When you start to think about colleges, there are many factors that play into this important decision. You might narrow your options down by thinking about the size of the college. For many people, medium-sized colleges are the perfect balance between diversity and individual attention. Some small colleges have a more homogeneous population, while a medium-sized college is more likely to have students from a wider range of backgrounds. A large college might have a very diverse population but be too large for a high level of individual attention.
If this balance between size and diversity in student population is important to you, these are 20 of the most diverse medium-sized colleges in the United States. For more information and to dive into our numbers and methodology, read our study, Most Diverse Medium-Sized Colleges.
1. California State University – East Bay
California State University – East Bay is located in the Bay Area of California and is part of the California State University system. The school's total enrollment in 2017 was just over 15,000 students, with about 13,000 undergraduate students. Popular undergraduate majors include health science, criminal justice and pre-nursing. In 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked the school as #1 for ethnic diversity in regional universities of the West. The undergraduate student body in 2017 was about 10 percent African American, 23 percent Asian, 34 percent Hispanic and 15 percent Caucasian. Notable alumni of Cal State East Bay include Mark Mastrov, founder of the 24 Hour Fitness chain of gyms and Nancy O'Malley, district attorney of Alameda County.
2. Stony Brook University
Stony Brook University, located on Long Island, New York, enrolled just over 17,000 undergraduate students in 2017. Twenty-four percent of those students were Asian, about 6 percent were African American, 12 percent were Hispanic and 33 percent were Caucasian. Additionally, 14 percent of students were listed as nonresident aliens. Stony Brook University tracks the demographics of its students carefully and places a priority on using data to drive diversity and decision making on campus. In 2018, the college was ranked as one of the top 20 best value public colleges by Forbes magazine, and in the fall of 2016, 94 percent of their recent bachelor's degree graduates were either employed or enrolled in graduate school. Notable academic programs include their School of Dental Medicine and the College of Engineering.
3. University of Nevada – Las Vegas
While you might think of Las Vegas as the city of bright lights, the University of Nevada – Las Vegas is working on inspiring minds. The school emphasizes rigorous research as well as diversity. They have the distinction of being the first four-year institution in Nevada to reach a 25 percent Hispanic enrollment, and more than half of the students in the school report being part of a minority group. The Intersection is a multicultural center dedicated to promoting inclusion and supporting both students of color and first-generation college students. With 24,000 undergraduate students, this is a larger university, and popular majors include education and urban affairs.
4. St John's University – New York
St. John's University is distinctive for its designation as a Roman Catholic university, and it sponsors an interfaith dialogue each year geared toward increasing understanding between those of various faiths. Their Office of Equity and Inclusion emphasizes training staff to foster a more inclusive climate while advocating for disadvantaged groups of people. A reporting form on their website encourages students to speak out about any concerning incidents that occur. St. John's University enrolls 16,000 undergraduate students and is notable for its College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, as well as for having a significant increase in the percentage of law students who pass the bar exam.
5. The University of Texas at Arlington
The University of Texas at Arlington has the distinction of having been ranked fifth among national universities for undergraduate ethnic diversity in 2018. In 2017, they were ranked first in Texas for bachelor's and master's degrees awarded to African-American students. Of the 29,000 undergraduate enrollees in 2017, 24 percent were Hispanic, 15 percent were African American and 9 percent were Asian. The University of Texas at Arlington is also highly ranked for being military friendly and for providing flexibility and support to this population. Notable alumni of the university include Kalpana Chawla, astronaut, Roland G. Fryer Jr., economist and Harvard professor and Lauren Lane, actress.
6. CUNY Brooklyn College
CUNY Brooklyn College is another diverse college in New York. Of the 14,000 undergraduate students attending in 2018, 17 percent were Asian, 17 percent were African American and 20 percent were Hispanic. Popular majors at Brooklyn College include psychology and computer science. Brooklyn College prides itself on having students from a wide variety of backgrounds, and students from 138 different countries attend, speaking 90 different languages. Money magazine named Brooklyn College one of the top 50 in the United States in 2017. Studying abroad is a popular option at Brooklyn College, which has students studying in places as diverse as China, England and Israel. Every degree program has an option and opportunity to study abroad.
7. Valencia College
Valencia College in Orlando, Florida is a relatively young college. It was founded in 1967 as Valencia Junior College and became Valencia College in 2011 when they began offering bachelor's degrees. Valencia College is one of the largest community colleges in the United States and ranks as one of the best. Valencia is committed to welcoming all students, including those who are undocumented. Their Enrollment Services office can help with applications and other questions about enrollment. Other services designed to help students make the most of their college time include the career center, free academic tutoring and the New Student Experience course.
8. Cornell University
Cornell University in New York works toward increasing diversity and access for all minorities. Of the 15,000 undergraduate students who attended in 2017, 43 percent were minorities and 11 percent were international students. Cornell prides itself on being a caring community, and its Notice and Respond program encourages students to watch out for each other and to reach out to students who appear to be struggling or in distress. Cornell maintains several universal bathrooms across campus and prides itself on acceptance of LGBTQ+ students. Campus safety is also a priority, and the campus Big Red Shuttle runs on Friday and Saturday nights to help students who need a safe ride home.
9. Santa Monica College
Santa Monica College, located in Santa Monica, California, is a two-year community college with a strong transfer program. The college holds the distinction of transferring the most students to four-year universities in California. Thirty-four thousand students attend Santa Monica College, and about 3,300 of those are international students. The school's Adelante Program focuses on supporting Latino students and offers specific classes, language support and networking opportunities for students who qualify. The campus Brother to Brother program pairs male college students with male students from nearby John Adams Middle School. Its purpose is to expose middle-school students to positive male role models.
10. CUNY Bernard M. Baruch College
Baruch College in Manhattan, New York is located near Wall Street and other hot spots for business and finance. The 18,000 students who attend Baruch College benefit from this easy access to networking and internship opportunities. Baruch College has been repeatedly recognized by the Princeton Review as the most ethnically diverse college in the nation, and its students hail from a wide range of countries. Popular degrees at Baruch College include business and international affairs. The college's Early Learning Center provides child care services for students who would otherwise be unable to attend college. Notable alumni of Baruch College include Jennifer Lopez and Ralph Lauren.
11. CUNY Hunter College
Hunter College is also in Manhattan, but it is larger than other CUNY colleges, with a student population of 23,000. Hunter College is one of the oldest colleges in the country. Popular programs at Hunter College include education, nursing and social work. More than a third of Hunter College students are the first in their families to attend college, and the school prides itself on the notable achievements of its alumni. In order to help its students be well-rounded, the Hunter Core requirement has students taking 10 courses that fulfill requirements for knowledge in topics including English composition, creative expression and world culture.
12. University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is a private university located in Los Angeles, California. Of the 45,000 total students who attended the university in 2017, 11,000 were designated as international students. Sixteen percent of students are Asian, 5 percent are African American and 14 percent are Hispanic. Of the students who apply to the university, 16 percent are admitted. Campus groups are popular, and there are over 70 different cultural organizations and 80 student-run religious organizations. The university business school, USC Marshall, is the first top-ranked business school to achieve gender parity in its MBA program. The university prides itself on its international presence and offers academic programs, faculty exchanges and study-abroad programs around the world.
13. CUNY Queens College
Queens College in Flushing, New York is a liberal arts college dedicated to learning and service. At Queens College, 41 percent of the 2016 incoming freshman class were Asian, 5 percent were African American and 18 percent were Hispanic. Over 9,000 international students come from over 100 different countries. Students at Queens College can choose from a variety of education programs, including an individually designed major or minor in LGBTQ studies. Graduate students can also choose to pursue a degree in women's, gender and sexuality studies. Teacher education is also a popular area of study at Queens College, with over 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in education programs.
14. CUNY City College
City College of New York had an enrollment of almost 14,000 students in 2017. Of those students, 3,600 were Asian, 2,500 were African American and 6,000 were Hispanic. There is a large international population at City College, and 93 percent of the countries in the world are represented at the school. Popular majors are engineering and social science. With an eye toward campus safety, the Care Team aims to identify and support students who may be displaying warning signs toward disruption or violent behavior. City College bills itself as a green college that actively works to reduce its carbon footprint and be environmentally sound.
15. University of California – Santa Cruz
The University of California – Santa Cruz is part of the University of California system, and 16,000 undergraduates attended UC Santa Cruz in 2016. In 2017, U.S. News & World Report listed UC Santa Cruz among its top 50 global universities. In 2016, 22 percent of the students who attended the university were Asian, 2 percent were African American and 31 percent were Hispanic. The university's Black Experience Team aims to improve the experience of African Americans on campus and to increase the diversity of the student population. The university has an enthusiastic mascot in Sammy the Banana Slug. Popular majors on campus include engineering and computer design.
16. University of Illinois at Chicago
The University of Illinois at Chicago is located in the heart of Chicago, Illinois. The university culture centers represent the diversity present at the university. There are more than 6,000 international students at UIC. The university has its origins as a medical college, and medicine is still a strong focus there, with the hospital nearby for hands-on experience. Social justice is also a popular area of study, and students can choose to complete a minor in social justice or a major or minor in gender and women's studies. Students can also complete degrees in disability and human development. The office of Student Veteran Affairs aims to support undergraduate or graduate students with military backgrounds. The school was named to the 2014 military-friendly schools list.
17. Broward College
Broward College is located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Of the 61,000 students who attended Broward College in 2017, 3 percent were Asian, 31 percent were African American and 35 percent were Hispanic, while 47 percent of the student population consisted of first-generation college students. Broward's Minority Male Initiative is committed to closing the achievement gap for minority male students by providing additional support when needed. The college also offers child care assistance through their highly ranked Laboratory School for students who have young children. Popular majors at Broward include business and manufacturing, and the school has a strong dual-enrollment program to enable high school students to earn college credit while still attending high school.
18. Boston University
Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts is located in the heart of this unique city. Of the 33,000 undergraduate and graduate students attending the university, 7 percent of the students were African American, 17 percent were Asian, 12 percent were Hispanic and 23 percent were international students from over 100 different countries. The university has an active LGBTQ+ community, with a wide variety of campus groups and organizations. There are multiple strong-faith communities on campus, including Catholic, Jewish, Muslim and Hindu student groups, and interfaith communication is encouraged. Boston University offers a strong premedical program for medical, dental or veterinary studies and offers early assurance programs for some highly qualified students who wish to be doctors.
19. CUNY New York City College of Technology
The City of New York College of Technology, or City Tech, is the designated technology college in the City of New York college system. Over 17,000 students were enrolled in the college in 2017. Over 50 percent of students at the school are enrolled in the School of Technology and Design, which encompasses majors such as architectural technology and mechanical engineering technology. Thirty-three percent of the student population are Hispanic, 30 percent are African American and 20 percent are Asian. Two percent of the students come from a state other than New York, and 3 percent of the students are from outside the United States. Seventy-three percent of reporting students speak a language other than English at home.
20.University of Hawaii at Manoa
The University of Hawaii at Manoa is the flagship campus in the University of Hawaii educational system. Of the 17,000 undergraduate and graduate students on campus, 66 percent of students are from Hawaii, 28 percent are from out of state and 6 percent of students are international. Thirty-six percent of the student body are Asian, 16 percent are Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 2 percent are Hispanic and 1 percent are African American. Manoa offers a wide variety of programs and student organizations to support the diversity of its student population. The curriculum at Manoa includes a collection of core classes intended to ensure that students take classes from a variety of areas and includes a requirement for students to take courses in Hawaiian language or another second language.
- Cal State East Bay: University Facts
- Stony Brook University: Facts & Rankings
- U.S. News & World Report: UNLV Most Diverse Campus in the Nation
- University of Texas at Arlington: Rankings and Recognition
- Brooklyn College: Spring 2018 Enrollment Snapshot
- Valencia College: History of Valencia College
- Cornell University: University Facts
- Santa Monica College: Welcome to Santa Monica College!
- Baruch College: About Baruch
- Hunter College: Welcome to Hunter College
- University of Southern California: Facts and Figures
- The City College of New York: City Facts
- University of California Santa Cruz: Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
- University of Illinois at Chicago: History
- Broward College: Fast Facts
- Boston University: Community Diversity
- New York City College of Technology: Fact Sheet 2017-18
- University of Hawaii at Manoa: Campus Diversity
Stacy Zogheib's writing has been published in various online publications including Classroom.Synonym. She is a teacher and developmental specialist with experience teaching first grade, special education and working with families of children ages 0 to 3. She has a Bachelor of Arts in elementary and special education from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education from Northern Arizona University.