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Florida Universities, Accredited Colleges, and Degrees

The Florida Department of Education's Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) is the entity responsible for overseeing colleges and universities in Florida. It works to make sure that students not only have access to higher education, but also to affordable education. To this end, the board manages federal and state financial aid, scholarship, and grant programs. It also provides prospective students with information on their financial options for affording a college education.

Accredited Colleges & Universities in Florida

Out of the 182 four-year universities and colleges in Florida, the University of Florida (UF) and University of Central Florida (UCF) are the largest. According to the National Center for Education Statistics UF has about 50,000 students and UCF has nearly 60,000 students enrolled. Some of the top colleges in Florida are UF and Florida State University. Since UF's founding in 1853, UF has proven it provides high-quality education to its students; this is evidenced in UF's being ranked No. 54 among the best schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Florida State University is a public university that was founded in 1851 and is ranked No. 97 in the nation.

Recently, Florida has taken several steps to improve its residents' access to an affordable college education. Two examples of this are Florida's College and Beyond higher education resource, and its participation in the Southern Regional Education Board's (SREB) Academic Common Market/Electronic Campus (ACM/EC) program. The College and Beyond resource is offered by the Florida Department of Education. It is a tool that enables students to learn about colleges, adult programs, and certificate programs in Florida as well as their financial aid options and financial award opportunities. Meanwhile, Florida is a long-term member of the SREB, which is a commission comprised of many U.S. states that work to improve higher education. With Florida's participation in the SREB ACM/EC program, Florida students have access to niche online courses not offered in their state through participating out-of-state schools at in-state tuition prices.

Accredited Community Colleges in Florida

There are 250 community and technical colleges in Florida. Of those, Miami Dade College (MDC) and Hillsborough Community College (HCC) have the largest enrollments of all community colleges in Florida; MDC has about 174,000 students currently enrolled while HCC has about 30,000. Both of these campuses have taken steps in order to make college education affordable and easily accessible to Florida residents through their online programs. Through MDC's e-Learning program students can take individual courses as well as complete their entire degree online. Similarly, through HCC's Distance Learning program students can enroll in online college courses that count towards a degree or certificate.

Another initiative affecting how accessible a Florida community college education is to students is the Florida Virtual Campus (FVC), which launched in mid-2012. Four Florida universities and colleges joined forces in the creation of the FVC, with the purpose being to compile information students need and want to know about colleges and universities in Florida. The FVC was also created to give students a single resource for enrolling in and learning about online degree, course, and certificate program options offered by postsecondary schools in Florida.

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