Part of the State University System of Florida, Florida International University is the 2nd largest university in Florida, the 4th largest in the US, and an R1 public research university, the highest level of the Carnegie Classification – and FIU has accomplished all this in just five decades. Founded in 1965, Florida International was intended to start back in the 1940s, when Miami’s growth signalled the need for a public research institution in south Florida, but it took another 20 years to make it happen. Miami was the largest city in the US without a public university, and when FIU finally opened, it was the largest opening of a university in history. Today, Florida International is ranked as one of the best institutions in the South, but is especially known for its service to minority students, and for having one of the lowest student debt rates in America.
Academic ProgramsFlorida International is still the only public university in Miami-Dade County, and as such, FIU is central, and crucial, to professional, academic, and scholarly life in the region. FIU is exceptionally rigorous, having been ranked one of the toughest-grading schools in the nation, but balances challenge with opportunity and support, providing undergraduate and graduate students with access to some of the most exciting research being done today, from medicine and psychology to robotics and environmental studies. FIU also plays a major role in economic development in Miami, with deep, wide-ranging partnerships with government, industry, and nonprofits.
The professional schools at FIU are some of the most accomplished and highly-ranked in the US. FIU’s College of Law, for example, has the highest rate of passage for the Florida Bar Exam of any law school in the state, while the College of Business Administration is rated one of the best in the nation, especially for its model online MBA program. More than a third of public school teachers in the region come from FIU, and the Wertheim College of Medicine, along with the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, is a fundamental part of Florida’s healthcare system, especially in the Miami metropolitan area. And FIU’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management is one of the foremost leaders in the field – it’s Florida, after all.
Student LifeFlorida International is a highly diverse university, and one of the few majority-minority public universities in the US; more than 60% of FIU’s student body is Latino or Hispanic, and the university has been ranked #1 nationally for awarding bachelor’s and graduate degrees to Hispanic students. With 15% white students, the rest of the student body is largely African-American and Asian-American. At over 55,000 students, FIU’s student body is the fourth-largest in the nation, and still growing, especially as the university continues to expand its online offerings.
While FIU had an unusual beginning – almost all of its first students came from the Dade County Junior College, having been waiting for a public university in the area, and the college was primarily an upper-division, commuter school – today Florida International has a much more traditional residential student life. More than 300 official student groups and clubs are present on campus, from honor societies to special interests, and more than 30 fraternities and sororities make for an active Greek Life. The FIU Panthers compete in 17 NCAA Division I sports, and their longstanding rivalries against the private University of Miami and the public Florida Atlantic University includes the annual Shula Bowl, a fiercely-contested football game against FAU.