial aid, including grants, loans, work-study programs, and scholarships. While the FAFSA submission window closes in June of each year, students are encouraged to file earlier. Every college and university employs a financial aid adviser to answer student questions regarding FAFSA completion and federal funding.

The Florida Office of Student Financial Aid also offers an application form, known as the FFAA, which students use to apply for state-sponsored scholarships or grants. Popular state aid programs include the Bright Futures Scholarship, First Generation Matching Grant, Florida Farmworker Student Scholarship. However, some postsecondary institutions are ineligible to disburse state aid. Before submitting an FFAA, check with your school's financial aid adviser or consult the Florida Office of Student Financial Aid website to ensure that your institution qualifies for funding.

State Grant Aid per Full-Time Equivalent Undergraduate Student, 2016-17

Florida $550
U.S. Average $820

Source: The College Board

Scholarships and Grants for Florida College Students

As the cost of higher education continues to grow, many candidates are concerned with taking on student debt. Fortunately, organizations, schools, and companies sponsor scholarships and grants to help students pay for their degrees. Some awards are merit-based, while others are presented according to financial need. Below are just a few of the many grants and scholarships available to students attending Florida colleges and universities.


Best Majors for Online Students

Florida's diverse economy holds great employment potential for recent graduates. The state's top industries include professional and business services, education, health services, leisure and hospitality, and government. Florida is also home to strong trade, transportation, and utility sectors. Before selecting a major, you may wish to consider how your chosen field aligns with the state's strongest industries.

Many prospective students find it useful to explore careers with high statewide projected job growth and employment rates and choose a major based on job potential. For instance, Florida civil engineers enjoy the third highest employment rate in the country. Nationwide, civil engineering jobs are projected to increase 11% in the next decade -- much faster than average. Students attending online colleges in Florida may consider a civil engineering major, based on job stability and projected growth.

Some students pursue broadly-applicable degrees in areas such as business administration, management, or marketing. These majors offer knowledge and applied skills used in a variety of settings, from technology companies to healthcare services. The following majors are popular among online students in Florida.

Business Administration

A business administration degree is ideal for individuals seeking supervisory careers. Many business programs allow students to focus on a particular specialization or field within the major, such as finance, marketing, or supply chain management. Graduates go on to work in nearly every field and setting.

Civil Engineering

Civil engineering majors gain foundational knowledge needed to design, construct, and troubleshoot infrastructure projects in both the public and private sectors. Florida's high employment rate for civil engineers makes this an ideal major for students who wish to live in-state after graduation.

International Relations

This major offers an in-depth look at international politics that may translate to a position in government, law, journalism, international business, or education. Thanks to Florida's strategic proximity to many Caribbean and Latin American countries, graduates well-versed in international relations enjoy high job demand.

Resources for Online College Students in Florida

Check out the following sites for further information on higher education in Florida, employment opportunities in the state, and professional and student organizations.

Florida College System: The Florida College System is a conglomerate of 28 members colleges dedicated to matching degree and certificate programs to local workforce and community needs. Their website provides information about member colleges, including admission guidelines, financial aid, residency, and transfer policies.

Florida Consortium on Inclusive Higher Education: This organization serves students with intellectual disabilities and their families. Its website lists inclusive college programs in Florida, as well as web modules and program guides.

Florida Shines: Florida Shines has partnered with 40 schools across the state to help students succeed in college and find career opportunities after graduation. Website visitors can explore program options, access free online textbooks, and plan for a future after college. The association is affiliated with Florida Virtual Campus.

Florida Virtual Campus: Developed through state legislature, Florida Virtual Campus is dedicated to providing Florida learners with innovative educational services, including distance learning programs. Working in partnership with the Florida College System and State University System, the organization has established multi-institutional academic support services for students at online colleges in Florida.

State of Florida Job Opportunities: This job board lets visitors explore government employment openings across the state by searching for field or industry, location, or keyword.