7 revealing facts about Jews at American colleges
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7 revealing facts about Jews at American colleges

Yale University students and others spending a fall afternoon on campus in New Haven, Conn., Oct. 11, 2000. (Bob Child/AP Photo)

Yale University students and others spending a fall afternoon on campus in New Haven, Connecticut, Oct. 11, 2000. (Bob Child/AP Photo)

Hillel, the Jewish campus organization, released its annual fall college guide earlier this month — complete with rankings of “The Top Schools Jews Choose.” The figures are estimated by campus Hillels. Here are seven takeaways.

1. The University of Florida has the most Jewish students of any North American college 

The University of Florida, with its 6,500 Jewish (out of 33,720 total) undergraduates, edged out other heavily Jewish public colleges, like the University of Maryland and the University of Michigan. Two of the top three and four of the top 20 public colleges are in Florida. The private college with the most Jews is New York University, with 6,000 (out of 24,985 total).

2. Barnard is the most-Jewish college that it not officially Jewish

Barnard College in New York, a women’s liberal arts college affiliated with Columbia University, has a higher percentage of Jewish students than all but four colleges: Yeshiva University, Jewish Theological Seminary, American Jewish University and Brandeis University — all of which have Jewish missions. The first three colleges are 100 percent Jewish; Brandeis is about half Jewish.

Thirty-three percent of Barnard’s undergrads are Jewish (800 out of 2,400 undergrads) — more than the 31 percent at runners-up Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania (750 out of 2,440 undergrads), and Goucher College in Towson, Maryland (450 out of 1,471 undergrads).

3. Yale is the most-Jewish Ivy, but Cornell has the most total Jews

Yale University’s undergrad student body is 27 percent Jewish (1,500 Jewish undergrads out of 5,477 total). Percentage-wise, it narrowly beats out its Ivy League competitor the University of Pennsylvania, which is roughly 26 percent Jewish (2,500 out of 9,746 undergrads). But with its 3,000 Jews, Cornell University has more in total than any other Ivy.

4. Jews love the Big Ten Conference

Six of the top 10 most-Jewish public colleges are part of the Big Ten Conference, the oldest athletic conference in the United States, with schools spanning the Midwest and East Coast. Those six colleges, in descending rank by number of Jewish students, are: Rutgers University (6,400), the University of Maryland (5,800), the University of Michigan (4,500), Indiana University (4,200), the University of Wisconsin, Madison (4,200) and Pennsylvania State University (4,000). The other Big Ten schools among the top 50 are Michigan State University (3,500), the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (3,000) and Ohio State University (2,500).

5. McGill isn’t the top Canadian destination for Jews

That honor is shared by the University of Western Ontario and York University, which each have 3,000 Jewish undergrads. McGill University ranks third among Canadian schools, with 2,500 Jews.

6. Fifty-four of the 60 most-Jewish colleges are on the American coasts

The six inland outliers are: Tulane University in New Orleans (2,250 Jews or 27 percent of its total), Washington University in St. Louis (1,750 Jews or 24 percent of its total), Kenyon College in Ohio (275 Jews or 17 percent of its total), the University of Chicago (800 Jews or 14 percent of its total), the University of Wisconsin, Madison (4,200 Jews or 13 percent of its total) and the University of Western Ontario (3,000 Jews or 13 percent of its total).

7. The University of Michigan offers 120 Jewish courses — twice as many as Brandeis

The University of Michigan offers the third-most Jewish college courses in the country, behind only Yeshiva University (138 courses) and Jewish Theological Seminary of America (150) — which both have 100 percent Jewish student bodies. McGill University and Ohio State University are tied for fourth, with 100 Jewish courses each.