How Many Colleges are in the US?

Curious as to how many higher education institutes exist in the US? Find out how many colleges exist throughout the country.

How Many Colleges are in the US?

There are approximately 5,300 colleges and universities in the United States.

These colleges and universities range from private Ivy League research universities like Harvard University to beauty schools.

All of the colleges and universities are often referred to collectively as “the American higher-education system.”


Number of Colleges in the US

As of 2021, there were 4,726 higher education institutions in the United States. This includes both two-year and four-year schools, as well as for-profit and nonprofit institutions.

In the United States, the term “college” refers to all higher education institutions; an institution designated as a “university” generally confers undergraduate and graduate degrees.

In 2021, the United States had 3,026 four-year institutions and 1,700 two-year institutions.

There are 1,623 public schools and 3,103 private schools; 1,451 of the private schools are for-profit.

In the United States, there are 3,275 nonprofit public and private institutions of higher learning.

Breakdown of Colleges in the US

As of the 2019-20 academic year, the U.S. has 3,982 degree-granting postsecondary institutions.

This means they grant associate or higher degrees and participate in Title IV federal financial aid programs.

Number of Colleges by State

California, New York, Texas, and Pennsylvania are among the states with the most schools and universities.

Each state has more than 200 institutions, and California is the only state to have more than 300.

Three of these four states — California, New York, and Texas, serve over 1 million school students.

California and Texas are also home to three of the largest public university systems in the U.S.: the University of California, California State University, and the University of Texas.

Alaska, Delaware, and Wyoming are among the states with the fewest colleges and universities. Each state has fewer than 10 institutions and serves fewer than 61,000 students.


Number of Colleges by Institution Type

Colleges and universities are categorized in a multitude of ways. They can be public or private, nonprofit or for-profit, etc.

Number of Colleges (Public vs. Private)

Public universities are funded by local and state governments, primarily through taxes, whereas private colleges are funded through tuition, private donations, and endowments.

Number of Colleges (Private Nonprofit vs. for-Profit)

Private nonprofit schools are publicly owned and supported by tuition, government funds, and donations.

They are the most prevalent type of higher education institution in the United States.

Private corporations own private for-profit schools. They are funded by tuition and fees, just like nonprofit institutions, but in different ways.

For-profit schools spend the majority of their funds on marketing and recruiting rather than educational programs.

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CSN Team.

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