These Are The 10 Best Small Colleges In Florida

by Chris Kolmar
Rankings - 3 years ago

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You know there are a ton of great reasons to go to a small college — the opportunity to work with a smaller number of people, a chance to get a great education while remaining close to home, and of course, cost. After all, who wants to rack up huge student loans to get a degree that’s just about as valuable as one from a large institution?

But what small college in Florida is the best of all?

We at Zippia decided to take a look at the data on the 26 institutions of higher learning in the Sunshine State to determine which programs offer the best all around experience for students. After analyzing the numbers, we sorted the schools by enrollment, limiting our report to institutions with under 2,000 students.

After the dust settled, we’re left with this set of the top small colleges or universities in Florida:

  1. Florida College
  2. Carlos Albizu University-Miami
  3. Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale
  4. Trinity Baptist College
  5. The Baptist College of Florida
  6. Flagler College-St Augustine
  7. Clearwater Christian College
  8. Remington College-Tampa Campus
  9. Hodges University
  10. Eckerd College

If you go to one of these schools, chances are, you’re not surprised. After all, you know how great you have it.

But for the rest of you — keep reading and we’ll get to just why these schools have some of the best experiences Florida has to offer.

For more FL reading, check out:

How We Determined The Best Small Colleges In Florida

At its core, economics is the study of choices made under constraints. When it came to identifying the best small schools we wanted to approach the ranking like an economics major would — that is, by looking at data on how individual schools performed and comparing them to one another.

What better way to optimize your choice?

So with that mind, we looked at the following data from the NCES (National Center For Education Statistics) and College Scorecard data from to understand what small schools offer the best career opportunities:

  • Career Results
    • Mean Earnings After 6 Years
    • Mean Earnings After 10 Years
    • Ratio of people working to not working after 10 years
  • School Performance
    • Admissions Rate (More selective the better)
    • Graduation Rate
    • Average Cost Of Attendance (Lower is better)
    • Average amount of debt

It’s hard to argue with a selective school that produces strong earning potential for your career.

After we had this data, we looked at the 26 institutions of higher learning in Florida which had populations under 2,000 students. We then ranked each of these schools from 1 to 26 for each of the criteria above with 1 being the best in any given criteria.

Next, we averaged the ranks for each school to create a “Quality Index”. The school with the best score on the “Quality Index”, Florida College, earned the distinction of being the ‘Best Small College’ in Florida.

Any ties went to the larger school.

1. Florida College

Florida College, Florida
Enrollment: 537

This small institution in Temple Terrace, FL is the best small college in the state, when you look at the unbiased data.

Florida College graduates earn the 17th highest salaries in the state for all small colleges — even a decade after graduation. The cost is the 9th lowest, meaning you get a big bang for your buck.

2. Carlos Albizu University-Miami

Carlos Albizu University-Miami, Florida
Enrollment: 103

Located in Miami, Carlos Albizu University-Miami is one of many private colleges to make this list. What makes it so great here?

For starters, is the 14th lowest cost small college in the state. The admission rate is very low, and its graduation rate is the 8th highest in the state of all small colleges we measured.

3. Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale

Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale, Florida
Enrollment: 536

Most people in the state know Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale as being a top-notch program. But this small, private college in Fort Lauderdale isn’t just a great place for current students, but former students too.

Keiser University-Ft Lauderdale’s graduation rate of 54% is the 5th highest in Florida, which is certainly something to brag about. So is an admission rate of 48%, also one of the best in the state.

4. Trinity Baptist College

Trinity Baptist College, Florida
Enrollment: 362

Trinity Baptist College in Jacksonville gets high marks for a low admission rate and a high graduation rate. Additionally, for those lucky enough to get in, this is the 2nd lowest cost place to learn in the state.

5. The Baptist College Of Florida

The Baptist College Of Florida, Florida
Enrollment: 549

If you want up-close personal attention at a private institution, then it’d be hard to beat The Baptist College of Florida, located in Graceville.

Besides high marks in several categories, what really stands out is the annual salaries that its graduates command.

6. Flagler College-St Augustine

Flagler College-St Augustine, Florida
Enrollment: 1,830

This private college in Saint Augustine gets high marks for cost (it’s the 12th lowest least expensive small college in FL), and for post-graduation earnings, where former students command the 11th highest incomes in the state.

7. Clearwater Christian College

Clearwater Christian College, Florida
Enrollment: 649

Only 61% of the young minds who apply to Clearwater Christian College are accepted, which is a sign of greatness. After all, when you turn so many students away, that means there’s high demand. In addition, graduates earn the 19th highest salaries.

Clearwater Christian College also has the 9th highest graduation rate of all small colleges in Florida.

This private school is located in Clearwater.

8. Remington College-Tampa Campus

Remington College-Tampa Campus, Florida
Enrollment: 1,244

Not only is Remington College-Tampa Campus in one of the prettiest parts of Florida, its students get the benefit of several leading categories. For instance, if you’re lucky enough to be accepted here, you’ll have the 3rd lowest debt of all small college graduates in the state.

And the whole reason you go to college is to earn the big bucks, right? Remington College-Tampa Campus grads command the 25th highest salaries in the state.

9. Hodges University

Hodges University, Florida
Enrollment: 421

It’s hard to do better than little Hodges University, located in Naples. Students will appreciate the high graduation rate, lower-than-average costs and high salaries that graduates earn.

10. Eckerd College

Eckerd College, Florida
Enrollment: 1,572

Eckerd College is one of the private schools to make this list. Only 72% students are admitted, but this is the 24th least expensive small college at which to learn in the state.

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