The object of education, as I see it, it not to fill a man's mind with facts, it is to teach him how to use his mind in thinking.
With the expansion of higher education facilities in the early 1990’s, Lee County’s education arena has boomed in the last two decades, drawing top students and staff to learn and work in our coastal paradise.
Education Sector by the Numbers
Lee County’s Educational services sector represents 7.7% of the County’s economy, employing 25,000 educators, administrators, and support staff. This includes eight colleges and universities with campuses in the county, 96 public schools, 52 private schools, and 23 charter schools.
With 13,000 employees, the Lee County School district is the second largest employer in the county and is one of the 40 largest school districts in the nation.
Notable Educational Institutions
Florida SouthWestern State College, previously Edison State College, is a longstanding Lee County higher education option. Established in 1962, the school is best known for its nursing program that has one of the highest licensure passing rates in the state. FSW has satellite campuses in neighboring Charlotte, Collier and Hendry Counties.
Florida Gulf Coast University is part of the State University System of Florida. Founded in 1991, FGCU serves 15,000 students. The university offers 63 undergraduate degrees, 25 masters programs and 3 doctoral degrees.
Hodges University, originally International College, offers 11 associate degree programs, 14 bachelor’s degree programs, six master’s degree programs and several certificate programs. Hodges University also operates the Frances Pew Hayes Center for Lifelong Learning, the Dr. Peter Thomas Veterans Services Center and Center for Diversity, Inclusion and Cultural Competency.
Keiser University-Fort Myers, founded in 1977, is a regionally accredited, private, career University offering certificates, associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in the fields of business, criminal justice, education, law, information technology, health care and more.
One of the largest nonprofit universities in Florida, Nova Southeastern University offers day, evening, weekend and online classes. Its Fort Myers Campus offers degree programs education, nursing, and physician assistant, as well as online offerings in business, counseling, and more.
The Fort Myers campus of Rasmussen University offers more than 50 programs with both online and on-campus class options. Rasmussen is the top educator of practical nursing graduates and registered nurses in the state of Florida.
Students seeking a more vocationally-focused education have many choices. Lee County is home to numerous technical colleges and trade schools, including Fort Myers Technical College, Cape Coral Technical College, Southern Technical College, and the Southwest Florida Public Services Academy.