For more than 50 years building a brighter Florida

An Independent Education

The Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF) association includes 30 non-profit institutions which, like Florida’s public universities, are Florida-based, SACS accredited, and offer secular degrees.

As non-profit institutions, ICUF schools by county with links do not receive operational subsidies from the state of Florida as do public universities.  Instead, they operate with tuition revenues and institutional funds.  This allows flexibility and individuality to flourish as they educate diverse student populations and collaborate to accommodate their community needs.

ICUF history, size, location and focus provide unique experiences and beneficial educational opportunities.

  • ICUF institutions offer undergraduate, graduate, first-time professional and continuing education programs dispersed through out the state.
  • ICUF enrolls over 156,000 students, which is 1/3 of the students who attend four-year colleges and universities in Florida.
  • Campus annual enrollments range from 530 – 21,000 students and are diverse in their students, communities and missions.
  • ICUF has 140 main and satellite campuses, and hundreds of on-line degree programs.
  • ICUF institutions have an annual economic impact of more than $6 billion, making them a powerful education and economic tool in Florida.
  • ICUF institutions offer Access, Affordability, Accountability, and are Adaptable and Acclaimed.


Independent colleges and universities are available across the state.  While many educational institutions are turning away qualified students via enrollment caps, independent colleges have an exceptional record of openness to all students, including minority, urban, rural and physically challenged students.

  • Half of the total ICUF students are minorities.
  • Fourteen universities have a majority of minority students.
  • Three of the colleges are designated as Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Bethune – Cookman University, Edward Waters College and Florida Memorial University.
  • The urban and rural locations of ICUF branch sites provide nearby educational opportunities for students who might have financial or physical problems leaving their home.
  • Online programs ensure accessibility for students throughout the state.
  • Several colleges have outreach and community service programs to recruit students with disabilities and disadvantages.
  • ICUF’s colleges and universities have an articulation agreement,  unique among the states that guarantees access for Florida State College graduates.


ICUF students use federal Pell Grants and guaranteed loans, state Bright Futures Scholarships and the Florida Residents Access Grant, and a variety of institutional scholarships and loan programs to afford their education.

  • Nearly 95% of full-time undergraduate students at ICUF institutions receive financial aid.
  • All full-time Florida residents attending ICUF institutions are eligible for EASE, a tuition assistance program at eligible non-public colleges and universities.
  • Over the years, the EASE commitment by the Legislature has aided the ICUF institutions to focus on recruiting and assisting Florida students.


ICUF institutions are accountable to students and the public.

  • Independent colleges and universities keep students on-track to graduate and produce an annual accountability report that measures educational performance in several important ways, including entrance requirements, loan data, retention rates, graduation rates, and employment and earnings.
  • These educational institutions also fully participate in the FETPIP system, which tracks the employment outcomes and earnings of their graduates.


ICUF institutions are independent, which enables them to adapt quickly to Florida’s educational and employment needs.  Unburdened by government bureaucracy, they can make decisions and implement them quickly.

 ICUF institutions:

  • Participate with the workforce development system, helping underemployed and unemployed workers re-enter the workforce in better paying jobs.
  • Work with businesses to meet their high-skill workplace needs and to retrain their incumbent workers. ICUF schools are expanding their efforts to meet employers’ demands for workers with science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) degrees.
  • Award 25% of Florida STEM degrees.
  • Have many research institutions that excel in aeronautical, computer, engineering, marine and medical research.
  • Have 6 Pre-Engineering and engineering programs.
  • Have 10 nursing programs, as well as on-line nursing training programs.


ICUF institutions are acclaimed educational centers, which provide ICUF students many excellent and unique options not often found at public institutions.  

  • A student can select high-skill training at a leading research institution, top-notch athletic programs at NCAA Division 1 and 2 championship schools, or choose their campus life to be within a historic setting.
  • These institutions offer world-class degrees in engineering; computer science; law, medicine, aerospace; medical and health sciences; gerontology; nursing; tourism and hospitality management; sports management; music, fine arts, graphic and interactive communication; computer imaging; computer animation; digital arts; marine science; architecture; optometry; pharmacy; aeronautics; and airport management.

Many ICUF graduates have continued their careers to become Nobel Prize winners, noted human rights activists, religious leaders, entertainers, writers, athletes, Florida legislators, engineers, nurses, teachers, doctors, entrepreneurs, scientists, therapists and leaders.

Some of the specialties of ICUF institutions include:

  1. the nation’s only college-based marine search and rescue operation.
  2. one of  the nation’s top undergraduate engineering schools and  is the nations largest educator of aerospace engineers.
  3. a world class research center that encourages interdisciplinary collaboration.
  4. a wide variety of degree programs, including the MD, MD/PhD, MD/MPH, MD/MBA, MD/MS (Genomic Medicine), and MD/JD Programs.
  5. a campus offering Agricultural Studies.
  6. a campus with “cutting-edge education” in the graphic arts/video and website design.
  7. a campus design by Frank Lloyd Wright.