There are a lot of reasons for why veterans love the Sunshine State. We’ve narrowed it down to the top five (which wasn’t easy).
1. Real Community
Florida has the third largest veteran population in the country, according to FloridaVets.org and WalletHub ranks Florida as the #1 Veteran-Friendly State.
“The veteran and active duty military community here is huge, and it’s supported by a very comprehensive infrastructure,” says Dave Glassman, a former helicopter pilot for the U.S. Marine Corps and co-owner of the Pensacola-based software development firm DigiPro Media.
“On any given day, you can go anywhere and be surrounded by veterans in the work force. They are the leaders, the teachers and the coaches. They’re everywhere in the community and their attitudes and attributes permeate it. As a result, there’s a high level of acceptance and benevolence towards veterans here, as opposed to other places in the nation where the veteran population and infrastructure is more limited.”
2. College Campuses That “Get It”
Florida is home to 12 public universities and 28 public colleges, where the in-state tuition rate is offered to all veterans using the GI Bill.
Not only does Florida have a large number of top-rated state universities and colleges, but many of these schools have on-campus offices and centers dedicated specifically to the well-being and academic success of veteran students. These services include helping veterans put GI Bill benefits to use and accessing available scholarships. No matter where a veteran comes from, when attending school in Florida, the tuition is the in-state rate, which saves two-thirds of the cost that a non-veteran from another state would pay.
Sponsored: Read more about the benefits of higher education in Florida.
3. You’re Hired
Florida has the fourth largest economy in the U.S. and the headquarters of over 300 international companies are based there.
The business climate in Florida is extremely robust and there are presently thousands of job openings in the state across a large variety of industries. Many of these openings are related to skill sets that veterans develop during their military service.
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Glassman highlights the many opportunities available to veterans in northeast Florida:
“Veterans can apply skills they gained in the military to any number of industries, whether it be banking, manufacturing or aviation. If they were to go elsewhere, there wouldn’t be so many types of industries available to them.”
4. Start Something
Florida’s business tax climate ranks #1 in the Southeast, according to Tax Foundation.
Nearly one in four active duty service members and veterans want to open and operate his or her own business, and Florida is an ideal state in which to do so because of the substantial support it offers entrepreneurial enterprises.
Highlighting the prevalence of active business incubators in Florida cities, Dr. Sandra Kauanui of Florida Gulf Coast University says:
“We have a number of incubators and accelerator programs in Naples and Fort Myers, and there’s a tremendous amount of community interest in entrepreneurship.”
Florida Gulf Coast University is one of seven institutions of higher learning across the state participating in the Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program, a free program that instructs veterans in business principles and practices, and provides post-instruction mentoring and access to local resources.
5. Warm Welcome
The average temperature in Florida ranges from a high of 81 degrees to a low of 60 degrees.
The Tax Foundation ranks Florida among states with the lowest taxes, with $25,000 Homestead Property Tax exemption for every resident.
Florida is called The Sunshine State for good reason. It boasts a warm and sunny climate, and its lush forests and parks, gorgeous beaches and waterways ranging from rivers and lakes to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic afford unrivalled fishing, hunting and watersports.
In addition, the state does not collect a personal income tax, which greatly enhances the residents’ spending power. Housing is also quite affordable. The cost of living in many communities across the state is lower than the national average.