Most American universities are ludicrously expensive and there’s no escaping the fact that you, with perhaps the help of mom, dad and loans, will need to fork over thousands of dollars for an education.

However, there are some colleges that might give you more value for your money, and of 2016's top 10 best value universities in Florida surveyed by SmartAsset, UCF ranked slightly below average, coming in at seventh place with an in-state tuition cost of $6,317 and an average starting salary for recent graduates around $42,700. In the 2015 survey, UCF ranked in sixth place.

SmartAsset, a company that utilizes financial modeling to advise consumers on the wisest financial choices backed by statistics, considered five factors in their study of the colleges and universities that offer the best value for their price tags: tuition, student living costs, scholarship and grant offerings, retention rate and starting salary.

In first place this year was the University of Florida with an annual tuition set at $6,263 and an average starting salary of $49,500, followed by Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University with a tuition amounting to $5,785 and an average starting salary of $45,900.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach came in third place with a significantly higher tuition of $31,334 and an average starting salary of $57,300, followed by the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne whose tuition sits at $36,020 and whose alumni usually see an average starting salary of $56,100.

The University of South Florida came in at No. 5, with Florida State University at No. 6. The University of North Florida, Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University took the eighth, ninth and 10th spots, respectively.

Top 10 "Best Value" Colleges

1. UF


3. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

4. Florida Tech

5. USF

6. FSU

7. UCF

8. UNF

9. FIU

10. FAU


Gabby Baquero is the News Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @Gabby_Baquero or email her at

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