Colleges in Sarasota, FL: Everything You Need to Know Before Choosing Your Institution

If you’re a high school senior or you’re considering furthering your education while residing in Sarasota, FL, you might be wondering which colleges are available to you. Going to college is an exciting and often challenging experience that can shape the rest of your life. Therefore, choosing the right institution is crucial. In this article, we’ll explore some of the best colleges in Sarasota, FL, along with important factors to consider before making your final decision.

Colleges in Sarasota, FL: Everything You Need to Know Before Choosing Your Institution

Why Choose Colleges in Sarasota?

Sarasota is a beautiful city located on the southwestern coast of Florida. It’s known for its warm climate, cultural attractions such as museums and art galleries, and access to stunning beaches. The city has a population of about 57,000 people and offers plenty of amenities for residents and visitors alike.

When it comes to higher education, Sarasota has several excellent options for students who wish to study subjects ranging from business management to marine biology. There are both public and private institutions available within the city limits and nearby areas.

Public Colleges in Sarasota

Public colleges are those that receive funding from the government or state they’re located in. Typically, public institutions are less expensive than private ones since they don’t have to make up as much money through tuition fees.

1) State College of Florida-Manatee-Sarasota (SCF)

The State College of Florida-Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) was established in 1957 and is one of the top public colleges in Sarasota. The college serves over 30,000 students annually across three campuses – Bradenton Campus (Main), Lakewood Ranch Campus (East), and Venice Campus (West). SCF offers associate degrees with over 60 programs spanning various fields such as nursing, culinary arts & hospitality management technology, and business administration. Additionally, SCF provides dual enrollment options for high school students looking to earn college credits while still in high school.

2) University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM)

The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM) is a regional campus of the larger University of South Florida system. Established in 1975, the institution focuses on offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs designed to prepare graduates for success in their careers. USFSM has a diverse student body with over 2,000 students enrolled across various disciplines such as cybercrime, hospitality management, and criminology.

Private Colleges in Sarasota

Private colleges are those funded by private organizations or individuals. Typically, private institutions have smaller class sizes and can offer more personalized attention to each student.

1) Ringling College of Art and Design

Ringling College of Art and Design offers undergraduate degrees that focus solely on art and design-based subjects such as illustration, film studies, game art & design, graphic design, or computer animation. The college’s programs emphasize practical experience through internships with local businesses within Sarasota to provide students an opportunity to apply their skills in real-world settings.

2) New College of Florida

New College of Florida is a small liberal arts college located in northern Sarasota County. It was established in 1960 as a "college of ideas" with no traditional majors or departments instead uses its Interdisciplinary Studies program that allows students to create their own curriculum tailored around their interests. As one can imagine from this approach-driven curriculum, the student-faculty ratio at New College stands at just 10:1.

Factors to Consider Before Choosing Your Institution

Choosing which college you will attend shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are several factors you’ll want to consider before committing tuition fees and time towards obtaining your degree:

1) Cost of Attendance

One of the primary concerns for many students is the cost of attendance. Private colleges are typically more expensive than public ones, but they might offer more scholarships and financial aid.

2) Location

The location of your institution can be important in terms of the availability of internships, job opportunities, and accessibility to local amenities such as beaches or parks.

3) Campus Culture

Each institution has its culture unique to it – some prioritize athletics or Greek life, while others focus more on academics. Make sure to research the campus culture at each institution you’re considering.

4) Facilities and Amenities

It’s essential to look into what facilities and amenities each college provides, such as dorms or student housing options, dining halls, fitness centers or gyms, libraries, computer labs & technological resources among others.

5) Course offerings

Ensure that your chosen institution has the course offerings that align with your academic interests and career goals.


Choosing the right college in Sarasota is an important decision that should not be taken lightly. There are several excellent institutions available within the city limits and surrounding areas. Consider your academic interests, finances and other factors prior to making a final decision about where you will attend college. This decision is an important step towards achieving success both academically and professionally.


How many colleges are in Sarasota, FL?

There are four colleges in Sarasota, FL.

What are the names of the colleges in Sarasota, FL?

The colleges in Sarasota, FL are New College of Florida, Ringling College of Art and Design, State College of Florida – Manatee-Sarasota, and Keiser University – Sarasota.

Does each college have a specific area of focus?

Yes, each college has its own area of focus. New College of Florida focuses on liberal arts education; Ringling College of Art and Design focuses on art and design; State College of Florida focuses on career-oriented education; Keiser University offers various programs in different fields.

Are there any community colleges in Sarasota, FL?

Yes, State College of Florida – Manatee-Sarasota is a community college that provides affordable education for students seeking to transfer to a university or enter the workforce directly after graduation.

What majors do these colleges offer?

These colleges offer a wide range of majors such as biology, psychology, business administration, environmental studies, graphic design, film and photography, nursing and more. Students can choose from various disciplines that suit their interests and career goals.

Do these colleges offer online classes?

Yes, all four colleges provide online courses either as individual classes or full degree programs for students who prefer online learning or have scheduling conflicts with traditional classes.

Are there dormitories available for students at these colleges?

Yes, all four colleges have housing options for students including dormitories and apartments located on campus or nearby areas. Students can choose their preferred type of accommodation based on their budget and lifestyle preferences.

How much does it cost to attend college in Sarasota, FL?

The cost of attendance varies among the colleges in Sarasota, FL. Students can expect to pay around $14,000 – $42,000 per year for tuition and fees depending on the college and program they choose. Financial aid and scholarships are also available to eligible students to reduce the cost of attendance.

What is the student-to-faculty ratio at these colleges?

The student-to-faculty ratio varies among the colleges in Sarasota, FL. New College of Florida has a 10:1 ratio; Ringling College of Art and Design has a 12:1 ratio; State College of Florida has a 22:1 ratio; Keiser University has a 12:1 ratio. These ratios indicate that students will receive individualized attention from their professors and have access to personalized academic support.

How do I apply to these colleges?

Students can apply to these colleges either online or through a paper application available on the college’s website. Each college has its own application requirements, deadlines and fees, so prospective students should check each college’s website for specific information. Admissions counselors are also available to answer any questions and guide students through the application process.

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