You can make new friends and deepen your understanding of other cultures by enrolling in a diverse public college or university. By carefully researching your options, you can find public schools that offer an excellent, well-rounded education at a reasonable cost that won’t leave you burdened with high debt. Studying and socializing on a diverse campus will teach you how to communicate effective with people who may be different from you, which is great preparation for a career in a multicultural society.

The following are the 20 most diverse public colleges in the U.S. To learn more about our study and dive deep into our methodology, visit Most Diverse Public Colleges.

1. University of Hawaii at Hilo

You may want to consider studying on the beautiful and welcoming campus of the University of Hawaii at Hilo. This diverse public school of 2,971 undergraduate students boldly celebrates equity and diversity. Many student events focus on cultural pride and heritage. U.S. News and World Reports rates UH Hilo among the top 10 schools for diversity and low debt load at graduation. More than 75 percent of the student body identify as being ethnically diverse, including Hawaiian, Filipino, Japanese and Chinese. UH Hilo offers 36 bachelor’s degrees and an ideal location for studying marine science or volcanoes.

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2. The University of Massachusetts, Boston

University of Massachusetts, Boston enrollment tops 16,000. Over 50 percent of the student body is comprised of students from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Approximately 14 percent of students identify as Black or African Americans and 12 percent of students are Hispanic/Latino. Popular majors are business, health and social sciences. Located in a hub of businesses with international ties and premiere healthcare facilities, students may access internships working with a diverse urban population. The school accepts 69 percent of applicants and offers 80 undergraduate programs.

3. California State University, East Bay

Like many public colleges that are part of the California State University system, California State University, East Bay excels in diversity recruitment and retention. This school was ranked number one in the West for ethnic diversity by U.S. News and World Report in 2018. Almost 75 percent of the 11,318 enrolled undergraduate students identify as ethnically diverse domestic students and 6.3 percent are international students. You may choose from 50 bachelor’s degree. Examples of popular majors include business, health, psychology, criminal justice and biology. Students enjoy service learning activities and helping their community.

4. Rutgers University-Newark

Diversity is a core value of the Newark campus of prestigious Rutgers University. Innovative programs to diversify have earned the school national recognition. For instance, most of the students in the Honors Living-Learning Community are black or Latino students and 75 percent qualify for low income Pell Grants. These honor students were chosen for their resilience, leadership potential and commitment to social justice. You can select from more than 45 undergraduate majors, and classes are taught by exceptional faculty dedicated to teaching and research.

5. Stony Brook University, SUNY

Stony Brook University, State University of New York started out in 1957 as a teacher training college. Enrollment has since grown to 17,026 undergraduate students. Over 50 percent of enrolled students identify as a member of an ethnically diverse group. The largest ethnic group is Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students at 18.7 percent of the overall population. The school offers more than 200 majors along with study abroad opportunities like studying at SUNY Korea. Students study hard, but they also have fun.

6. University of California, Los Angeles

Diverse students flock to the University of California, Los Angeles. Approximately 75 percent of enrolled students are culturally diverse. The school is consistently ranked among the best public universities in the country. UCLA’s reputation for scholarship and groundbreaking research makes it an attractive option. To be competitive, you must be gifted and talented. As part of the admission process, the school looks at many factors, including diverse life experiences and cultural perspectives. However, most students also have a 4.0 GPA and high test scores.

7. University of Nevada, Las Vegas

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas is working to become a national leader in providing diverse students with a high quality, equitable and accessible education. Efforts are ongoing to remove obstacles and barriers to success that may derail a promising student’s career goals. The campus is also considered military friendly to students affiliated with the armed services. With almost 400 majors, the school offers something for everyone. The undergraduate population is 24,714.

8. San Francisco State University

Along with a diverse student body, San Francisco State University offers a College of Ethnic Studies for students seeking majors like Africana studies or La Raza studies. The school’s emphasis on academic programs is well known. This public school stays abreast of world politics. Students engage in research projects that can be applied to solving problems and helping people. Annual tuition and fees are $7,260, as of 2018 to 2019. Aspiring creative artists, change agents and activists enjoy the vibrancy of the school that boasts an enrollment close to 30,000 students.

9. University of California, Davis

Admission is competitive to this excellent public school with 30,145 undergraduates. The acceptance rate at the University of California, Davis is 42 percent, and most students have an impressive ACT scores of 25 to 31. Two out of three students identify as a member of a diverse ethnic group. The largest culturally diverse groups represented are Asians and Hispanics. The school has been hosting a annual powwow for almost 40 years to honor American Indians. Despite its urban setting, the school’s agricultural roots are still evident. For instance, you may be able to look out your dorm window and see Holsteins munching hay on the large University farm. Over 100 academic majors are offered, including animal science and viticulture.

10. University of Houston

If you like the idea of attending a large, fast paced public school in a diverse urban setting, you may want to consider the University of Houston. Less than 27 percent of the 43,774 students enrolled identify as white, which reflects the school’s strong commitment to opportunity and access for all high potential students. The typical UH student has a competitive ACT score of 23 to 28. The school offers more than 250 majors, including a specialized degree in the hospitality business. Known for innovation, the University of Houston is an incubator for entrepreneurial students and faculty continually exploring new startups.

11. California State University, Sacramento

Located in the capitol city of California, this large public school of 29,000 is well situated for studying public policy. The diversity of the student body at California State University, Sacramento reflects the diverse population of Sacramento. The school also has the second largest population of military veterans. The percentage of students who graduate without any debt is lower than the national average. The school has received special recognition for their good general education classes that provide a solid foundation a major. The school is also known for having one of the few business administration programs that's AACSB accredited.

12. The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington prides itself on a diverse enrollment of 29,606 undergraduate students. The UTA website describes the school as a diversity leader in the U.S. Students from every state attend UTA. Approximately 24 percent of students identify as Hispanic, 16 percent as African American and 11 percent international. No matter what major, you can find research opportunities. UTA is known for state-of-the-art facilities that support the school’s passion for discovering new knowledge and inventions.

13. Brooklyn College

Like the other 23 campuses that are part of the City University of New York (CUNY) system, this public school welcomes students from all ethnic and racial backgrounds. Brooklyn College is a CUNY leader, with more than 50 percent cultural diversity within the study body. Students representing 138 countries add to the vitality of campus life. An estimated 90 languages are spoken. Students study in prestigious looking ivy covered buildings like you would see at Harvard. The most popular majors are psychology, computer science and business accounting. The school also has an African American Research Center.

14. New Jersey Institute of Technology

Academic excellence is the hallmark of the New Jersey Institute of Technology, which is the state’s polytechnic university. NJTI awards more engineering degrees to Hispanic and African-American students than any other school in New Jersey. You may find this school a great fit for you if your goals focus on business, architecture, engineering or technology. Faculty are highly accomplished in their field. Located just 20 minutes from Manhattan, students have access to internship and job opportunities. Forbes has designated NJIT as a top school in promoting the upward mobility of diverse students.

15. University of California, Santa Barbara

Students at the University of California, Santa Barbara enjoy picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean when taking a break from studying. The school values multiculturalism and global stewardship. UC Santa Barbara has been designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, which requires enrollment of 25 percent or more Hispanic students. Admission is selective, with an acceptance rate of 36 percent. The average composite ACT score of a UC Santa Barbara student is a competitive 27 to 32. Over 200 majors are offered, and many programs are research-intensive.

16. University of California, San Diego

Close to the Mexican border, the University of California, San Diego reflects cultural plurality. The school seeks to further increase the number of students from diverse backgrounds. The school is world renowned as a research institution. Emphasis is placed on global leadership and being a change agent for the betterment of society. You may want to consider this school if you plan to study in one of the disciplines offered: arts and humanities, biological and physical science, engineering and sociology related areas.

17. Baruch College - The City University of New York (CUNY)

Baruch College is a quality public school with about 18,000 enrolled students. More than 110 languages are spoken on campus. Just under 70 percent of students identify as being a student of color, with Asians being the largest demographic at 40 percent. Academic programs are offered through the accredited Zicklin School of Business, Weissman School of Arts and Sciences and the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs. You may also find this school especially appealing if like the idea of living in New York with easy access to Wall Street, corporate headquarters and cultural organizations.

18. SUNY Old Westbury

If you are looking for a small but diverse public college with a good academic reputation in an urban area, you may want to look at SUNY Old Westbury in Long Island. This school of 4,635 undergraduates has the most diverse student body of all schools within the State University New York system. Further, the school is more diverse the many predominately white colleges throughout the country. African-Americans represent the largest diverse demographic at 27 percent, followed by Hispanic/Latino at 25 percent. Tuition and fees are affordable at $278 per credit for in-state students.

19. Hunter College

Hunter College’s total enrollment of 22,993 students makes it the largest of 24 colleges in the City University of New York system. The school admits 38 percent of applicants. Psychology, English and sociology are the most popular of the 170 undergraduate programs offered. About 66 percent of those enrolled are students of color, with Hispanic/Latino being the largest culturally diverse group, at 27 percent of the student body. The school shows commitment to diverse scholarship as evidenced by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies and ongoing research efforts aimed at eliminating racial inequities in healthcare services.

20. Kean University

Kean University in New Jersey proclaims that the school is ranked among the top five diverse colleges in the nation, according to Diversity, Inc. Kean also has an English-speaking campus in China, which is unusual for a public school. At Kean, you can choose between liberal arts, interdisciplinary studies or a specialized major in a particular field. More than 50 undergraduate programs are offered. Eight online programs can be completed without having to commute to campus. To support student success and graduation, the school provides a variety of services such as writing and tutoring centers, career services and a veterans office.

About the Author

Dr. Mary Dowd is a dean of students whose job includes student conduct, leading the behavioral consultation team, crisis response, retention and the working with the veterans resource center. She enjoys helping parents and students solve problems through advising, teaching and writing online articles that appear on many sites. Dr. Dowd also contributes to scholarly books and journal articles.