New College of Florida - Colleges of Distinction - Colleges of Distinction
New College of Florida
"New College of Florida was founded upon delivering a self-directed education to students of...

New College of Florida

Sarasota, Florida

A Unique Education for Unique Individuals


Founded in 1960 as a private college for academically talented students, New College became a public college in 1975 through a merger with the State of Florida System which resulted in its affiliation with the University of South Florida. Today, as the state’s independent honors college, New College of Florida retains its distinctive academic program and high standards which make it a college of choice for students who can manage the freedom and responsibility of designing their own education.

Student Profile

Fall 2015 Enrollment
861 undergraduate students
100% of undergrad students are full time
39% male — 61% female
17% of students are from out of state

Faculty Profile

2015-2016 Academic Year
87 full-time faculty
20 part-time faculty
10 to 1 student/faculty ratio

Residence Life

Primarily residential: 80% of students live on campus.

School Location

Sarasota, Florida—Located on 110 bay front acres on Florida’s Gulf Coast in the resort city of Sarasota, noted for its beautiful public beaches, theater, art and music.

Retention Fall 2015

81% of students began in Fall 2014 and returned in Fall 2015 (full-time, first-time freshmen)

6-Year Graduation Rate 2015

71% of students graduated in 6 years


Nonresident aliens 2%
Hispanic/Latino 16%
Black or African American 3%
White 69%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0%
Asian 3%
Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander 0%
Two or more races 4%
Race and/or ethnicity unknown 3%

Other Information

New College of Florida is the State of Florida’s “Honors College for the Liberal Arts” located in Sarasota and founded in 1960.

Academic Programs

Anthropology; Applied Mathematics; Art; Art History; Biochemistry; Biology; Biopsychology Chemistry; Chinese Language & Culture; Classics; Economics; English; Environmental Studies; European Studies; French ; German Studies; History; Humanities; International & Area Studies; Literature; Marine Biology; Mathematics; Medieval & Renaissance Studies; Music; Natural Sciences; Neurobiology; Philosophy; Physics; Political Science; Psychology; Public Policy; Religion; Russian Language & Literature; Social Sciences; Sociology; Spanish Language & Culture; Spanish Language & Literature; Theater; Urban Studies.

More Distinctions

    • The 2014 edition of The Princeton Review named New College the country's third-best value in public higher education. In its 2014 edition, U.S. News & World Report also rated New College as the nation's No. 5 public liberal arts college, the ninth year in a row the college has placed in the magazine’s top six, and placed the school in the country's top tier of liberal arts colleges both public and private. New College is also one of only 40 colleges nationwide featured in Loren Pope's Colleges that Change Lives and regularly is included as a national “best buy” in publications ranging from the Fiske Guide to Colleges to Kiplinger's Top 100.
    • Since 2007, New College has placed among the nation’s leading colleges for per capita production of Fulbright Scholars, with students receiving 43 awards in that time.
    • Notable alums include William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York City;  Gregory Dubois-Felsmann; Rhodes Scholar; William Thurston, winner of the Fields Medal for mathematics; Esther Barrazone, president, Chatham University; Carol Flint, film and television producer;  Lincoln Diaz-Balart, former United States congressman; David Allen, business consultant and creator of the “Getting Things Done” productivity system; and Nancy McEldowney, director, Foreign Service Institute, U.S. Department of State.


New College professors pursue their own research projects, as well. Dr. Meg Lowman’s rainforest canopy research, focused on forest ecology and conservation, has taken her and her students around the world. Her research has been featured in Smithsonian magazine and as part of several National Geographic expeditions.

Great Student-Faculty Relationships

With its low student-to-faculty ratio of 10:1 and its unique series of seven academic contracts, plus independent study requirements, New College ensures that students and faculty work together toward each student’s demonstrated competence and real mastery of specific subjects. Faculty get to know students well as they assist them in achieving their learning goals from course to course and project to project, and they often tailor class assignments to individual interests and abilities.

Instead of letter grades, faculty give narrative evaluations for each student. All NCF faculty are full-time, and 99 percent hold the PhD or terminal degree in their fields. Faculty value the one-on-one tutorials offered for upper-level students, more commonly found at the graduate school level. These tutorials define the personalized educational experience of NCF.

Modern Facilities

Modern facilities support many individual research options, including the R.V. Heiser Natural Sciences Complex, which features an on-site Raman spectroscopy lab; the Pritzker Marine Biological Research Center, which includes more than ninety saltwater and freshwater research aquariums; a two-thousand-volume library dedicated to Mesoamerican archaeology that includes an oral history archive; and the Caples Fine Arts Complex, which houses a performing arts center, practice rooms for musicians, sculpture and painting studios, and a welding shop and kiln for ceramics.

Semester-Long Contracts

Each NCF student enters into seven semester-long contracts, designed in consultation with a faculty adviser, which ensure a broad exploration of the liberal arts. By the fifth semester, students are focused on their area of concentration. Three independent study projects—often using Florida as a resource—are completed during each of the first three January terms. The fourth January is reserved for work on the senior thesis, a final project each student defends orally before a faculty committee. A bound copy of each thesis is kept in the library, and topics have ranged from an analysis of the break shot in a game of pool to social and political factors contributing to the devastation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina to the development of a synthetic compound that may help reduce the risk of autism in young children.


Sarasota, located fifty-five miles south of Tampa on Florida’s west coast, is known as the Circus City and offers a vibrant cultural life in addition to its world-renowned natural beauty and wildlife. Sarasota is home to the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, which sits adjacent to the New College campus. NCF’s College Hall was the former home of circus magnates Charles and Edith Ringling. The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and the famous Lido and Siesta Key beaches on the Gulf of Mexico are also nearby.

Social Tolerance

NCF students say that freedom and tolerance define the social tone of the college. Respect for sexual orientation, political affiliation, freedom of speech, ethnic heritage, and cultural associations are paramount. The idiosyncratic garb of individual students expresses these attitudes. New College is proud to note that nearly 100 percent of its students receive some form of financial aid.

Residential Life

NCF students are actively involved in campus life and the local community. On average, over 75 percent of all students live on campus in a variety of housing options, including five residence halls that opened in fall 2007 and a historic residence hall complex designed by and named for renowned architect I. M. Pei. Residential life at NCF underscores the symbiotic relationship between academics and social life on campus, and it is typical on weekends for many of the students to gather either formally or informally for student “walls,” or parties, during which discussions of Hegel intertwine seamlessly with dancing and socializing.

Student Organizations and Activities

There are over seventy-five clubs and organizations on campus in which students can participate, and NCF’s recreational facilities include an outdoor pool, a fitness center, scuba equipment, a boathouse for sailing, athletic fields, and a running trail. NCF’s sailing team competes in the Intercollegiate Sailing Association, and the tennis, swimming, soccer, fencing and flag football clubs compete against other local colleges and in community leagues.

Gender and Diversity Center

On campus, New College students can participate in programs sponsored by the Gender and Diversity Center, highlighting cultural identity and treating difference with sensitivity.

Community Involvement

Off campus, NCF students volunteer or intern at more than one hundred community organizations, including tutoring at public schools and participating in Habitat for Humanity projects and other programs sponsored by the United Way and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Fifty-five NCF students have received the Sarasota Environmental Award, honoring their involvement in community activities, especially teaching young students in the area.

Scholarships and Grants

New College graduates are lifelong learners. About 80%  of all NCF graduates go on to graduate or professional school.The NCF emphasis on its students’ active involvement in designing their own academic program and on independent work experience means they are well equipped for challenging graduate work and they have close, long-term professional and collegial relationships with faculty members.

Notable Alumni

Although New College was founded as recently as 1960, its alumni include several notable people. Among them are William Dudley, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York City; Lincoln Diaz-Balart, U.S. congressman from Florida; Carol Flint, writer and producer of such shows as ER, L.A. Law, The West Wing, and others; Gregory Dubois-Felsmann, physicist and Rhodes Scholar; and William Thurston, winner of the Fields Medal, known as the Nobel Prize of mathematics.


Admissions Fall 2015

1,655 Total Applicants 
1,009 Total Admissions 
261 Total Freshman Enrollment

60.97% of applicants admitted

Freshman Profile Fall 2015

  25th Percentile 75th Percentile
SAT Critical Reading 610 720
SAT Math 560 660
SAT Writing 570 670
ACT Composite 27 31
ACT Math 24 28
ACT English 27 33
ACT Writing 8 9


Net Price Calculator


Expenses In-State Out-of-State
Tuition $5,227 $27,159
Fees $1,689 $2,785
Total $6,916 $29,944
Room and Board (on campus) $8,932 $8,932
Room Only $6,348 $6,348
Board Only $2,584 $2,584
Estimated Total On Campus $15,848 $38,876 


Financial Aid Breakdown 2014-2015

100% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid
35% of full-time, first-time undergraduates awarded student loan aid

$9,976 Average amount of federal, state, local, or institutional grant aid awarded
$5,255 Average amount of student loan aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduates