10 Largest Universities In The United States

The United States has approximately 5,300 universities and colleges, including about 4,500 institutions that offer higher education. Texas, New York, California, and Pennsylvania are the four states with the highest number of universities. The US universities offer over two million courses under their 4-year and 2-year institution programs. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are about 20 million students in US colleges. Although Harvard University, Stanford University, and the University of Chicago are some of the country’s top universities, they are not the largest higher education institutions by student enrolment. Below are the US largest universities by enrolment as of 2020/21.

1. University Of Central Florida - 71,948 students

University of Central Florida
UCF College of Medicine in Orlando, Florida, located on the University's Health Sciences Campus in the Lake Nona neighborhood of Orlando. Editorial credit: JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock.com

The University of Central Florida (UCF) is the US's largest public university by student enrolment, with 71,948 students enrolled in the various courses as of the Fall 2020 semester. Founded on June 10, 1963 and nicknamed the Golden Knights, the university is located in Orlando, Orange County, Florida. It is one of the 12 public universities in the state that forms the State University System of Florida. About 85% of the students (61,456) are undergraduates, and 10,000 are professional and graduate students. The university’s enrolment has increased by about 114%, from 33,453 in 2000 to over 71,000 in 2021. Currently, female students account for 55% of the total enrolment. 

2. Texas A&M University - 71,109 students

Texas A And M uNIV
The Academic Building at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. Editorial credit: ShengYing Lin / Shutterstock.com

Texas A&M University, one of the founders of the Texas A&M University System, educates 71,109 students as of 2021. The university hosts students from 124 foreign countries and all 50 US states. However, Texas residents are the majority, accounting for about 85% of the total student enrolment. This public land-grant research university was founded in 1876 as Agriculture and Mechanical College of Texas and was the state’s first public college. A&M is best-known for veterinary medicine. However, it also offers programs in engineering, business, and education. The main campus is located in College Station, Texas, and spans over 21 square kilometers, making it one of the US' ten largest campuses.

3. Ohio State University - 61,369 students

Ohio State University
University Hall on the campus of The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. Editorial credit: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

With a student enrollment of about 61,369 at the Columbus Campus, the Ohio State University is definitely one of the country’s largest universities. The OSU is a Public Ivy and one of the best public universities in US, boasting over 7,310 academic staff and 27,158 administrative staff. This public land-grant research school was founded in 1870 as Ohio’s 9th university under the name "Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College,” focusing on mechanical and agricultural disciplines. The Ohio General Assembly changed the school’s name to “Ohio State University" in 1878 and broadened its scope. 

4. Florida International University - 58,928 students

Florida International University
Aerial view of the Florida International University, South Campus, Miami, Florida. Editorial credit: Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock.com

Florida International University is Florida’s second-largest higher education institution after the University of Central Florida and the country’s 4th largest university by student enrolment. Founded in 1965, the university has grown to become the largest public research university in South Florida by enrolment. As of the 2020-21 academic year, the Florida International University has enrolled 58,928 students in its main campus and other regional centers. The main campus, which accounts for about 87% of the university’s total student enrollment, is located in the University Park, Miami, while the Biscayne Bay Campus is in North Miami. Undergraduate students account for about 71% of the total enrolment.

5. University Of Florida - 57,841 students

University of Florida
Students walk outside on the Quad lawn of the University of Florida college campus in Gainesville, Florida. Editorial credit: Leigh Trail / Shutterstock.com 

The University of Florida is a member of the State University System of Florida and is considered as the 5th best university in the United States, according to the US News & World Report, 2021. It is Florida’s third-largest university by student enrolment after University of Central Florida and Florida International University, with 57,841 students. The majority of the students (about 67%) are undergraduate students, 28% are graduate and professional students, and about 5% of the student population are unclassified. Out of the total student population, some 4,000 are undertaking their studies through the online system. The UF was founded in 1853 and has been operating in the City of Gainesville since 1906.

6. The University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign - 56,299 students

University of Illinois
Students walk and sit outside on Quad lawn of University of Illinois college campus in Urbana-Champaign. Editorial credit: Leigh Trail / Shutterstock.com

University of Illinois is a public land-grant research university in Urbana and Champaign and a founder member of the University of Illinois System. Educating about 56,299 students, it is the country’s 6th largest public university by student enrollment. The university admits students from all 50 US states and over 100 foreign countries. There are over 10,000 international students, most of which are Mainland Chinese. About 55% of the total students at the university are male, and 45% are female. Founded in 1867, the U of I, Illinois is a Public Ivy offering over 250 undergraduate and graduate programs. 

7. Georgia State University - 53,737 students

Georgia state university
Georgia State University Campus. Editorial credit: Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock.com

Georgia State University (GSU) is a public research university located in Atlanta, Georgia, and a member of the University System of Georgia. It is the US 7th largest public university by student population, with about 53,737 undergraduate and graduate students. Of the total number of students, about 33,000 are enrolled at the main campus in downtown Atlanta. The University of Georgia offers more than 250 graduate and undergraduate degree programs in more than 100 fields. The GSU was established in 1913 and nicknamed Panthers.

8. Arizona State University - 52,386 students

Arizona state university
A student on a bicycle rides past Victorian-style Old Main, one of the original Normal School buildings, built in 1898, on Arizona State University Tempe campus. Editorial credit: PICTOR PICTURE COMPANY / Shutterstock.com

Arizona State University (ASU) is a public research university with four campuses within the Phoenix metropolitan area. Established in 1885, the university is part of the Universities Research Association, offering over 300 undergraduate degree programs and 400 certificate and graduate programs. Although ASU has enrolled over 150,000 students, only about 56,400 students study at the Tempe Campus (main campus). Approximately 11,360 students study at the Phoenix Downtown campus, 5,200 at the polytechnic campus, and 54,000 attending online classes. The university has a rich faculty, comprising Pulitzer Prize winners, Nobel laureates, National Academy of Science members, and MacArthur Fellows.

9. University Of Minnesota-Twin Cities - 52,017 students

University of Minnesota
Tate Laboratory on the campus of the University of Minnesota. Editorial credit: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com

The University of Minnesota is a public land-grant research university located in the twin cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Established in 1851, the Twin Cities Campus is the University of Minnesota system’s largest and oldest university campus and comprises grounds in the two cities. It is the country’s 9th largest main campus by student enrollment, with 52,017 students. The Twin Cities campus has over 300 education, research, and outreach institutes and centers. The majority of the students (63%) who have enrolled at the University of Minnesota are Minnesota residents.

10. The University Of Texas At Austin - 51,832 students

University of texas
College students at the University of Texas at Austin. Editorial credit: stock_photo_world / Shutterstock.com

About 51,832 students have enrolled for their higher education at the University of Texas at Austin, making it the 10th largest university by student population. Established on September 15, 1883, UT Austin has the country’s 7th largest academic museum, capable of holding more than nine million volumes. The majority of the students who have enrolled at the university are ethnically whites (39%), followed by Hispanic Americans (23%), and Asian Americans (20%). The university has students from over 120 foreign countries and all 50 states.

Ranking University Location Enrollment

1

University of Central Florida

Orlando, Florida

71,948

2

Texas A&M University

College Station, Texas

71,109

3

Ohio State University

Columbus, Ohio

61,369

4

Florida International University

Miami, Florida

58,928

5

University of Florida

Gainesville, Florida

57,841

6

University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign

Urbana/Champaign, Illinois

56,299

7

Georgia State University

Atlanta, Georgia

53,737

8

Arizona State University

Tempe, Arizona

52,386

9

University of Minnesota

Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota

52,017

10

University of Texas at Austin

Austin, Texas

51,832

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