What State Has the Most Colleges?

Find out which state has the most colleges in the U.S.

What State Has the Most Colleges?
Dana Andreea Gheorghe

There are thousands of colleges and universities in the United States. However, their distribution across the country is very uneven. Some states, even geographically small ones like Massachusetts, can have significantly more colleges than a geographically large state like Nevada. Naturally, a state with a large population is likely to have more colleges than states with small populations. But the correlation between population and the number of colleges isn’t always directly related.

So, what state has the most colleges? BrokeScholar turned to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) in order to answer this question. Based on the criteria of institutions awarding bachelor’s degrees and being either four-year public or four-year not-for-profit private schools, we have been able to discern which state has the most colleges. 

Read on to find out which state has the most colleges as well as relevant details like average cost of tuition, graduation rates, and more.

What State Has the Most Colleges?

We’ve compiled a list of the 15 states with the most four-year public and not-for-profit private colleges that award bachelor's degrees. To a large extent, the states with the largest populations also had the most colleges. The state with the most colleges is New York state, with 190 colleges and universities that are four-year public and nonprofit private institutions. California, which is the largest state by population, came in second place with 151 institutions. Florida, the third largest state, came in sixth place with 92 colleges and universities. Meanwhile, Massachusetts, which doesn’t rank among the 10 states with the largest populations, came in seventh place with 78 institutions.

1. New York

Number of colleges in New York: 190

Top New York Colleges by Graduation Rate:

College or University

Undergraduate Population

Graduation Rate

Yeshiva of Ocean

36

100%

Columbia University

8,832

97%

Boricua College

377

94%

Cornell University

15,503

94%

Associated Beth Rivkah Schools

277

93%

Barnard College

3,043

93%

Vassar College

2,516

93%

Hamilton College

2,055

92%

Colgate University

3,164

90%

Jewish Theological Seminary of America

144

87%

New York University

28,772

87%

The Juilliard School

602

87%

2. California

Number of colleges in California: 151

Top California Colleges by Graduation Rate:

College or University

Undergraduate Population

Graduation Rate

California Jazz Conservatory

23

100%

Haven University

35

100%

Presbyterian Theological Seminary in America

41

100%

Southern California University of Health Sciences

545

100%

World Mission University

179

100%

Stanford University

7,645

96%

Harvey Mudd College

905

94%

California Institute of Technology

987

93%

Claremont McKenna College

1,416

93%

Pomona College

1,764

93%

University of California-Berkeley

31,814

93%

University of California-Los Angeles

32,122

92%

University of Southern California

20,790

92%

Santa Clara University

5,895

91%

Soka University of America

435

91%

3. Pennsylvania

Number of colleges in Pennsylvania: 110

Top Pennsylvania Colleges by Graduation Rate:

College or University

Undergraduate Population

Graduation Rate

University of Pennsylvania

11,292

96%

Swarthmore College

1,651

94%

Carnegie Mellon University

6,932

93%

Villanova University

7,032

91%

Haverford College

1,420

90%

Bucknell University

3,724

88%

Grove City College

2,306

88%

Lafayette College

2,725

88%

Bryn Mawr College

1,423

87%

Lehigh University

5,451

87%

3. Texas

Number of colleges in Pennsylvania: 110

Top Texas Colleges by Graduation Rate:

College or University

Undergraduate Population

Graduation Rate

Baptist Missionary Association Theological Seminary

51

100%

Rice University

4,247

92%

The University of Texas at Austin

40,916

88%

Texas A & M University-College Station

56,723

83%

Texas Christian University

10,222

83%

Baylor University

15,191

82%

Southern Methodist University

6,908

82%

Trinity University

2,527

80%

Southwestern University

1,504

74%

Parker University

466

73%

5. Ohio

Number of colleges in Ohio: 104

Top Ohio Colleges by Graduation Rate:

College or University

Undergraduate Population

Graduation Rate

Ohio State University-Main Campus

47,106

88%

Kenyon College

1,875

87%

Case Western Reserve University

5,792

84%

Good Samaritan College of Nursing and Health Science

305

83%

Lakewood University

105

83%

Miami University-Oxford

17,003

83%

Oberlin College

2,942

82%

Denison University

2,321

81%

Mount Carmel College of Nursing

621

81%

University of Dayton

8,637

80%

The College of Wooster

1,968

77%

John Carroll University

2,660

76%

Ohio Northern University

2,426

76%

6. Florida

Number of colleges in Florida: 92

Top Florida Colleges by Graduation Rate:

College or University

Undergraduate Population

Graduation Rate

St. John Vianney College Seminary

37

100%

Faith Theological Seminary and Christian College

80

92%

University of Florida

34,876

91%

University of Miami

12,089

84%

Florida State University

33,593

83%

Ringling College of Art and Design

1,663

80%

University of Central Florida

59,996

75%

University of South Florida

38,011

75%

University of Florida-Online

5,168

72%

Rollins College

2,510

71%

7. Massachusetts

Number of colleges in Massachusetts: 78

Top Massachusetts Colleges by Graduation Rate:

College or University

Undergraduate Population

Graduation Rate

Laboure College

1,038

100%

Franklin W Olin College of Engineering

382

97%

Harvard University

9,579

97%

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

4,638

96%

Babson College

2,576

94%

Tufts University

6,676

94%

Williams College

2,174

94%

College of the Holy Cross

3,029

93%

Amherst College

1,971

92%

Wellesley College

2,461

92%

Boston College

9,955

91%

Northeastern University

15,747

91%

Smith College

2,566

91%

Boston University

18,229

89%

Bentley University

3,996

88%

Brandeis University

3,591

88%

8. Illinois

Number of colleges in Illinois: 73

Top Illinois Colleges by Graduation Rate:

College or University

Undergraduate Population

Graduation Rate

Saint Anthony College of Nursing

189

100%

Trinity College of Nursing & Health Sciences

108

100%

St. Augustine College

737

99%

University of Chicago

7,636

96%

Northwestern University

8,847

95%

Wheaton College

2,341

88%

Principia College

321

86%

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

34,779

85%

Illinois Wesleyan University

1,653

81%

Augustana College

2,338

79%

Bradley University

4,331

76%

9. North Carolina

Number of colleges in North Carolina: 63

Top North Carolina Colleges by Graduation Rate:

College or University

Undergraduate Population

Graduation Rate

Duke University

6,883

96%

Davidson College

1,973

90%

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

19,845

90%

Wake Forest University

5,472

90%

North Carolina State University at Raleigh

26,505

84%

Elon University

6,302

83%

Cabarrus College of Health Sciences

438

79%

Manna University

184

75%

Appalachian State University

18,555

73%

University of North Carolina Wilmington

14,488

72%

High Point University

4,910

70%

University of North Carolina School of the Arts

938

70%

Meredith College

1,427

68%

10. Georgia

Number of colleges in Georgia: 57

Top Georgia Colleges by Graduation Rate:

College or University

Undergraduate Population

Graduation Rate

Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus

17,461

92%

Emory University

7,130

90%

University of Georgia

30,166

88%

Spelman College

2,417

76%

Agnes Scott College

1,063

75%

Mercer University

4,941

74%

Covenant College

872

73%

Berry College

2,172

72%

Savannah College of Art and Design

12,772

71%

Georgia College & State University

5,586

62%

11. Washington

Number of colleges in Washington: 56

Top Washington Colleges by Graduation Rate:

College or University

Undergraduate Population

Graduation Rate

Whitman College

1,559

89%

Gonzaga University

4,986

85%

University of Washington-Seattle Campus

36,201

84%

Seattle University

4,241

75%

Whitworth University

2,309

75%

University of Puget Sound

1,866

74%

Pacific Lutheran University

2,373

69%

Western Washington University

14,019

68%

Seattle Pacific University

2,640

66%

University of Washington-Bothell Campus

5,454

66%

Walla Walla University

1,402

64%

Saint Martin's University

1,358

61%

12. Missouri

Number of colleges in Missouri: 55

Top Missouri Colleges by Graduation Rate:

College or University

Undergraduate Population

Graduation Rate

Southeast Missouri Hospital College of Nursing and Health Sciences

158

100%

Washington University in St Louis

8,034

93%

Saint Louis University

8,745

80%

University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis

255

77%

Rockhurst University

2,704

74%

Maryville University of Saint Louis

5,685

73%

University of Missouri-Columbia

23,696

73%

Truman State University

3,890

72%

Cottey College

303

67%

Ozark Christian College

559

66%

Ranken Technical College

1,826

65%

William Jewell College

779

65%

13. Michigan

Number of colleges in Michigan: 53

Top Michigan Colleges by Graduation Rate:

College or University

Undergraduate Population

Graduation Rate

Sacred Heart Major Seminary

190

100%

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

32,282

94%

Hillsdale College

1,515

88%

Michigan State University

38,574

82%

Hope College

3,132

81%

Compass College of Film and Media

74

78%

Calvin University

3,068

77%

Kalamazoo College

1,241

76%

Andrews University

1,358

72%

Kettering University

1,516

70%

14. New Jersey

Number of colleges in New Jersey: 52

Top New Jersey Colleges by Graduation Rate:

College or University

Undergraduate Population

Graduation Rate

Princeton University

5,321

98%

Yeshiva Gedola Tiferes Yerachmiel

167

94%

Yeshiva Gedola Tiferes Yaakov Yitzchok

68

88%

Stevens Institute of Technology

4,064

87%

The College of New Jersey

6,959

87%

Rutgers University-New Brunswick

36,152

84%

Yeshiva Gedolah of Woodlake Village

90

77%

Stockton University

8,392

76%

Yeshiva Chemdas Hatorah

85

76%

Drew University

1,634

74%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

9,183

74%

Ramapo College of New Jersey

5,145

72%

Seton Hall University

6,063

72%

Rutgers University-Camden

4,856

71%

15. Indiana

Number of colleges in Indiana: 51

Top Indiana Colleges by Graduation Rate:

College or University

Undergraduate Population

Graduation Rate

Horizon University

38

100%

Mid-America College of Funeral Service

271

97%

University of Notre Dame

8,973

96%

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

2,081

87%

Butler University

4,537

84%

DePauw University

1,724

83%

Purdue University-Main Campus

37,806

83%

Wabash College

840

83%

Indiana University-Bloomington

34,253

81%

Taylor University

1,944

77%

Saint Mary's College

1,402

74%

Valparaiso University

2,507

74%

Earlham College

658

73%

The Bottom Line on the States With the Most Colleges

Thus, when it comes to the question, “what state has the most colleges?”, the answer is New York state. California has the second greatest number of colleges, followed by Pennsylvania and Texas, which both have 110. There are several schools that have 100% graduation rates, but they are also specialized schools with very few undergraduate students. Many topnotch public and not-for-profit private colleges rank among the schools with the highest graduation rates. And many of the nation’s best schools can be found in states with the most colleges. Many of these schools have scholarships that you can find on BrokeScholar, which, if you win them, can seriously reduce the cost of attending college there.