The University of South Florida is a public research university in the north of Tampa. It is currently spread out over five campuses: two campuses in Tampa (including the USF Downtown Center), one in Lakeland (this campus has been renamed USF Polytechnic), one in St. Petersburg and one in Sarasota-Manatee. It's the third-largest university in Florida and has recently been awarded Research One status thanks to its very strong programs in the natural sciences, medicine and engineering.

Over 40,000 students attend USF, a large contingent of which are commuter students or non-traditional students. The neighborhoods surrounding USF are mostly businesses catering to students, and apartment blocks for these aforementioned students. In fact, the humble author of this write-up lives in one of these blocks, and works at one of these businesses that cater to college students. It's not a bad way to live.

The current president of USF is Judy Genshaft. Notable alumni include Leo Gallagher (graduated with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 1969) and Tampa mayor Pam Iorio (received her Master's while working as the Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections).