10 Universities With the Largest Undergraduate Populations

Delece Smith-Barrow

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: College and The Short List: Grad School to find data that matters to you in your college or grad school search.

Going to college may be increasingly expensive, but the cost hasn't deterred thousands of students from enrolling. Between 1992 and 1998, undergraduate enrollment was stable, but it increased by 37 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Universities with a large undergraduate enrollment usually offer hundreds of clubs, intramural sports and other activities to keep students engaged. Arizona State University, for example, has 850 registered student clubs for the 59,382 undergraduates enrolled in fall 2012, according to the results of a spring 2013 survey by U.S. News. The school had the largest undergraduate enrollment for a traditional brick-and-mortar school, according to data submitted to U.S. News by 1,248 ranked schools.

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Other schools with large undergraduate enrollment include University of Central Florida with 50,968 students, Ohio State University--Columbus with 43,058 students and Texas A&M University--College Station, which had 40,103 undergrads.

DeVry University, a for-profit school, had the largest undergraduate enrollment overall with 59,484 students.

Of the 10 schools with the most undergrads, the average number of enrolled students was 45,320. Among all 1,248 schools that submitted data to U.S. News, the average was 6,218.

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Eight of the 10 schools are categorized as National Universities, which means they offer a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees and are committing to doing groundbreaking research.

College of St. Joseph in Vermont had the fewest undergraduates in fall 2012, with just 179 students.

Below is a list of the 10 universities with the highest undergraduate enrollment. Unranked schools, which did not meet certain criteria required by U.S. News to be numerically ranked, were not considered for this report.

School name (state) Fall 2012 undergraduate student enrollment U.S. News rank and category
DeVry University (IL) 59,484 RNP*, Regional Universities (Midwest)
Arizona State University 59,382 142, National Universities
University of Central Florida 50,968 170, National Universities
Liberty University (VA) 46,133 89, Regional Universities (South)
Ohio State University--Columbus 43,058 52, National Universities
Texas A&M University--College Station 40,103 69, National Universities
University of Texas--Austin 39,955 52, National Universities
Pennsylvania State University--University Park 39,192 37, National Universities
Florida International University 37,468 RNP, National Universities
Michigan State University 37,454 73, National Universities

*RNP denotes an institution that is ranked in the bottom one-fourth of its ranking category. U.S. News calculates a rank for the school but has decided not to publish it.

Don't see your school in the top 10? Access the U.S. News College Compass to find undergraduate enrollment data, complete rankings and much more. School officials can access historical data and rankings, including of peer institutions, via U.S. News Academic Insights.

U.S. News surveyed nearly 1,800 colleges and universities for our 2013 survey of undergraduate programs. Schools self-reported a myriad of data regarding their academic programs and the makeup of their student body, among other areas, making U.S. News's 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 come from the schools themselves, these lists are not related to, and have no influence over, U.S. News's rankings of Best Colleges or Best Graduate Schools. The undergraduate enrollment data above are correct as of Dec. 3, 2013.