List of state and territorial universities in the United States

20 min


Postgraduate courses at Graduate School in the USA are a focused study compared to the undergraduate level
and the subject area is far more important in the rankings than the overall national ranking of the institution when looking at American universities. 

Tuition Fees & Costs

Universities in the USA are required to publish their Cost of Attendance on their website. This gives a good guide to the cost of tuition as well as the cost of living in the local area. As an international student you will find that tuition fees vary between institutions and can depend on a number of factors including the reputation of university to demand to attend the university. Tuition fees can be anywhere between $59,430 at Columbia University to $10,514 for out-of-state students at the University of Southern Mississippi. 

Applications & Admissions

To be successful in your application for a US university you will need a first degree in a relevant subject area and if your first degree is not from an English speaking university, then you will need to prove your English language skills. Universities in the USA often used standardised testing for entrance, so if you wish to study a masters program in law or medicine or even business you will often need to complete a test. The GMAT covers management and business-related courses, the LSAT is for entry into law school and MCAT is for medical school. 

In the United States, a state college or state university is one of the public colleges or universities funded by or associated with the state government. In some cases, these institutions of higher learning are part of a state university system, while in other cases they are not. Several U.S. territories also administer public colleges and universities.

The U.S. federal government does not run colleges or universities except for the service academies, the Community College of the Air Force, the Naval Postgraduate School, the Air Force Institute of Technology, the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, military war colleges and staff colleges, and Haskell Indian Nations University. Additionally, Georgetown UniversityGallaudet UniversityHoward University, and American University are private universities in the District of Columbia that are federally chartered by the United States Government but unlike other publicly chartered universities throughout the United States, District of Columbia residents do not qualify for in-state tuition for most sub-national institutions of high education in contrast to residents of other states with respect towards publicly funded or publicly chartered universities within the state or sub-national region which in they reside. But D.C. residents do qualify for a tuition assistance grant as stated below. However, the federal government does make grants to state universities.

These state, as well as private, universities are accredited by different regional, not national, accreditation agencies, including the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the Higher Learning Commission, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, depending on which region of the United States the university is located in. These accreditation agencies’ approvals are critical to a university’s operations and public reputation. If a university loses accreditation or is not accredited in the first place, students will be reluctant to either continue or enroll at the school because the degree will be seen as being worthless. In a worst-case scenario, a university can shut down completely. The aforementioned agencies are all recognized by the United States Department of Education.

Most state universities receive at least part of their funding from the state, although many have substantial income from tuition and fees, endowment proceeds, donations (such as from alumni or philanthropists), and revenue from royalties. State universities usually offer lower tuition costs to in-state residents. According to the College Board, public four-year colleges charge on average $7,605 per year in tuition and fees for full-time in-state students and $11,990 for out-of-state students.[1]

In some states, e.g. MarylandTennesseeIndiana, and Washington, there is a campus designated as the “flagship” campus in the state’s university system, which generally is the most prestigious campus and the largest campus in student population, e.g. the University of Maryland College Park campus in the University System of Maryland, the Indiana University Bloomington campus in the Indiana University System, the University of Tennessee Knoxville campus in the University of Tennessee System, and the University of Washington‘s Seattle campus in the University of Washington System.

However, in some other states, the state universities are treated as equal partners; therefore there is no officially recognized flagship campus in the state’s university system.

There are a number of states that have more than one university system, e.g. California with 2; Colorado with 2; Indiana with 2; New York with 2; Tennessee with 2; and Texas with 6 (the most).


  • As a general rule, schools are not alphabetized by their complete names, but rather by the names by which they are normally called. For example, in a list alphabetized by normal rules, “Auburn University” would precede “University of Alabama,” but the schools are virtually always referred to in popular conversation as “Auburn” and “Alabama” (followed by a campus identifier if required by the context). Therefore, in this article, “Alabama” precedes “Auburn”.
  • The list includes some of the more common academic nicknames or acronyms used for certain colleges or universities, e.g. “Ole Miss” for the University of Mississippi, “Idaho State” for Idaho State University, or “UNF” for the University of North Florida, not the “Rebels”, “Bengals”, or “Ospreys”, respectively.
    • To minimize any confusion regarding acronyms, either the first school listed or the school that is more nationally known having an acronym the same as another has the acronym provided, e.g. San Diego State University has the acronym “SDSU” included because it is listed before South Dakota State University, and Arizona State University has the acronym “ASU” given because it is better known nationally than Alabama State. In addition, only acronyms that are unique are given, e.g. “UW Tacoma” for the University of Washington’s Tacoma campus or “UNH” for the University of New Hampshire.
  • The list also includes schools that grant first-professional doctorates only (e.g., medical schoolslaw schools, or veterinary schools) that are independent of any other school in a state system.
  • Satellite campuses that do not have accreditation separate from the mother institution are not included in the list, e.g. University of Washington Tacoma remains an integral part of the University of Washington, which is based in Seattle. On the other hand, institutions like University of Houston–Downtown and University of California, Santa Cruz are provided separate entries as they are considered independent, autonomous institutions.
  • To see a list of community colleges and technical centers in the United States that offer only associate’s degrees, visit the community colleges list.
  • To see a list of tribal colleges and universities in the United States, visit the tribal colleges and universities list.
  • Non-bachelor’s degree-granting institutions, such as graduate schools, are listed in italics.









District of Columbia

Universities Chartered by Congress (Congressional Charter) are not public state or territorial universities; they are private non-profit universities that do not grant in-state tuition discounts to District of Columbia residents unlike other government-funded state or territorial universities. The United States Federal Government provides tuition grants to District of Columbia residents through the DC Tuition Assistance Grant (DC TAG) towards the difference in price between in-state and out-of-state tuition at public four-year colleges/universities and private Historically Black Colleges and Universities throughout the U.S., Guam, and Puerto Rico. Small amounts of the grant can be used for Washington Metropolitan Area private universities within close proximate of the District.[3]










Note: Washburn University in Topeka is the only remaining municipally chartered university in the United States.













New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

North Dakota

Northern Mariana Islands





Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PaSSHE)

The 14 universities in PaSSHE are state-owned. They are directly governed by gubernatorial appointees sitting on the PaSSHE Board of Governors. Each university also has an independent Council of Trustees appointed by the Commonwealth‘s governor.

Commonwealth System of Higher Education

Universities of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education receive public funds and reduce tuition for residents of Pennsylvania. Gubernatorial appointees are always a minority of their respective governing boards.

Puerto Rico

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota






Virgin Islands


West Virginia



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