The Miami-Dade County school district enrolls more than 340,000 students, making it the fourth largest in the country. About one quarter of its students are foreign-born and speak 62 different languages. Among the educational innovations instituted by the school system are 66 magnet school programs, charter schools, satellite learning centers housed in private businesses, and the New World School of the Arts for high school and college students. A new type of school, the Elemiddle School serving grades K through eight, was introduced in 1998, with the goal of replacing large middle schools with smaller community-based units. Students in the Greater Miami area also have the choice of attending over 445 private schools, which enroll more than 45,000 students.
With more than 50,000 students, Miami-Dade Community College (MDCC) is the nation's largest single-district multi-campus community college. This two-year school, which operates six campuses, leads the nation in number of degrees awarded to minority students. Florida International University, a four-year state university, has two campuses and enrolls over 30,000 students. The 72-year-old University of Miami is a private research university with an enrollment of 14,000 and respected programs in law, engineering, medicine, and business, and is noted for its Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences and Jackson/UM Medical Center.
Other four-year institutions include Nova Southeastern University, home of Florida's first dentistry school; Barry and St. Thomas universities, which are both Catholic-affiliated; Baptist-run Florida Memorial College; and Johnson & Wales University, a degree-granting college that prepares students to enter the hospitality and restaurant fields. Johnson & Wales runs an on-campus restaurant and two off-campus eateries staffed by its students.