Every year, thousands of students enroll into Florida community colleges for their relatively lower cost and easy acceptance.
Community college tuition in the 28 public colleges in the Florida college system costs between $3,000 to $3,500 per year. This is specifically for in-state students, whereas out-of-state students pay more than 3 times the yearly tuition.
Despite the low tuition in Florida, the percentage of community college students who complete their associate in arts degree is as high as 40%. This is considerably higher than the nationwide average of associate degree completion of about 10%.
Tuition in Florida Community Colleges
Breakdown of Per-credit Tuition
There is a resident per-credit hour fee which includes the tuition fee, a smaller student activities fee and more, approximately adding up to about $116/credit as follows:
Tuition fee: $80
Financial Aid fee: $4
Student Activities fee: $8
Technology Fee: $4
Library fee: $2
Parking Fee: $4
Capital Improvement Fee: $10
Total fee per credit: $112
The tuition rate in some colleges carries an extra charge of another double or the same as the regular per-credit fee if the course or assessment is attempted for the third time.
Non-residents or out-of-state students pay an additional $275 to $300 per credit.
Miscellaneous College Expenses
There are several other miscellaneous college expenses as follows:
- Application fee: $50
- Testing fee: $50/test
- Laboratory fee: Varies by course ($100 to $1000+)
- Transcript fee: $5/transcript
- Access fee: $1/credit
- Late registration fee: $50/semester
- Returned check fee: Minimum of $25
- Graduation fee: $20
Books and supplies
This is one more important resource that students need to spend on. The cost of textbooks can be greatly reduced by renting textbooks from the college library.
If you choose a community college closer to you, then you can simply stay with your family and need not spend additionally on accommodation.
Or if you choose a community college in another city, there will be the additional expenses for room & board, and food costs. A dorm is usually an easier option, or if you choose to stay outside college, there will also be additional costs for electricity, internet provider, transportation expenses and so on.
Living expenses can add up to another $10,000 per year.
Federal and State Scholarships
US citizens and residents can apply for federal and state financial aid. Students often are awarded financial aid based on financial need, academic merit and other special interests.
Is Community College in Florida free?
There are several possibilities for free college in Florida. In addition to federal scholarships, the Florida Sunshine scholarship covers any remaining fees that are not covered by any other financial aid. This is specifically for families with income below $50,000 per year.
In return for the Sunshine scholarship, upon graduation, students are required work in the Florida state for the same period as the time they received the scholarship.
For other higher income families, there is also merit based scholarship called the Bright Futures scholarship which pays 75% to 100% tuition for students who had a 3.0 to 3.5 high school GPA, 1170 to 1290 SAT score and 75 to 100 hours of community service.
There are also a few other Florida scholarships for students who may not be eligible for these scholarships. All of these can certainly make it possible to attend community college for free in the state.
Florida College System
The Florida College System consists of 28 community and state colleges.
How long do you have to live in Florida to get free college?
To qualify for free tuition scholarships as a resident of Florida, students have to live in the state for a continuous period of 12 months prior to enrolling into college.
Even students who are not eligible for the need-based or merit-based scholarships can still avail the very low in-state tuition at the Florida community colleges.
How can I avoid paying out-of-state tuition?
Here are some ways to pay something closer to an in-state tuition if you are an out-of-state student:
1) Many nearby southern states are part of an Academic Common Market that allows residents of several southern states such as Texas, Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas or Delaware or so to study in Florida while paying the in-state college tuition.
2) If either of your parents is in the Military, as their child you can qualify for in-state tuition in most US states.
3) If you are planning on attending a college which your parent attended, there are several scholarships for children of the college alumni. This is something you need to contact the college directly about along with producing documentation that proves your parent complete their undergrad at the college.
4) Apply for as many scholarships as possible so that any out-of-state tuition increases can be easily covered by the scholarship itself.
5) The one other option is for you to manage your own financial upkeep for an year in Florida, so you can qualify as a resident of Florida as an independent student. This option will not be possible if you rely on your parents during these 12 months for your living expenses and if your parents add you as their dependent when filing their yearly taxes.
Even studying in a Florida state college for an year will not qualify you for in-state tuition in the subsequent year. So its best if you are able to directly qualify for in-state tuition upon initial enrollment or if you’re able to get a scholarship to cover these additional tuition costs for out-of-state tuition.
Do community colleges accept everyone?
Public community colleges have an open admissions policy and do not restrict admission to anyone as long as the student meets the basic eligibility requirements such as high school graduation.
What is the cheapest university in Florida?
Daytona state college and Pensacola State college are among the cheaper colleges in Florida state charging about $79 per credit hour for an associate degree program. With the additional student services and related charges, for every credit hour students pay about $104.