Top 10 Biggest Colleges in the U.S. (2024)

Updated on March 6, 2024
At a Glance:
  • Among the largest universities in the U.S. are Arizona State University.
  • University of Central Florida.
  • Texas A&M University.
  • Ohio State University.
  • University of Texas at Austin.
  • Pennsylvania State University.
  • Michigan State University.
  • Purdue University.
  • University of Arizona.
  • And University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

  • These institutions provide diverse academic offerings and vibrant student communities, making them popular choices for a wide range of academic pursuits and extracurricular activities.
  • Have you ever wondered what the largest universities in the United States are?  In this article, we have listed the ten largest United States public university campuses by enrollment as of 2021.

    Quick View: Largest Four-Year Colleges in the U.S. by Enrollment

    For those of you who just want a quick overview of the numbers, check out the table below. For more detailed looks at these schools, see the next section.

    UniversityEnrollmentGraduation RateAcceptance RateWebsite
    University of Central Florida60,07770%49%ucf.edu
    Texas A&M University – College Station53,87983%63%tamu.edu
    The Ohio State University – Columbus47,10083%64%osu.edu
    Florida International University46,07258%58%fiu.edu
    Arizona State University – Tempe51,98459%88%asu.edu
    Utah Valley University40,84326%100%uvu.edu
    University of Texas at Austin40,80481%32%utexas.edu
    Penn State University – University Park40,54185%56%psu.edu
    Kennesaw State University35,01848%67%kennesaw.edu
    University of Houston37,68952%68%uh.edu

    Largest Four-Year Colleges in the U.S. by Enrollment

    A broad spectrum of academic disciplines, extracurricular activities, and potential acquaintances await at large universities. If you’re interested in attending one of the U.S.’s largest institutions, the following list provides some top options.

    1. University of Central Florida

    UCF is one of the largest universities with over 60,000 students. Located in Orlando, Florida, it has strong programs in engineering, optics, modeling and simulation.

    • 200+ degree programs
    • Top ranked video game design program
    • 600+ student organizations
    • On-campus football stadium & events center
    • Lots of partnerships with Orlando tech & theme parks
    • Website: ucf.edu

    2. Texas A&M University – College Station

    Texas A&M is a major public research university in College Station with over 53,000 students. It has world-class programs in engineering, agriculture and more.

    • 130+ undergraduate degrees
    • $900+ million in annual research
    • 1,000+ student organizations
    • Big college town atmosphere
    • Vibrant school spirit
    • Website: tamu.edu

    3. The Ohio State University – Columbus

    Ohio State has over 47,000 students on its Columbus campus, making it the third largest in the US. It’s the flagship public university in Ohio.

    • 200+ majors across 15 colleges
    • Top ranked veterinary, engineering, business & law
    • 1,000+ student clubs and organizations
    • Major Big Ten athletics including football
    • 500,000+ living alumni network
    • Website: osu.edu

    4. Florida International University

    FIU in Miami has 46,000+ students across two main campuses. It’s one of the largest Hispanic-serving institutions in the US.

    • 180+ bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees
    • Strong focus on Latin America and the Caribbean
    • Beautiful tropical campuses in Miami-Dade County
    • Lots of multicultural events and Latin culture
    • Very diverse student population
    • Website: fiu.edu

    5. Arizona State University – Tempe

    ASU’s Tempe campus has over 46,000 students. The university is known for innovation, online education access and sustainability.

    • 250+ degree programs with many online options
    • Top ranked business, engineering, journalism & law
    • 1,100+ student clubs and organizations
    • Lots of “green” buildings and sustainability
    • Very innovative and entrepreneurial
    • Website: asu.edu

    6. Utah Valley University

    Utah Valley University has 41,000+ students, making it the largest public university in Utah located near Salt Lake City.

    • Very affordable tuition rates
    • Top nursing and aviation science programs
    • 200+ academic programs
    • Rapidly growing research
    • Newly expanded campus recreation center
    • Website: uvu.edu

    7. University of Texas at Austin

    UT Austin is one of the top public universities with over 40,000 students. It’s known for acclaimed programs in business, engineering, law and more.

    • Top ranked business, engineering, law & more
    • $600+ million in annual research funding
    • Iconic campus landmarks and architecture
    • 1,000+ student organizations
    • Vibrant Austin music and cultural scene
    • Website: utexas.edu

    8. Penn State University – University Park

    Penn State’s main campus has over 40,000 students. As Pennsylvania’s land grant university, Penn State is recognized for strong engineering and agricultural programs.

    • Top ranked marketing, supply chain management & more
    • 160+ bachelor’s degree majors
    • Iconic Beaver Stadium with 110,000 capacity
    • 8,000+ students from 115+ countries
    • Lots of honors societies and research opportunities
    • Website: psu.edu

    9. Kennesaw State University

    Kennesaw State in Georgia has almost 39,000 students, making it the 3rd largest university in the state. It has a range of undergraduate and graduate programs.

    • Solid business, nursing, education & engineering
    • Launched football program in 2015
    • 300+ student clubs and organizations
    • Campus stadium and arena
    • Lots of student housing and dining
    • Website: kennesaw.edu

    10. University of Houston

    The University of Houston has over 38,500 students. It’s located near downtown Houston and known for its diverse student population.

    • Highly ranked hospitality, supply chain programs & more
    • Among the most diverse student bodies
    • $150+ million in annual research
    • New indoor football stadium
    • 300+ student organizations
    • Website: uh.edu

    50 Largest Colleges by Enrollment

    CollegeUndergraduate Enrollment
    University of Central Florida60,075
    Texas A&M University – College Station53,876
    The Ohio State University – Columbus47,106
    Florida International University46,079
    Arizona State University – Tempe46,061
    Utah Valley University41,262
    University of Texas at Austin40,916
    Penn State University – University Park40,600
    Kennesaw State University38,973
    University of Houston38,581
    Michigan State University38,574
    Purdue University37,101
    University of Arizona36,503
    University of Minnesota — Twin Cities36,209
    Rutgers University — New Brunswick36,152
    University of Cincinnati35,339
    University of Texas at Arlington35,064
    University of Florida34,931
    California State University — Fullerton34,925
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign34,559
    California State University — Northridge34,275
    Indiana University — Bloomington34,253
    California State University — Long Beach33,605
    University of Wisconsin — Madison33,506
    Florida State University — Tallahassee33,486
    Texas Tech University33,256
    Texas State University33,230
    University of South Florida — Tampa33,077
    University of North Texas32,603
    University of Alabama32,168
    University of California — Berkeley32,143
    UCLA32,119
    University of Washington — Seattle31,384
    University of California — Davis31,162
    University of Maryland — College Park30,875
    San Diego State University30,865
    University of Michigan — Ann Arbor30,633
    University of Georgia30,166
    University of Texas at San Antonio29,801
    Virginia Tech29,760
    University of Colorado Boulder29,507
    University of California — Irvine29,449
    California State University — Sacramento28,881
    Georgia State University28,772
    Weber State University28,685 (fall 2020)
    San José State University28,201

    What Are the Largest Colleges in the U.S.?

    What are the largest colleges and universities in U.S., regardless of four- or two-year offerings? Below, we list the top fifty colleges in the U.S. by total enrollment.

    RankUniversity NameLocationEnrollment
    1Liberty UniversityLynchburg, VA79,152
    2University of Central FloridaOrlando, FL68,571
    3Texas A&M University — College StationCollege Station, TX68,367
    4The Ohio State University — ColumbusColumbus, OH61,170
    5University of Maryland, University CollegeAdelphi, MD60,603
    6Florida International UniversityMiami, FL58,064
    7University of FloridaGainesville, FL52,218
    8New York UniversityNew York, NY51,847
    9The University of Texas at AustinAustin, TX51,832
    10Arizona State University — Tempe CampusTempe, AZ51,585

    The Pros and Cons of Attending a Large College

    Choosing the right college is a pivotal decision in a student’s life, and the size of the institution can play a significant role in shaping their college experience. Here, we delve into the advantages and disadvantages of attending large colleges.

    Advantages of Large Colleges

    Embarking on an educational journey at a large institution can open up a myriad of opportunities and experiences. Here are some of the standout benefits:

    1. Diverse Academic Opportunities: Large colleges often offer an extensive selection of majors. This vast range is particularly beneficial for students who are undecided about their field of study, allowing them to explore various disciplines before settling on a major.
    2. Research Opportunities: Due to their vast resources, these institutions often provide state-of-the-art research facilities and the chance to work alongside top faculty members across various fields.
    3. Expansive Alumni Network: A broader alumni base can be a treasure trove when seeking internships, mentorships, and job opportunities after graduation.
    4. Study Abroad Programs: Many big colleges have extensive study abroad programs. For example, if you’re studying Italian, you might have the chance to spend a summer in Rome, immersing yourself in the language and culture.
    5. Extracurricular Activities: The plethora of clubs, organizations, sports, and volunteer opportunities ensures that there’s something for everyone, offering numerous chances to meet new people and engage in diverse experiences.

    Disadvantages of Large Colleges

    While large institutions boast numerous advantages, they also come with certain challenges that prospective students should consider. Here are some potential drawbacks:

    1. Potential for Feeling Overwhelmed: Those who are introverted or shy might feel lost or overwhelmed in the vastness of a large institution.
    2. Impersonal Learning Environments: Large lecture halls with hundreds of students might not be ideal for those who prefer intimate, interactive learning experiences or one-on-one attention from instructors.
    3. Competitive Atmosphere: The vast number of students can sometimes lead to intense competition, whether it’s for class spots, research opportunities, or internships.
    4. Navigating Bureaucracy: Larger institutions might come with more red tape, making processes like registration, seeking academic advisement, or resolving issues a bit more challenging.

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    Enrollments at Large Colleges FAQ

    Below, you will find some common questions about colleges with large enrollments, and the impact of these large populations, and their answers.

    What constitutes a “large” college in terms of enrollment?

    A large college typically refers to institutions with an undergraduate enrollment of more than 15,000 students. However, this number can vary depending on the context or source of information.

    Why do some colleges have such large enrollments?

    Large colleges often have a wide range of programs, extensive facilities, diverse faculty, and a long-standing reputation that attracts a high number of applicants each year. Their capacity to accommodate more students is also a factor.

    Does a large enrollment mean larger class sizes?

    Not necessarily. While large colleges might have some lecture-style classes with hundreds of students, they also offer smaller discussion-based classes, seminars, and labs with fewer students.

    Are there any benefits to attending a college with a large enrollment?

    Yes, large colleges often offer a wider variety of academic programs, research opportunities, extracurricular activities, and networking opportunities due to their extensive alumni base.

    Does a large student population impact the student-to-faculty ratio?

    It can. Some large colleges may have a higher student-to-faculty ratio, meaning there might be more students per faculty member. However, many large universities still maintain a favorable ratio by employing a significant number of faculty members.

    Is it harder to get personalized attention at a larger college?

    It can be challenging in some large lecture classes, but many big colleges offer resources like tutoring centers, office hours with professors, and smaller class formats to ensure students receive personalized attention.

    Do large colleges offer more online courses?

    Many large colleges have the resources and infrastructure to offer a variety of online courses and even complete online degree programs. However, the availability of online courses varies from one institution to another.

    Are all state universities considered large colleges?

    No, while many state universities are among the largest in terms of enrollment, not all state institutions are “large” colleges. The size varies based on factors like the state’s population, funding, and the university’s history.

    Does having a large enrollment mean the college has a diverse student body?

    A large enrollment can increase the likelihood of diversity, but it’s not a guarantee. Diversity depends on the college’s recruitment practices, location, tuition, and other factors.

    How do large colleges manage their vast student populations?

    Large colleges often have comprehensive systems in place, including advanced technological solutions for registration, academic advising, housing, and other student services. They might also have multiple campuses or satellite locations to accommodate the student body.

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    Frank Gogol

    I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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