Southwest Florida has a large number of universities and colleges including: Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida Southestern State College, Hodges University, Ave Maria University, Rasmussen College, Keiser University, Nova Southeastern University, Barry University, ITT Technical Institute and Southwest Florida College.
- Florida Gulf Coast University is a state university that opened its doors to students in 1997 and is located in Estero. It has over 14,000 students and is projected to grow to over 17,000 students by 2017. Florida Gulf Coast offers 51 undergraduate programs, 28 graduate programs, one specialist program, and two doctoral degree programs. Florida Gulf Coast University has NCAA Division 1 Athletics and recently made history as the first 15-seed basketball team to reach the “Sweet 16” in the national tournament. FGCU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). In addition, the university has specialized accreditation for business, engineering, education, health care, resort and hospitality, and social work.
- Florida Southwestern State College offers 30 degrees as well as certificates for other fields of study with over 16,000 students. Edison State College, which turned 50 years old in 2012, has campuses in Charlotte, Collier, Hendry, and Glades Counties. Edison State College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
- Hodges University offers associate degrees, bachelor degrees, and graduate degrees with student population of 1,723 (1,487 undergraduate). Hodges University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award Associate, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees. Hodges University has received specialized accreditation for its business and business-related programs through International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE).
- Ave Maria University is an accredited Catholic university that has 28 major programs, 23 minor programs, three graduate programs, and 15 different men’s and women’s sports with approximately 900 students. Ave Maria University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral degrees. A sister institution is the Ave Maria School of Law, which is fully accredited by the American Bar Association with a student body of nearly 500 that is drawn from almost every state and several other nations.
- Rasmussen College has 35 degrees, and offers both online and on campus programs. The Fort Myers, Florida college campus offers Bachelor’s and Associate’s degrees, Diplomas, and Certificates designed to meet the needs of students and employers in high-demand fields. Rasmussen College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
- Keiser University has 17 campuses across Florida and was founded in 1977, as a regionally accredited, private, career University offering certificates, associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. In Southwest Florida, Keiser University – Fort Myers serves students in Lee County and the Florida Gulf Coast area offering career-focused education in the fields of business, criminal justice, education, law, information technology, health care and more.
- Nova Southeastern University is a fully accredited, private, not-for-profit, Research University dedicated to providing high-quality educational programs of distinction from preschool through the professional and doctoral levels. It is the 9th largest not-for-profit, independent university in the U.S., with regional campuses in Fort Lauderdale-Davie (main), Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Miramar, Orlando, Palm Beach, Tampa, The Bahamas and Puerto Rico.
- Barry University is a private Catholic institution based in Miami Shores, offering adult and continuing education programs in Fort Myers.
- Southwest Florida College offers diploma, Associate and Bachelor’s degree programs in allied health, business, design, education, information technology, interior design, and legal studies. The college has campuses in Fort Myers, Port Charlotte, Bonita Springs and Tampa.
- Renaissance Academy Founded in January 2001, the FGCU Academy is the region’s premier lifelong learning program for adults. Among the Renaissance Academy’s offerings are affordable, non-credit single lectures, short courses, day trips, computer classes, film series, life enrichment classes, writing workshops, music lessons, travel abroad programs and other special events providing academic substance in an interactive format that encourages the exchange of ideas and provides both intellectual stimulation and personal enjoyment.