Higher-education institutions with largest enrollments, Fall 2013

Sept. 1, 2015
The 50 colleges and universities in the United States that reported the largest numbers of students enrolled in the Fall 2013 semester.

As it has for several years, the for-profit, online college University of Phoenix reported the largest student enrollment among U.S. higher education institutions in fall 2013.

Because they are not limited by physical space requirements or geographical proximity to a campus, institutions with robust online programs have been able to quickly move to the top of the list of higher-education enrollments. For those same reasons, the enrollments of those school can fluctuate significantly from year to year--the University of Phoenix's reported fall 2013 enrollment of more than 212,000 was more than twice as large as the next school on the list, but the number of students also was more than 44,000 fewer than the previous year.

The enrollment numbers for colleges and universities also may be affected by how an institution decides to report the data. Some schools, such as many community college systems, combine enrollments from several campuses, and others report separate totals for each location.

The institutions with the largest student enrollment in fall 2013 represent 19 states. As with K-12 school district enrollment, the states with the most population hae the most representation on the list: Florida and Texas have eight colleges and universities among the 50 largest, and California has six.

The Big Ten Conference has the greatest number of schools among the 50 largest in fall 2013. Of the 14 institutions in the conference, 11 of them are among the 50 largest.

--Mike Kennedy

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