Which State Has the Most Colleges (2024 Edition)

The United States comprises 50 states with different histories, characters, Cultures, and educational systems and institutions. Different state approaches education differently.

Thousands of Colleges and universities are present in the different states of the United States and comprise both public and private colleges. U.S. students attend public and private universities and colleges, but which state comprises most colleges? 

  • Curious to know about the exact number of colleges in the US? Read our stats here.

To know more about the number of colleges in different states of the United States, go through the statistical data provided in this article. 

Key Findings: States With Most Colleges

Before diving deep into the article, here are some of the key findings you can glance through. 

  1. There are over 6.270 colleges and institutes in the US, among which 1,990 are public colleges, and 4,281 are private colleges.
  2. California in the United States has the most number of schools, with 658 schools, out of which 171 are Public, and 487 are private
  3. Having 4,360 higher education institutions in the United States, 1,582 are two-year colleges, and 2,832 are four-year colleges. 
  4. The states with the lowest number of university and college students are Hawaii, with 23, Nevada, with 38; and Alaska, with 9. (Insurify)
  5. As of 2021, the most educated region in the United States was Washington, DC. (USAFacts)
  6. States like California, Florida, Arizona, and Colorado have the highest enrollment for college students.
  7. Harvard University in Massachusetts has a US rank of 1 and a world university rank of 2 for the year 2023
  8. The total student population in the US in 2023 is around 18,887,557.
  9. The college with the lowest acceptance rate (61.81%) is Rhode Island. 
  10. Wyoming is the highest acceptance rate of 96.78%.

Colleges In Different States Of The U.S.

Based on the data from NCES from 2019-2020, the below table demonstrates the number of colleges on the basis of institution type and duration in different states of the United States. 

State With The Most Colleges - Overview
  1. California, New York, Texas, and Pennsylvania are the states having the most colleges and Universities.

Let’s have a look at the detailed data on the states with the most colleges in the United States.

StateTotal Number Of CollegesPrivatePublic Four-YearTwo-Year
California 416265151262154
New York2992207923465
Ohio 1621026011349
Indiana 7458166014
Alabama 6224383626

Source: NCES. 

Number Of Colleges In The United States By State.

To know the number of schools or colleges in different states of the United States, refer to the table provided below.

The following data demonstrates six states with the highest number of schools and six states with the lowest number of schools in the United States, along with their acceptance rates and graduation rates for the year 2024.

Number Of Colleges
StatesNumber of SchoolsPublic Private Acceptance Rate.SAT scoreGraduation Rate. 
New York 41811635968.99%1,23254.77%
Florida 3859733172.19%1,13155.82%
Ohio285109200 73.02%1,13550.94%
Hawaii 23111686.64%1,14145.06%
District of Columbia 2622463.25%1,27763.54%

Rhode Island 
Delaware 2371673.01%1,24849.33%
Vermont 2271570.85%1,27957.54%
Wyoming 108296.78%45.67%
Alaska 106471.51%1,23537.50%


States With Higher Education Institutions For The Academic Year 2020-2021. 

Along with having the most number of colleges by state, California has the highest number of educational institutions. 

To know the number of four-year and two-year colleges in different States of the United States, Go through the data provided below. 

  1. California has the highest number of colleges, with 247 four-year colleges and 137 two-year colleges. 
States Number Of Four-Year CollegesA Number Of Two-Year Colleges. 
New York22558
Ohio 10748
Wyoming 18
Alaska 62
Rhode Island121

Source: Statista

States With Top-Ranked Universities. 

All higher education institutions have strengths and weaknesses, and taking the rankings into consideration helps in the selection of the top-notch University or college. 

Top-Ranked Universities
  1. California, in the U.S., has the maximum number of top-ranked Universities like Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, University of California Berkeley, etc.

To determine the states with top-ranked universities or colleges, check out the following data. 

StateCityUniversityUS Rank 2024World University Rank 2024 
MassachusettsCambridgeHarvard University 12
CaliforniaStanfordStanford University 23
MassachusettsCambridgeMassachusetts Institute of Technology 35
CaliforniaPasadena California Institute of Technology. 46
New JerseyPrincetonPrinceton University 57
CaliforniaBerkeleyUniversity of California, Berkeley68
ConnecticutNew Haven Yale University 79
New YorkCity of New York Columbia University 811
IllinoisChicagoThe University of Chicago913
Pennsylvania PhiladelphiaUniversity of Pennsylvania 1014

Source: Times Higher Education

States With The Highest College Enrollments. 

  1. Alaska has 19,394 college enrollments, whereas the college enrollment in Connecticut was demonstrated to be 167,120.

To determine the college enrollments for states with the highest college enrollments in the U.S., here is the enrollment data provided below.  (2022)

State College Enrollment 
New York2,062,381
North Carolina1,192,976

14. The number of college students in the United States has been growing steadily for many years. In Fall 2022, there were over 17 million students enrolled in college, up from just over 10 million in Fall 1990.

15. Public institutions enrolled more students (14.1 million) than private nonprofits and for-profits combined (5.6 million total) in 2020.

Most Educated States. 

Education is crucial as it helps boost the country’s economic growth, promotes peace and gender equality, and ends poverty. 

Over the past decades, the rate of individuals receiving an education has been on an upward trend as more people are graduating and pursuing education from top-notch Universities and colleges. 

To get an insight into the top most educated States in the U.S., scroll down to the below table. 

RankState% of Adults with Bachlor’s Degree or Higher
4New Jersey40.7%
8New Hampshire37.6%
9New York37.5%
16. Massachusetts is the most educated state, with 43.4% of residents holding a bachelor’s degree or higher. This is over 16 percentage points above the national average of 27.5%.

According to the US news and world report, below are the top 10 most educated states in the United States for the year 2021. 

  1. The graduation rate of Colorado (39.3%) is slightly less as compared to that of Massachusetts (66.4%) in the United States. 

Source: US news. 

Related Read:

As it can be clearly demonstrated, there are thousands of Universities and colleges in different states of the United States, so if you are in the process of exploring colleges or universities, you have many options to check out. 

Go through the above article to get an insight into the highest Univesity population in the States of United States. 

Let us know your thoughts on the article in the comments section below. 


Which state has the most number of colleges?

California in the United States has the most number of colleges. Not only have a maximum number of colleges, but California also has top-ranked institutions. 

Which State has the most NCAA colleges? 

Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, and Texas are the states with the most NCAA colleges in the United States. 

Which state has the least number of colleges?

Alaska, Delaware, and Wyoming are some of the states in the U.S. with the least number of colleges. 

Ryan Harris

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