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Tampa Bay is home to nearly 80 colleges, universities and technical schools, training the students of today to meet the job demands of tomorrow. An average of 75% of graduates end up staying in Florida – a majority within the Tampa MSA. This has helped the state of Florida rank #1 for higher education three years running by U.S. News and World Report.

More than 175,000 students attend one of the numerous, distinguished educational institutions in the Tampa Bay area. That figure swells to over 340,000 when including the larger Central Florida region with Florida Polytechnic University, University of Central Florida and University of Florida.

University of South Florida is the fastest-rising university in America, according to U.S. News and World Report’s (U.S. News) 2021 Best Colleges rankings. . More than 50,800 students were enrolled at USF’s three regional campuses in the 2019-2020 school year representing more than 145 different countries. The university offers more than 80 undergraduate majors and 150 degree programs at the graduate, specialist, and doctorate levels in fields ranging from cybersecurity to marketing and international business to medicine. 

The University of Tampa, a private, four-year institution that has earned a spot on Forbes’ list of America’s Best Colleges, has 200 academic programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. As of the fall 2020 semester, the UT campus had over 9,600 students enrolled, representing all 50 states and 130 countries. Areas of study include international business, finance, communication and nursing.

St. Leo University offers more than 50 undergraduate degrees, programs and endorsements as well as master’s, doctoral and certificate programs  to nearly 18,200 students across its Central Florida main campus. St. Leo has been ranked one of the Top Universities in the South for multiple years by U.S. News and World Report. St. Leo is a top 10 provider of higher education to the military, and its Tampa Education Center serves as a support center for online students throughout the world.

Hillsborough Community College is one of the nation’s leading two-year institutions developing programs to most immediately respond to local workforce gaps. HCC operates five campuses near major employment centers throughout the county serving over 47,000 students each year. Associate degree tracks and programs offered there include architecture, business administration, computer information systems, and health sciences.

#1 Best State for Higher Education


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