Palm Beach County, FL Schools and Colleges

There are around 10 non-profit colleges and universities within Palm Beach County, Florida. See how four of these schools stack up against each other to find the school for you.

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School Ranking Overview

While there are many postsecondary schools and career training institutes in Palm Beach County, Florida, there are only a few that are not-for-profit. Most of these nonprofit institutions are 4-year colleges or universities. Out of the four schools discussed in this article, the top three were ranked according to each of the following factors:

  • Program Variety
  • Net Price
  • Graduation Rate
  • Student-to-Faculty Ratio

Program Variety

Having a number of choices from which to select a major can be an important consideration for many college students. Below are the top three schools that offer the highest number of learning options among the four schools profiled in this article.

1. Palm Beach State College

This public school based in Lake Worth offers approximately 110 fields of study. There are numerous diploma, associate's degree, professional certificate and apprenticeship programs available. The school also offers a few bachelor's degree programs, including those in nursing, information management and supervision and management. Other fields of study at Palm Beach State College include the following:

  • Aeronautical Science
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Environmental Technology
  • Fire Science
  • Graphic Design
  • Insurance
  • Massage Therapy
  • Patient Care Assisting
  • Teacher Education

2. Florida Atlantic University

In 2007, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching named this Boca Raton institution as an exceptional public research university. The school offers more than 100 learning options, and students can pursue bachelor's, master's or doctoral degrees. Dual degree programs as well as undergraduate and graduate certificate options are also offered.

Some undergraduate degree programs available include the following:

  • Architecture
  • Health Administration
  • Hospitality Management
  • Jewish Studies
  • Neuroscience and Behavior
  • Social Work
  • Urban and Regional Planning

Graduate degree programs are offered in the following areas, among others:

  • Biomedical Science
  • Business Administration
  • Comparative Studies
  • Economics
  • Geosciences
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Women's Studies

3. Palm Beach Atlantic University

This Christian university, located in West Palm Beach, offers more than 65 fields of study. Most programs are offered at the bachelor's degree level, though the school offers an associate degree in pre-engineering, as well as master's degrees in divinity, business administration, leadership and counseling. The school also offers Doctor of Nursing Practice and Doctor of Pharmacy programs. Other areas of study include:

  • Athletic Training
  • Biblical and Theological Studies
  • Exercise Science
  • Forensic Science
  • Journalism
  • Medicinal and Biological Chemistry
  • Marketing
  • Music
  • Pre-Law
  • Public Relations

Net Price

Another significant component when deciding on a college is cost of attendance. The net price takes into consideration average undergraduate expenses minus the average amount of financial aid students receive. The data used below was compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and accounts for the 2012-2013 academic year.

1. Palm Beach State College

By far, this was the most affordable college out of all four institutions. In 2012-2013, the average out-of-pocket expense for undergrads was $2,647.

2. Florida Atlantic University

The cost to attend this private not-for-profit university was considerably higher. Undergraduate students spent an average of $13,614.

3. Palm Beach Atlantic University

While this private school was quite a bit more expensive than the first two, it still managed to beat out Lynn University. Students working toward their major at this school were responsible for an average annual cost of $22,793, compared to Lynn University's net price of $35,458.

Graduation Rate

The NCES also gathers school-specific data regarding the percentage of full-time undergraduate students who complete their degree on time. For bachelor's degree seekers, this is considered six years from the start date. Read on for school rankings in this category.

1. Palm Beach Atlantic University

Out of all bachelor's degree-seeking students who first began studying full time here in 2007, 47% graduated within six years' time. Additionally, out of the same classification of students, for those who began in 2012, 73% returned in 2013 for a second year of study.

2. Florida Atlantic University

At this school, 41% of all first-time majors who started full time in 2007 finished within what is considered a normal time frame. While FAU tied with Lynn University in graduation rate percentages, this school took second place because of its larger student population, specifically 30,759 in 2013.

3. Lynn University

As previously noted, this private nonprofit university in Boca Raton also had a 41% graduation rate, though a much smaller student population of just around 2,300 in 2013. Of all first-time bachelor's degree seekers who began their studies in 2012, 69% returned the following year.

Student-to-Faculty Ratio

College applicants might also want to think about the average number of students for each faculty member. The information used for the rankings below was also taken from the NCES and accounts for 2013.

1. Palm Beach Atlantic University

Students at this school benefited from a low student-to-faculty ratio. On average, there was one faculty member for every 13 students. In addition, the student population was relatively small, with fewer than 3,800 students attending.

2. Lynn University

Not far behind was this private university, which had the smallest student population of all four schools profiled. There was an average of one faculty member for every 17 students.

3. Florida Atlantic University

On average, there were 24 students for every faculty member here in 2013. This was out of approximately 30,750 students.

Palm Beach County Schools: At a Glance

School NameLocationSchool Type Programs OfferedArea Ranking
Florida Atlantic UniversityBoca Raton, FL4-year, publicUndergraduate Certificates, Bachelor's Degrees, Master's Degrees, Post-Master's Degrees, Doctoral Degrees#2 Program Variety,
#2 Net Price,
#2 Graduation Rate,
#3 Student-to-Faculty Ratio
Lynn UniversityBoca Raton, FL4-year, private not-for-profitUndergraduate Certificates, Bachelor's Degrees, Post-Bachelor's Degrees, Master's Degrees, Doctoral Degrees#3 Graduation Rate,
#2 Student-to-Faculty Ratio
Palm Beach Atlantic UniversityWest Palm Beach, FL4-year, private not-for-profitAssociate's Degree, Bachelor's Degrees, Master's Degrees, Doctoral Degrees#3 Program Variety,
#3 Net Price,
#1 Graduation Rate,
#1 Student-to-Faculty Ratio
Palm Beach State CollegeLake Worth, FL4-year, publicUndergraduate Certificates, Associate's Degrees, Bachelor's Degrees#1 Program Variety,
#1 Net Price
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