September 11, 2010

Florida State University

Florida State University is a flagship public research university in the State University System of Florida located in Tallahassee, Florida.  It is both a sea-grant and a space-grant university.  Sea-grant schools are part of a program, established in 1966, that involves scientific research, education, training, and extension projects geared toward the conservation and practical use of U.S. coasts, the Great Lakes and other marine areas.  Space-grant schools are engaged in research and training involving the U.S. space program (the University of Central Florida is also a space-grant university).  Nearly 40,000 students attend FSU.  Florida State has a satellite campus in Panama City, Florida.  In 2009, Florida State University was rated the fifth Best Value College of public universities in the United States by USA Today and The Princeton Review.  Florida State University was ranked 15th nationally in the February 2008 edition of Kiplinger's Best Values in Public Colleges. FSU is the second least-expensive flagship university in the United States, according to USA Today.
Florida State became the first state university in Florida when it was chartered as Florida University in 1883.  The school was previously a seminary school and operated as a military school during the Civil War.  Between 1905 and 1947, Florida State was the Florida State College For Women, serving white female students.  In 1947, under the strain exerted by the G.I. Bill, it became Florida State University, a co-educational university.  During the 1960s and 70s, FSU would gain the nickname, “the Berkeley of the South,” due to various socially progressive organizing and protest efforts by students, particularly centered around anti-Vietnam War and anti-racist and anti-sexist commitments.

Florida State University consists of 15 separate colleges and over 300 degree programs.  It is well known for its programs in such areas as the sciences, social policy, film, engineering, the arts, business, political science, social work, medicine, and law.  Florida State is home to Florida's only National Laboratory--the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.   The "Mag Lab," as its known, develops and operates high magnetic field facilities that scientists use for research in physics, biology, bioengineering, chemistry, geochemistry, biochemistry, materials science, and engineering. It is the only facility of its kind in the United States and one of only nine in the world. Eleven world records have been set at the “Mag Lab” to date.  The Magnetic Field Laboratory is a 330,000 sq. ft (30,658 square meter) complex employing 300 faculty, staff, graduate, and postdoctoral students. This facility is the largest and highest powered laboratory of its kind in the world and produces the highest continuous magnetic fields.

Florida State University’s colleges and programs can be found here:  

Many of FSU's academic programs rank among the nation's top twenty-five public universities, including programs in Business (Accounting, Real Estate, Management Information Systems, Risk Management/Insurance, Entrepreneurial Studies), Chemistry, Creative Writing, Criminology, Dance, Education, Film, Human Sciences, Hospitality, Information Technology, Law, Meteorology, Music, Oceanography, Physics, Political Science, Public Administration and Policy, Social Work, Spanish, Theatre, Urban Planning, and Visual Art.  The university maintains 19 graduate level interdisciplinary degree programs in subjects like chemistry, physics and engineering to social sciences, where students work between fields and collaborate on common tasks through different departments.   

university of South Florida

The University of South Florida is the ninth largest university in the United States in terms of enrollment, and the third largest in the state of Florida.  South Florida is a public research university that is a part of the State University System of Florida. The University of South Florida was founded in 1956 as the first public university established specifically to address the needs of Florida’s rapidly emerging urban regions. 

USF is the first campus in the nation to strike an accord with the Department ofVeterans Affairs to have specialized academic guidance services for veterans taking advantage of the Post-9/11 Veterans Education Bill.

The main campus is located in north Tampa, and there is also a separately accredited autonomous campus in St. Petersburg, Florida.  The USF College of Marine Science is also in St. Petersburg.  A pair of branch campuses is maintained in Lakeland and Sarasota as well.  Federal funding for academic research increased 213% from 2000 to 2007, making South Florida the fastest growing research university in the U.S.  The Princeton Review has ranked the university 17th in nation for diversity among students.

USF offers 228 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including a doctor of medicine, through its 11 colleges.  The university also offers several interdisciplinary programs, including liberal arts degrees with varying concentrations that encourage work in multiple departments by students.  Many liberal arts departments at South Florida are known to have a balance of different emphasis in their fields of inquiry which provide a variety of track options for students.   Recent successes have led to “dual designations for the USF System by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as a Very High Research and a Community Engaged university.”

Undergraduate majors at USF can be found here:
Graduate programs can be found here:

South Florida also runs the Contemporary Art Museum on its campus, featuring regular exhibitions of contemporary art, including a show of faculty work every three years and an annual juried student show. USF also operates Graphicstudio, an art studio and print shop which has hosted artists like Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, and Allan McCollum. Regular exhibitions of student work are featured in the William and Nancy Oliver Gallery and the student-run Centre Gallery in the Marshall Center.
The University of South Florida has created USF Health, which includes a College of Nursing, a College of Public Health, and a College of Medicine, which also includes the School of Physical Therapy.  USF Health’s presence has generated a network of highly specialized teaching hospitals, including the James Haley Veterans' Hospital, Moffitt Cancer Center, Shiners' Hospital, and specialty units at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg and Tampa General Hospital.  The USF College of Public Health is the only public health college in the state accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.

South Florida’s College of Marine Science “strives to define and realize a bright future with the emerging issues that affect the economic conditions of the Florida West Coast Shelf and we seek to address a myriad of relevant societal issues such as over-fishing, coastal erosion, red tides, ocean noise, dying coral reefs, hurricane predictions, sea level rise, floods, ocean acidification, and drought to build better, more environmentally-sustainable and safe communities.”

University of Central Florida

With over 53,000 students enrolled in fall of 2009, the University of Central Florida has the third highest enrollment of all public universities in the United States and the most enrolled of all Florida universities.  The university is located in Orlando, Florida and is one of the 11 public universities that make up the State University System of Florida.  Central Florida was founded in 1963 as the Florida Technological University (‘Florida Tech’), which served as a training school for the Kennedy Space Center.  The university would later develop into a more traditional university with multiple disciplines, and it became the University of Central Florida in 1978.  In 2009, U.S. News & World Report named Central Florida the fifth best ‘up-and-coming’ university.  The university’s campus design is a blueprint for other universities around the country, with its concentric-circled design that emphasizes pedestrian use in its center with automobile-traffic flowing on its outer-most circle.    

Central Florida is still connected to the space program by way of being a space-grant university, which means it is one of 52 universities that are a part of the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program that was began in 1988 and is managed by N.A.S.A.  (Florida State University is also a space-grant university).  Noted research areas for Central Florida include optics, modeling and simulation, digital media, engineering and computer science, business administration, education, and hospitality management.  
The University of Central Florida maintains 11 satellite campuses and offers 225 different degrees in 12 colleges.  Other than the three satellite campuses also located in Orlando with the main campus, there are campuses in Cocoa, Clermont, Daytona Beach, Heathrow, Kissimmee, Leesburg, Ocala, Palm Bay and Sanford.  The university recently became more selective for incoming freshmen due to its rapidly expanding size, with 42% of prospective students being admitted in the fall of 2009, down from 61% in 2005.

The University of Central Florida’s location in Orlando, Florida helps to define some of its emphasis and usefulness for students.  The College of Business Administration at Central Florida is the only accredited business school for undergraduates and graduates in the Orlando metropolitan area.  The College of Education at the university produces the most teachers statewide.  UCF’s College of Engineering and Computer Science specializes in providing an education that translates for careers at such Orlando-area institutions as NASA, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Siemens and Walt Disney World.  Likewise, the Rosen College of Hospitality Management of Central Florida benefits from being located in the belly of the tourism industry.  

The internationally revered College of Optics and Photonics at UCF consists of three major research institutions which include the Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL), the Florida Photonics Center of Excellence and the newly-founded Townes Laser Institute.    
 The links to Central Florida’s various colleges can be found here:
Graduate programs at the University of Central Florida can be found here:

University of Florida

Measured by the sheer number of academic programs, colleges and research centers, the University of Florida is the largest university in Florida. It is one of three flagship universities of the State University System of Florida, and, at close to 50,000 students, has the second highest enrollment of Florida universities. UF has the sixth largest student population of single campus universities in the United States. Florida is a land-grant, space-grant, and sea-grant university. The sea-grant status means funding and focus are given in scientific research, education, training, and extension projects geared toward the conservation and practical use of U.S. coasts and marine areas. Space-grant universities maintain programs geared towards aeronautics and aerospace research and facilitation. The space-grant program is administered by N.A.S.A. Land-grant universities were first established in the 1860s for the purposes of dealing with the industrial revolution through the fields of engineering, agriculture, and science.

The University of Florida is considered the most academically prestigious university for its relatively high placement on many publication lists attempting to quantify academic achievement. The University of Florida is one of the largest research universities in the nation, contributes nearly $6 billion annually to Florida's economy, and is responsible for nearly 75,000 jobs. UF is currently ranked 47th overall among national universities in the 2010 U.S. News & World Report rankings. It has the largest budget of all Florida universities and has roughly twice as much of an endowment as the Florida State University, which has the second-largest endowment of any university in Florida. Kiplinger’s magazine ranked UF second in a list of best value public universities in January of 2010, based upon costs, costs after financial aid, and average debt per student after school. In 2010, U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Florida as the 15th best public university in the United States.

While UF was technically founded in 1853, it has maintained its current name and site in Gainesville, Florida since 1903 when it became more than just an agricultural and engineering school. The G.I. Bill after World War II caused a great influx of students and eventually led to UF becoming a co-educational university (it was previously for white men) in the late 1940s. In 1958, the University of Florida began allowing black students. Shands Hospital and the UF medical school also opened in 1958.

The University of Florida is divided into 16 colleges and more than 100 research, service and education centers, bureaus and institutes, offering over 100 undergraduate majors and 200 graduate degrees. UF also offers professional degrees in law, dentistry, medicine, pharmacy, and veterinary medicine. Undergraduate programs are found here:
Graduate programs are found here:

The J. Hillis Miller Health Science Center (HSC) has facilities in Gainesville and Jacksonville. The HSC comprises the university's Colleges of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health & Health Professions and Veterinary Medicine. The Health Science Center is the only academic health center in the United States with six health-related colleges located on a single, contiguous campus. In January 2008 the University of Florida, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, and Shands at the University of Florida formed a partnership to develop world-class programs in cancer care, research and prevention.

The J. Hillis Miller Health Science Center also has a teaching hospital located at Shands Jacksonville that offers degrees in conjunction with the College of Medicine, College of Dentistry, College of Nursing, and College of Pharmacy. The University's College of Pharmacy also maintains campuses in Orlando and St. Petersburg. The College of Dentistry has campuses in South Florida and St. Petersburg.

UF’s Warrington College of Business established programs in South Florida back in 2004, and recently built a 6,100 square foot facility in Sunrise, Florida. The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences has extensions in each of the 67 counties in Florida, and 13 research and education centers with a total of 19 locations throughout Florida. In 2005, the university established the Beijing Center for International Studies that offers research facilities, offices, and degree opportunities.

University of North Florida

The University of North Florida is located in Jacksonville, Florida and is part of Florida’s State University System. Despite being located in one of Florida’s most populated areas, UNF remains modest in size, with enrollment at around 16,000 students in 2009. The university opened for classes in 1972 and has recently been named by The Princeton Review as a Best Southeastern College, as well as being tagged in 2006 and 2009 as one of the best value undergraduate institutions in the United States by the same publication. When North Florida was founded, the only other publicly-funded institution of higher learning in Jacksonville was a community college. At first, the university was a considered a ‘Senior College,’ meaning only upper division and graduate students were admitted. Starting in 1984, freshmen and sophomores were also admitted. There was a legislative effort in 1980 to merge the UNF with the University of Florida, but the bill was vetoed by then-governor Bob Graham. In 2009, the University of North Florida athletic programs were classified into NCAA Division I.

Programs the University of North Florida is known for include coastal biology, business, jazz, and nursing. There are five colleges at North Florida: Brooks College of Health, Coggin College of Business, College of Arts & Sciences, College of Computing, Engineering and Construction, and College of Education and Human Services. The School of Nursing is the most popular program in the Brooks College of Health, but also included in the College are a variety of programs and certifications relating to what the school calls “community and public health, rehabilitation counseling, nutrition, health administration, physical therapy and athletic training.”

The collection of programs in the Coggin College of Business has earned it “distinctive accreditation” and endorsement by the AACSB International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). There are two flagship programs in the College, which are singled out as giving North Florida a competitive advantage in attracting potentially strong business students: International Business and Transportation & Logistics. Other programs in the College of Business at North Florida include some usual business school suspects such as accounting, finance, management, marketing, and economics.

The College of Arts & Sciences is the largest college at the University of North Florida, boasting 15 different programs, including a newly added Center for Environmental Studies. There are also pre-Law and pre-medical programs in the college. Especially noteworthy is the College’s music department, which maintains a limited access, performance-based program which focuses on American music, including jazz.

The College of Computing, Engineering and Construction consists of a School of Engineering, which offers masters and bachelors degrees in civil, mechanical and electrical engineering, the School of Computing, and the Department of Construction Management, which along with offering a bachelors degree, works in conjunction with the College of Business in offering a M.B.A. degree with a construction track.

The College of Education & Human Services is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), Council on Education of the Deaf (CED) and the Florida Department of Education (FDOE). There are several degrees and certificates offered at bachelors, masters, and doctorate levels with varying tracks and concentrations offered at the College of Education at North Florida.

Various graduate degrees are offered in all five colleges at the University of North Florida. Most of the degrees are at a Master’s level, with some nursing and education doctorates also being available.

University of West Florida

In 1955, the Florida Legislature authorized the State Board of Education to locate a state university in Escambia County. Following a feasibility study which demonstrated the need for an institution of higher education in Northwest Florida, funds were allocated for the development of the University of West Florida. UWF became the sixth state university of the State University System of Florida, which today consists of eleven institutions of higher learning.

In addition to the 1,600 acre main campus, UWF serves students east of Santa Rosa County at UWF Emerald Coast locations in Fort Walton Beach, Eglin Air Force Base, Hurlburt Field and shared facilities at regional community colleges. And, UWF owns waterfront beach property on Santa Rosa Island that is available for recreational, academic and research pursuits. In downtown Pensacola, the university manages 24 historic properties, which are being transformed into a living laboratory for students interested in history, archaeology and tourism.

The University of West Florida is a State University located in Pensacola, FL. Its modest student population size of about 10,500 (roughly 1800 students live on campus) gives it a private school atmosphere. That atmosphere is especially enhanced by UWF’s impressive 1600 acre campus scenery of hills and woodlands that settle along the Escambia River north of Pensacola. Twice-daily tours are even given at the campus. The school mascot is an Argonaut, taken from the Greek myth of Jason and the Argonauts’ quest for the Golden Fleece. The university opened its doors in 1967 and now offers 49 different undergraduate degrees, 25 master’s degrees, a pair of specialist degrees and a doctorate in education.

Three colleges are maintained at the University of West Florida: a College of Arts and Sciences, a Professional Studies College, and a Business school. West Florida’s Business College offers undergraduate degrees in areas of economics, marketing, accounting, general business, management, and management information systems. Graduate degrees at the business school include one in business administration and another in accountancy. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the university gives students a chance to earn an Associate of Arts degree, Bachelor of Arts degree, Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, Bachelor of Science degree, Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering and Electrical Engineering, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Areas of study that students may major or minor in can be found here: Master’s degrees offered at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at West Florida can be found here: The Professional Studies College at the University of West Florida has degrees in areas of technology, health, education, social work, criminal justice and law, leadership, and administration.

The Archaeology Institute of the University of West Florida gives students the opportunity to explore local areas with a wealth of potential artifacts, including historic shipwrecks and previous settlements of European settlers. In another strong research area for the university, the Center for Environmental Diagnostics and Bioremediation is noted for its work on the state of natural resources in northwestern Florida. For more vocational and technical areas of study, West Florida contains a small business center and an economic development program that study and assist with the impact and development of economic interests for government and businesses. The university also partners with local hospitals through its recently implemented Bachelor’s of Nursing degree program, which helps in the effort to remedy the shortage of nurses in the health industry. There is also a degree program at West Florida that focuses on tourism and recreation, as well as a program that offers degrees in technology for workers trying to improve their skills.

New College of Florida

New College of Florida, located in Sarasota, Florida, is the only liberal arts school that is a part of the State University System of Florida. It is also the smallest, with enrollment between 750 and 800 students. The State of Florida's has designated New College as the "honors college for the liberal arts.” New College is a very selective school, where incoming students average a 1300 SAT score. There are students from 40 states and 25 different countries that attend New College of Florida.

Recently, the university has received a pair of top five finishes in Forbes Magazine’s list of top U.S. public universities. In 2007, New College of Florida tied for first place in the US News and World Report rankings of the twenty-two public liberal arts colleges in the United States, up from third place in 2006. The 2007 edition of The Princeton Review named New College the best value in public higher education, up from sixth place in 2006. New College was also ranked 2nd in the August 2006 edition of High Times magazine's article "Top 10 Counterculture Colleges."

The small liberal arts university began as a private school when it opened in 1960. In the 1970s, the school had accumulated a good deal of debt. To reconcile its financial problems while still remaining relatively independent, the school agreed to sale its facilities and land to the state in exchange for its debt being paid off and for it to become a separate unit within the University of South Florida. South Florida shared a Sarasota campus with New College, and New College received public funding at the per-student level of the University of South Florida. New College continued to raise private funds in order to maintain their expected level of functioning. The two schools shared a campus for 25 years while New College was called New College of the University of South Florida. In 2001, a reorganization of the state university system severed the difficult relationship between the USF and New College, turning New College of the University of South Florida into New College of Florida and making it the 11th independent university in the State University System of Florida.

Four core principles form the base of New College's academic philosophy: (1) each student is responsible in the last analysis for his or her own education, (2) the best education demands a joint search for learning by exciting teachers and able students, (3) students' progress should be based on demonstrated competence and real mastery rather than on the accumulation of credits and grades, (4) students should have, from the outset, opportunities to explore in depth, areas of interest to them. Students design individualized programs of study and areas of concentration. Because all classes are taught by faculty, students work directly with some of the country's foremost scholars and scientists. To the end of putting this philosophy into practice, New College uses a unique academic program that differs substantially from those of most other educational institutions in four key ways:

Narrative evaluations: at the completion of each course, students receive an evaluation written by the instructor critiquing their performance and course work, along with a satisfactory/unsatisfactory/incomplete designation. Letter grades and grade-point-averages are not used at New College.

Contract System: at the start of each semester, students negotiate a contract with their faculty adviser, specifying their courses of study and expectations for the semester. At the completion of the term, the academic adviser compares the student's performance with the requirements defined in the contract, and determines whether the student has "passed" the contract, or not. Among other requirements, completing seven contracts is a prerequisite to graduation.

Independent Study Projects: the month of January is reserved for independent projects at New College, when no traditional courses are held. Independent Study Projects run the gamut from short, in-depth, academic research projects to internships, lab work, and international exchanges. Students are required to complete three independent study projects prior to being graduated.

Senior Thesis: each student is required to write an original and lengthy thesis in their discipline, and to defend it before a committee of at least three faculty. Depending on the area of concentration of each student, a senior thesis may take the form of an original research paper, performing and documenting a scientific or social-scientific experiment or research study, or an original composition. This requirement is usually completed during the final two semesters of a student's fourth year.

The academic structure described above is implemented through classes and research projects in a diverse array of subjects in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Natural Sciences. With fewer than 800 students, an average class size of 18 and a student to faculty ratio of 10 to 1, the academic environment is small and intimate and known for its intellectual intensity.

Florida International University

Florida International is a public research university located in Miami, Florida. The university boasts the record level of enrollment for a first year university, enrolling over 5,000 students in 1972 during its first semester of classes. Today, there are over 40,000 students that attend FIU. Despite its size, the university is the most selective of the universities in the State University System of Florida, with a slightly lower acceptance rate than the University of Florida. The school also leads the United States in awarding bachelor’s and master’s degrees to Hispanic students.

FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission. Sponsored research funding (grants and contracts) from external sources for the year 2008-2009 totaled approximately $101 million. With more than 135,000 alumni, Golden Panthers constitute the fastest-growing university alumni group in Miami-Dade County. With nearly 8,000 students graduating annually from FIU, the university confers approximately half of all degrees now awarded by universities in Miami-Dade County.

There are more than 200 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs offered at Florida International University.

The colleges and schools at FIU are the College of Architecture and Arts, which includes the School of Music; the College of Arts and Sciences, which includes the School of Environment and Society, the School of Integrated Life Sciences, and the School of International & Public Affairs; the College of Business Administration, which includes the School of Accounting, the Chapman Graduate School of Business, and the Landon Undergraduate School of Business; the College of Education; the College of Engineering and Computing, which includes the School of Computing and Information Sciences; the Honors College; the College of Law; the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management; the School of Journalism and Mass Communication; the Robert Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, which includes the School of Social Work; the University College, which serves students in continuing education.

The U.S. News & World Report named the undergraduate and graduate international business programs at Florida International University amongst the top 25 in the nation. FIU is the youngest university to have been awarded a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most distinguished academic honor society. Florida International University’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, South Florida’s only public medical school, welcomed its inaugural class of 43 students in August, while more than 3,000 students applied for the 43 seats. Nearly half of all teachers employed in the Miami-Dade County Public School System, the nation's fourth largest public school system, have an FIU degree.

Graduates of FIU’s College of Law led the state with their pass rate on the February 2009 Florida Bar Exam. Florida International University graduates that have taken the Florida Bar Exam continually pass the exam at a higher rate than the state average. In 2009, FIU graduates passed the exam at approximately a 16% higher rate than the average pass rate in the state.

Florida International’s creative writing graduate Dennis Lehane recently had his novel Shutter Island adapted to film by director Martin Scorsese with actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Spider-Man director Sam Raimi was recently got tapped to film the big screen adaptation of Lehane’s historical novel The Given Day. Lehane also wrote the book Mystic River, which was adapted for the screen by director Clint Eastwood and won acting Oscars for Tim Robbins and Sean Penn.

Florida Gulf Coast University

Florida Gulf Coast University opened in the fall of 1997 and is the newest member of the State University System of Florida. The school is located near Fort Myers, Florida and helps to serve the growing population of southwest Florida. Originally, the plan was for the university to be more of a commuter school that specialized in online learning. However, Florida Gulf Coast University soon developed into a more traditional school that integrated web-based learning much like other colleges and universities. The university started modest, with around 2,000 undergraduates, and remains one of the smaller Florida state universities, but its student population has continued to grow at higher rates than most higher learning institutions in Florida.

Established on the verge of the 21st century, Florida Gulf Coast University infuses the strengths of the traditional public university with innovation and learning-centered spirit, its chief aim being to fulfill the academic, cultural, social, and career expectations of its constituents.

Outstanding faculty uphold challenging academic standards and balance research, scholarly activities, and service expectations with their central responsibilities of teaching and mentoring. Through these efforts, the faculty and University transform students’ lives and the southwest Florida region.

Florida Gulf Coast University continuously pursues academic excellence, practices and promotes environmental sustainability, embraces diversity, nurtures community partnerships, values public service, encourages civic responsibility, cultivates habits of lifelong learning, and keeps the advancement of knowledge and pursuit of truth as noble ideals at the heart of the university’s purpose.

Student success is at the center of all University endeavors. The University is dedicated to the highest quality education that develops the whole person for success in life and work. Learner needs, rather than institutional preferences, determine priorities for academic planning, policies, and programs. Acceleration methods and assessment of prior and current learning are used to reduce time to degree. Quality teaching is demanded, recognized, and rewarded.

Florida Gulf Coast University contains six colleges: College of Arts and Science, College of Health Professions, College of Professional Studies, College of Education, the U.A. Whitaker School of Engineering, and the Lutgert College of Business. The College of Arts and Sciences offers Bachelor’s degrees areas that include environmental science, music (at the Bower School of Music), chemistry, biology and biotechnology, chemistry, mathematics, sociology, anthropology, marine science, English, Spanish, art, theatre, history, psychology, communication, and philosophy. Along with its various undergraduate degrees offered, the college of Education offers several Master’s degrees that include focuses in curriculum, leadership, special education, and counseling.

The College of Health Professions maintains graduate and undergraduate programs in nursing, health sciences, physical therapy, and occupational therapy and community health. The Professional Studies programs at Florida Gulf Coast University also offer Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in disciplines that include Justice Studies, public affairs, hospitality management, and social work. The College of Business offers many programs that can be expected at business school, including a pair of M.B.A. degrees and degrees in economics, finance, marketing, management, and accounting. The college also maintains a half dozen institutes that offer further opportunities for careers and research. The School of Engineering at Florida Gulf Coast University offers undergraduate degrees in multiple engineering fields, including civil, environmental, and bioengineering, and a degree in computer science.

Florida Atlantic University

Some universities measure greatness in decades and centuries. Florida Atlantic University measures it with every student who earns a degree, every researcher who makes a discovery and every community that is transformed. People from every walk of life find a place at FAU. Students choose from more than 140 degree programs, faculty researchers utilize more than 40 research centers and the community engages hundreds of cultural and educational events every year.

Florida Atlantic University was the first public university of southeastern Florida and the first public university in the United States that served only upper division and graduate level students. Since opening in 1964, the university has expanded to include over 27,000 students at all college levels, including freshmen. Florida Atlantic is located in Boca Raton, FL, but contains several satellite campuses along the southeastern coastline of Florida. On the land where the main campus sits today, there existed the Army’s sole radar training facility during WWII.

Traditionally, the school has been considered more of a commuter school, but recent efforts have gained it a more conventional, centralized status with higher standards of research. The university’s football team was recently elevated to the FBS (formerly known as Division I). Nonetheless, the university prides itself on its position as a community-oriented school.

FAU maintains over 140 degree programs and over 40 research programs. There are ten colleges that populate the university: Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, College Of Architecture, Urban and Public Affairs, College of Business, College of Education, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, Charles E. Schmidt College of Biomedical Science, and the Graduate College.

The College of Architecture, Urban and Public Affairs offers various master’s and bachelor’s degrees in the fields of architecture, criminology, public administration, social work, and urban and regional planning. The Arts and Letters College at FAU is the university’s liberal arts college. Various social and cultural sciences, history, arts and humanities, etc. type programs exist in the college. It recently announced the opening of fundraising for a New Middle East Institute, which will be ran in partnership with the Florida Society for Middle East Studies.

The College of Science at FAU boasts its credentials in areas ranging from biotechnology, bioinformatics and brain science to cryptology, developmental systems, dynamical systems, environmental sciences, geo-information science, marine science and space-time physics. The College of Business at Florida Atlantic offers programs in management, finance, economics, information technology, accounting, and marketing, as well as a graduate program with various emphases. The College of Education is another popular school at Florida Atlantic University. One-third of its students are over thirty years-old, meaning the school is able to serve many educators looking to further their pedigree or those out of field wanting to make a career change.

Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science is equipped with a program on Ocean and Mechanical Engineering. Other programs in the Engineering College include Civil, Environmental and Geometrics' Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, and Electrical Engineering. The College of Biomedical Science works with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and other local hospitals in producing both physicians and medical researchers alike. Graduate programs at FAU can be found here:

Florida A & M

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) is an 1890 land-grant institution dedicated to the advancement of knowledge, resolution of complex issues and the empowerment of citizens and communities. The University provides a student-centered environment consistent with its core values. The faculty is committed to educating students at the undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional levels, preparing graduates to apply their knowledge, critical thinking skills and creativity in their service to society.

Florida A&M University (FAMU) is the only historically black university in the State University System of Florida. The university is located in Tallahassee and maintains several satellite campuses, including ones that offer the school’s pharmacy program in Tampa, Miami and Jacksonville, as well as an Orlando campus that contains FAMU’s law school.

Founded in 1887, the university enrolls nearly 12,000 students and offers 62 bachelor’s degrees, 39 master’s degrees, 11 doctoral programs, and a pair of professional degree programs. The colleges and schools found at the university include College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education, College of Engineering Sciences, Technology, and Agriculture, College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, School of Allied Health Sciences, School of Architecture, School of Industry and Business, School of General Studies, School of Nursing, School of Journalism and Graphic Communication, College of Law, Environmental Sciences Institute, and the School of Graduate Studies and Research. Graduate and Undergraduate degree programs are listed here:

Top undergraduate programs are architecture; journalism; computer information sciences and psychology. FAMU’s top graduate programs include pharmaceutical sciences along with public health; physical therapy; engineering; physics; master's of applied social sciences (especially history and public administration); business and sociology. The pharmacy, business, journalism, and physics degree programs at Florida A&M University are often recognized for their achievements and student outputs.

FAMU was listed in BusinessWeek as one of the country’s “Most Innovative Colleges” in the area of technology transfer. Technology transfer involves moving a novel development from one organization or environment into another. Often this movement is from a federal or university laboratory into a commercial operation, capitalizing on the investment in research and development that was initially intended for use by the government or for the advancement of science. The FAMU faculty was ranked second in the nation by the National Science Foundation in the production of research publications in global science issues, outranking larger universities that have greater resources. In 1997, FAMU was selected as the Time Magazine Princeton Review “College of the Year,” while in 2008, Diverse Issues in Higher Education cited the university as the #1 producer of African-Americans baccalaureate degree holders.

The FAMU Marching "100," under the direction of Dr. William P. Foster, was invited by the French government to participate in the Bastille Day Parade as the official representation from the United States. This event was held in celebration of the bicentennial of the French Revolution. The Marching "100" was named the "Best Marching Band in the Nation" by Sports Illustrated (August 1992). The band received national recognition in January 1993 when it performed in the 52nd Presidential Inauguration Parade by invitation of President Bill Clinton. The band has also performed in the Super Bowl and in the 56th Presidential Inauguration Parade.

Saving Money on College Textbooks

If you have a college student in your family then I don't have to tell you the high cost of textbooks. Buying your books directly from the college bookstore can cost you a fortune.  Although school bookstores often offer used textbooks as an option, the don't always have them in stock. As a mother of three college students I found the best deal was to search online for the best deal on my children's college textbooks.

Check your course information and get the ISBN number of the required book. If only have the title it can be risky selecting the book online since there are always numerous editions and slight variations of what appears to be the same book. ISBN is the International Standard Book Number, a 10-digit number that uniquely identifies books and book-like products published anywhere in the world. Pick up any book on your bookshelf and you'll find that it has an ISBN. Older books may have a 13 digit ISBN number and this will work to search for your book as well. 

Once you have the ISBN number search online for the best deal on the book. Amazon,, and Ecampus are all good  website options. If you have two weeks or more before you need to purchase the books you can choose individual sellers from Amazon or eBay and get a better price. You may need to buy from someone who is far away and you will need to make sure you you account for shipping time. Bigwords is a good website for searching for book deals because it lets you compare prices from numerous stores.

After the college course you will probably want to resell the books and recoup some of your money. Again one option is to try and resell the books back to the college bookstore. Unfortunately I found that the schools are continually changing the book requirements for a course and they may not be interested in buying back the book that they just sold to you for over a $100 just weeks earlier!
For whatever reason the bookstores I use to buy my books are not always the stores that offer the best deal on buybacks. For the most part I resell the college textbooks two different ways.
My number one choice for selling a used textbook is Bookbyte.  You need a certain amount of trust in selling back your books online and Bookbyte has earned my trust time and time again. I had a really bad experience with Ecampus, where they took over two months before they sent me the check and that just doesn't work for me. To resell a book at Bookbyte follow these simple steps:

  • Go to Bookbyte and open an account. The account isn't strictly necessary but it allows you to check on the status of your orders.

  • Just click on the "Sell Textbooks", then add the ISBN numbers in the area specified. They have two options- a single ISBN or multiple ISBNS.

  • After you add the ISBN numbers they will show the title of the book and what they are paying for it. If you choose to sell the books back to them they have a postage label for you to print out and attach to the shipping box. I like this feature because it means you don't have any out of pocket expense.

  • Bookbyte offers a choice of them sending the check to you or paying you through your PayPal account. I always use the PayPal account, it's faster and I don't have to go to the bank. It usually takes 2-3 weeks from the time I send the books until I receive payment. One thing that can slow down the transaction is trying to sell the book as new if it is used, so be honest about the book condition.
You may want to sell the book back directly on Amazon. You can set up an Amazon account for free and then choose the price and shipping options. The only tricky part with selling on Amazon is you need to keep a close eye on the account so that you can ship out the books as soon as someone places an order.   

Online College Degrees

Obtaining a college degree  may be easier to obtain with the addition of degrees that are available online.  Online degrees enable students to work on their courses from home and fit the workload into their already busy schedule. People with full time jobs, mothers with small children, people not physically close to a college, or people with other special needs now have the opportunity improve their education from home!

One important ingredient of online classes is having a good computer and a fast and reliable connection to the internet. If you don't have a quality internet connection you may still be able to take online courses, but you will want to find someplace that does to take your exams. Most exams are timed and if you get disconnected it may not allow you to sign back on, so unless you have nerves of steel you will want to eliminate the stress of worrying about getting booted offline. Having basic computer skills is a must too, since you may be required to make posts, email items to the instructor, and browse through the class agenda and requirements. Some online courses may also require a VCR or television access.

Another key to online course success is discipline. The computer does not nag or remind you to do your homework or sign in for tests, so you will need to be organized and self motivated to be successful online. Do not make the mistake of believing an online course is going to be easier than a traditional course! In some courses class participation is extremely helpful and these courses can be the most difficult to take online. I think math classes are a prime example.  Reading a math book by yourself will often leave students dazed and confused without the instructor going over the problems step by step on the blackboard.  That makes your communication to the instructor a vital part of online success. As soon as you have any problems with the class work, email the instructor or a T.A. and go over your concerns. If the classes is from a nearby college or university, then make an appointment with the instructor to get back on track.

Some of the changes you may notice between online and traditional classes include class requirements. Class participation is often a large part of a traditional class and online courses will almost always require weekly posts on a course bulletin board. The amount of words posted, the posting schedule and subject will vary from class to class depending on the teacher and course. Often times you will be required to post an original thought about the lesson plan and also respond to someone else's post. Less verbal communication translates into more written words so if you hate writing, than you may struggle more with an online course.

There are several options for obtaining an online degree. The first option is for students already enrolled in a traditional degree. If you are actually attending classes at a University or Community College, you may want to include some online classes to your schedule. Online courses have several advantages. You may want to add some online classes so that you can balance your schedule without having to physically attend the course. You may be free  for a class on a Thursday night but no traditional classes are offered then; an online class can work out perfect for this situation.

You can also sign up for a full online degree at a traditional school. Schools like Florida State offer a complete online degree in a variety of majors. Rest assured that there is absolutely no distinction between on-campus and distance learning degrees from a reputable University and your transcript will reflect this! For example, a person who earns a master’s degree in Social Work will show only “Master’s in Social Work” on their transcript, just as the person enrolled in the same program entirely on-campus.

The third option is to obtain your degree from a University or College that specializes in online degrees. The important thing to consider here is making sure that it is a reputable University and that your degree is not just a piece of paper that you buy off the internet. Make sure the course requirements for your degree match traditional requirements.  Anyone who promises a four year degree in six months can not be taken seriously! Core college requirements, Gordon rule classes, math, science and other requirements should all still be required in an online degree.

New Financial Aid Laws

New Developments in Student Loans:
Borrowers of Federal student loans can potentially benefit from two recent bills passed by the U.S. Congress.
  One of those bills is the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009 (SAFRA).  More details can be found here: 

SAFRA increases the maximum Pell Grant amounts, particularly starting in 2011 when maximum Pell Grant will increase by 1% in addition to the inflation index (increases in 2009 and 2010 are also set in the bill).
  The 2009 act also simplifies FAFSA by eliminating questions such as those inquiring into untaxed income and college savings.  Perhaps most significantly, SAFRA establishes all future Federal loans as direct loans. 

Previously, the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) subsidized private banks and lenders to provide competitively rated loans to students.  These loans were still guaranteed by the federal government.  Now all loans will be in the Federal Direct Loan Program, which means that the government will directly issue the loans, effectively removing the private lender as middle-man.  The savings make it possible to pay for the increase in Pell Grant maximums and other initiatives in the bill.

Some of those other provisions in SAFRA include increased funding to community colleges and historically black colleges, as well as support for early-learning programs (ages 0-5), modernization of public schools, and programs to help with school completion and access.
  Subsidized Stafford Loans are also given a 2015 elimination date in SAFRA, and the Federal Perkins Loan Program is heavily reformed as well.  

A portion of the funds freed up by SAFRA that are going towards increased college access are steered towards a program that was part of the College Cost and Reduction Act of 2007 (CCRA). The CCRA is the other recent loan reform bill that will potentially help borrowers in receiving and paying back loans.  Along with helping with Pell Grant access for needy students, CCRA is most important for its provisions on loan repayments.  More details can be found here: and here:

CCRA introduces an Income-Based Repayment plan (IBR), now effective, that helps student-borrowers (not available for parent loans or private and state loans) get a more feasible monthly repayment amount.
  Under the IBR program, a borrower’s monthly repayment amount will not exceed more than 15% of her discretionary income.  Discretionary income is calculated by taking one’s adjusted gross income (AGI) and subtracting 150% of the poverty level for the borrower’s family size.  Before, students on a 10-year repayment plan were often strapped with having to annually pay 10% of their total loan amount, regardless of income.  Each state’s poverty level is different, but to get a rough idea, a family of two with an AGI of $30,000 will have their monthly loan repayment amount capped at around $102.  You can generate your own monthly repayment chart on the IBR plan, based on family size and AGI, here: And this will help you compare a repayment plan under CCRA with a traditional repayment schedule:  

The other noteworthy part of CCRA is a loan forgiveness program for those working in public service jobs.
  If a borrower makes 120 qualifying loan payments on a Federal Direct loan (including consolidation loans) while working full-time for 10 years in public service employment, the unpaid balance on the loan is forgiven by the federal government.  A public service job is defined as a full-time job in emergency management, government, military service, public safety, law enforcement, public health, public education, social work, public interest law services, child care, public library sciences, or any other job at an organization that is described in section 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.  Additionally, there are provisions in CCRA for receiving TEACH Grant aid that is conditioned upon certain teaching requirements and school achievements. Those suffering short-term financial hardship may to visit here in order to see if they qualify for deferments:

Understanding FAFSA

Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education, ensures that all eligible individuals can benefit from federally funded or federally guaranteed financial assistance for education beyond high school.
Federal Student Aid plays a central and essential role in supporting postsecondary education by providing money for college to eligible students and families. By partnering with postsecondary schools, financial institutions and others Federal Student Aid works to deliver services that help students and families who are paying for college.
To receive federal student aid, you must meet certain requirements. You must:
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen.
  • Have a valid Social Security Number (unless you’re from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, or the Republic of Palau).
  • Be registered with Selective Service if you are male and 18 to 25 years of age (go to for more information).
  • Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) Certificate or pass an exam approved by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student working toward a degree or certificate in an eligible program at a school that participates in the federal student aid programs.
  • Not have a drug conviction for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid (such as grants, loans, or work-study).
Federal student aid is financial assistance that’s available through the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid.
Federal student aid covers school expenses such as tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and transportation. This aid can also help you pay for a computer and dependent childcare expenses.
There are three categories of federal student aid: grants, work-study and loans.
You also might be able to get financial aid from your state government, your school, or a private scholarship. Explore every opportunity for financial aid!

Your eligibility for aid depends on your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), your year in school, your enrollment status, and the cost of attendance at the school you will be attending. Your school’s financial aid office will tell you how much you can receive.

Once you have applied for federal student aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), The Federal Student Aid program will  determine if you qualify for federal grants, loans, or work-study.

Grant Programs Fact Sheet: Federal grants are available for students attending colleges, including career colleges and universities. Grants, unlike loans, do not have to be repaid.

Loan Programs Fact Sheet: Federal student loans allow students and their parents to borrow money to help pay for college. They have low interest rates and offer flexible repayment terms, benefits, and options.

If you have not yet completed your FAFSA, go to FAFSA Filing Options.
For detailed information on all federal student aid programs, visit the Funding Your Education section on this Web site or call 1-800-4-FED-AID.