10 Colleges With the Most Undergraduate Students

The U.S. News Short List, separate from our overall rankings, is a regular series that magnifies individual data points in hopes of providing students and parents a way to find which undergraduate or graduate programs excel or have room to grow in specific areas. Be sure to explore The Short List: Colleges, The Short List: Grad School and The Short List: Online Programs to find data that matters to you in your college or grad school search.

Often known for their booming athletic programs and lecture hall classes, public colleges and universities typically enroll more students compared to private institutions. In some cases, undergraduate enrollment exceeds the population of small cities in the United States, according to U.S. News data.

For example, the number of undergraduate students at Florida International University in Miami, 48,664, is double the amount of residents — 24,118 — in neighboring Key West. Meanwhile, Texas A&M University’s student body shared a similar population to Diamond Bar, California — between 55,000 and 56,000.

[Read: How Many Universities Are in the U.S. and Why That Number Is Changing.]

However, a large student body is not just reserved for public institutions. Among the 10 schools with the most undergraduate enrollment, Liberty University in Virginia is the only private school on the list. Nine of these 10 colleges are National Universities, institutions that are often research-oriented and offer bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. One, the University of Maryland Global Campus, is a Regional University, which offers bachelor’s degrees, some master’s programs and limited doctoral-level options.

These 10 colleges enrolled an average of nearly 49,000 undergraduate students in fall 2020. But most institutions enroll far less. Across all 1,216 ranked colleges that reported data to U.S. News in an annual survey, the average headcount was 6,354.

[See: 10 Colleges With Affordable Out-of-State Tuition.]

Compared to the larger institutions, some campus communities are equivalent to the population of a small town or even neighborhood.

Twenty-two colleges enrolled fewer than 500 undergraduates, with Alliant International University in California totaling the lowest at 249, according to U.S. News data.

Below is a list of the 10 colleges that enrolled the most undergraduates in fall 2020. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report. Several of the institutions on the list included enrollment from their other campuses due to their integrated institutional structure.

SCHOOL (STATE) FALL 2020 UNDERGRADUATE ENROLLMENT U.S. NEWS RANK AND CATEGORY
Arizona State University 63,124 117 (tie), National Universities
University of Central Florida 61,456 148 (tie), National Universities
Texas A&M University 55,568 68 (tie), National Universities
Florida International University 48,664 162 (tie), National Universities
Liberty University (VA) 47,988 299-391, National Universities
University of Maryland Global Campus 47,080 131-171, Regional Universities North
Ohio State University–Columbus 46,984 49 (tie), National Universities
University of Texas at Austin 40,048 38 (tie), National Universities
Pennsylvania State University–University Park 39,809 63 (tie), National Universities
University of Houston 39,165 179 (tie), National Universities

Don’t see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find admissions and retention statistics, complete rankings and much more. Sign up for the U.S. News Extra Help: College Admissions free email newsletter to receive expert advice twice a month.

U.S. News surveyed more than 1,850 colleges and universities for our 2021 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported myriad data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News’ data the most accurate and detailed collection of college facts and figures of its kind. While U.S. News uses much of this survey data to rank schools for our annual Best Colleges rankings, the data can also be useful when examined on a smaller scale. U.S. News will now produce lists of data, separate from the overall rankings, meant to provide students and parents a means to find which schools excel, or have room to grow, in specific areas that are important to them. While the data comes from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News’ rankings of Best Colleges, Best Graduate Schools or Best Online Programs. The undergraduate enrollment data above is correct as of Oct. 26, 2021.

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10 Colleges With the Most Undergraduate Students originally appeared on usnews.com

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