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7th annual study identifies ‘Best Value Colleges’ in Florida


The University of Florida leads the statewide rankings this year, while the University of Central Florida ranked third

From SmartAsset

Recently a study was released by SmartAsset that highlighted the top schools in Florida that provided the best value to students. The results of their seventh annual Best Value Colleges study from this year revealed that the University of Florida leads the statewide rankings, marking the fourth consecutive year, and sixth time in seven years, that the school has led the state. Locally, the University of Central Florida ranked number 3 in the state this year.

Top performing schools ranked as a result of their performance in categories including scholarships, starting salary, tuition, living expenses, and student retention rate.

For a look at the top schools in Florida, check out the table below:




Avg. Scholarships and Grants

Avg. Starting Salary

College Tuition*

Student Living Costs

Student Retention Rate

College Education Value Index

1 University of Florida Gainesville, FL $9,528 $57,100 $6,381 $14,830 97% 64.29
2 Florida State University Tallahassee, FL $7,685 $51,800 $5,656 $16,512 93% 48.69
3 University of Central Florida Orlando, FL $7,631 $50,700 $6,368 $16,180 91% 46.46
4 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University-Daytona Beach Daytona Beach, FL $15,688 $65,800 $35,814 $17,436 78% 45.56
5 University of South Florida-Main Campus Tampa, FL $8,912 $50,800 $6,410 $16,910 91% 45.56
6 University of North Florida Jacksonville, FL $7,569 $49,500 $6,394 $14,990 83% 44.29
7 The University of West Florida Pensacola, FL $6,962 $46,100 $6,360 $12,654 81% 44.19
8 Florida Gulf Coast University Fort Myers, FL $6,590 $48,000 $6,118 $14,272 80% 42.06
9 Florida International University Miami, FL $6,271 $50,200 $6,556 $16,950 89% 41.45
10 University of Miami Coral Gables, FL $33,310 $57,700 $50,226 $18,234 93% 40.88


More details on the study, including the methodology and interactive map can be found here: https://smartasset.com/student-loans/student-loan-calculator#Florida.


SmartAsset looked at five factors to determine the best value colleges and universities in the U.S.: tuition, student living costs, scholarship and grant offerings, student retention rate, and starting salary for new graduates.

Tuition (in-state where applicable), and student living costs like room and board, books, supplies, transportation, and other personal expenses, were used to capture the costs associated with attending each school.

We then compared the factors that illustrate a student’s return on investment. The student retention rate shows the percentage of students that are re-enrolling at the institution from year-to-year. The average starting salary shows potential earnings of new graduates when they enter the workforce. Additionally, scholarships and grants show the amount of financial backing colleges are endowing to their student body on a per-person basis.

We gave 25% weighting to starting salary, tuition, and living costs. We then gave 12.5% weighting to scholarships and grants, as well as retention rate, to come up with our Best Value Colleges Index. Schools were ranked in accordance with their score on the index, with the number one school receiving a score of 100 and each additional school’s index value representing how closely they compare.

Best Value Colleges study, Business, Education, Florida Colleges, Living Expenses, Scholarships, SmartAsset, Starting Salary, Student Retention Rate, students, Tuition, University of Central Florida, University of Florida


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