Wanting to go to school in the Tampa Bay area? There are a number of colleges and universities to choose from, ranging from public to private, four-year to two-year and affordable to expensive. Each college around Tampa has its own advantages that, depending on your needs, can work perfectly for you.

University of South Florida

Getting its start in 1956, two campuses exist in Tampa and St. Petersburg. "USF is the fastest growing research university in the United States" according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. This is mainly due to government-funded research grants reaching $380 million in 2008. With approximately 39,000 students seeking different types and levels of degrees, the classes still manage to stay fairly intimate with a 27.5:1 student/faculty ratio in 2008-09.

USF Tampa 4202 E. Fowler Ave. Tampa, FL 33620 (813) 974-2011 usf.edu

The University of Tampa

This school is able to accommodate a 15:1 student/faculty ratio for close personal attention because of its private status and total student population of about 6,200. The evening classes, 120 undergraduate programs and a variety of graduate degrees make UT a viable institution. The cost is significant, however, with the average undergraduate student paying about $30,778 per academic year.

The University of Tampa 401 W. Kennedy Blvd. Tampa, FL 33606-1490 (813) 253-3333 ut.edu

Hillsboro Community College

Hillsboro Community College offers a range of associate degrees, vocational programs and certificates. If you are just trying to get started and later transfer to a four-year university, or would like to get a good paying job after just a couple of years, this may be a better option for you.

Hillsboro Community College 39 Columbia Drive Tampa, FL 33606 (813) 253-7000 hccfl.edu

Florida College

Situated in the Tampa Bay area in Temple Terrace, Fla., Florida College aspires to provide a well-rounded, positive experience "physically, socially, mentally and spiritually." The campus location is about 20 minutes outside of Tampa. Associate and bachelor degrees are available, with plenty of one-on-one interaction in the classes since the college has a 12:1 student/faculty ratio.

Florida College 119 N. Glen Arven Ave. Temple Terrace, FL 33617 (813) 988-5131 floridacollege.edu