Public Colleges in Puerto Rico: A Complete List
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If Puerto Rico were a state, it would rank as the fourth-smallest in the country. Despite its size, the U.S. territory features a fairly robust public university system, with 11 campuses.
Puerto Rico public schools offer many of the same advantages as public colleges throughout the rest of the U.S., including cheaper tuition rates.
Here, we help you determine whether a public school in Puerto Rico is the right choice for your college journey.
3 Popular Public Colleges in Puerto Rico
The University of Puerto Rico (UPR) is the territory's main public university, with 11 campuses scattered throughout the island. Here are three of the most popular UPR campuses you can enroll at.
- Avg. Annual Net Price: $9,119
- Acceptance Rate: 52%
- Total Student Enrollment: 13,226
The university hosts over 90 creative, religious, and community service organizations. Students can also benefit from on-campus financial aid and health services. Convenient public transportation links the school to downtown San Juan, Puerto Rico's bustling capital.
- Avg. Annual Net Price: $10,657
- Acceptance Rate: 54%
- Total Student Enrollment: 12,126
The University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, awards undergraduate and graduate degrees through its colleges of business administration, arts and sciences, agricultural sciences, and engineering.
Mayagüez, the third-largest city on the island, offers a vibrant community to explore just feet from the campus gates. The city also hosts many cultural events and serves as a gateway to western Puerto Rico.
3. University of Puerto Rico, Cayey
- Avg. Annual Net Price: $6,726
- Acceptance Rate: 49%
- Total Student Enrollment: 2,559
Situated among Puerto Rico's southern mountains, the University of Puerto Rico, Cayey, opened its doors in 1967. Although the university focuses on the liberal arts, it offers many STEM majors. In fact, the university ranks as one of the top 50 U.S. colleges awarding the most bachelor's degrees in engineering and science.
The University of Puerto Rico, Cayey, supports students' personal growth with many extracurricular opportunities, on-campus exercise facilities, and intramural sports.
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List of All Public Colleges in Puerto Rico
We've created a complete list of all four-year, nonprofit, public universities in Puerto Rico. You can use the table below to compare data on student population, average net cost, acceptance rate, and number of applicants. Note that UPR campuses are considered individual schools on this list.
The following school data comes from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). All enrollment data is from 2021. Data for net price, acceptance rate, and number of applicants is from 2022-2023.
|School||Total Student Enrollment||Average Annual Net Price||Acceptance Rate||Number of Applicants|
|Colegio Universitario de San Juan||675||$2,370||98%||65|
|University of Puerto Rico at Ponce||2,262||$5,006||54%||1,434|
|University of Puerto Rico, Aguadilla||2,199||$6,095||77%||678|
|University of Puerto Rico, Arecibo||3,117||$9,444||60%||1,474|
|University of Puerto Rico, Bayamón||3,326||$7,538||93%||930|
|University of Puerto Rico, Carolina||2,367||$13,605||55%||1,752|
|University of Puerto Rico, Cayey||2,559||$6,726||49%||1,243|
|University of Puerto Rico, Humacao||2,848||$13,158||52%||1,295|
|University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez||12,126||$10,657||54%||4,322|
|University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras||13,226||$9,119||52%||4,859|
Benefits of Studying in Puerto Rico
Focusing your college search on public schools in Puerto Rico can offer many benefits, including a lower cost of living (COL). A low COL means more affordable rent, utilities, and other day-to-day expenses. You can use your savings to help pay for graduate school.
Top public schools in Puerto Rico feature many of the same majors and student services as other U.S. schools. You may experience little to no trouble adjusting to campus life if you transfer from a college on the U.S. mainland.
Public universities in Puerto Rico can also help you hone your Spanish language skills. Many companies want bilingual applicants, and fluency can help you stand out in a competitive job market.
Most Popular Majors in Puerto Rico
In 2020, the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, conferred over 450 bachelor's degrees in the social sciences and over 400 bachelor's degrees in the natural sciences.
Business administration and the humanities were the third- and fourth-most popular majors, respectively.
At the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez, over 1,000 students worked toward a bachelor's in mechanical engineering in 2022-2023.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Puerto Ricans working as industrial production managers or architectural and engineering managers in May 2022 earned average salaries of more than $110,000. It makes sense, then, why so many students choose to major in engineering or the natural sciences!
Frequently Asked Questions About Public Colleges in Puerto Rico
Is college free in Puerto Rico?
Although Puerto Ricans experience poverty at a higher rate than other Americans, public universities in Puerto Rico do not typically offer free tuition. Fortunately, these institutions' costs of attendance fall well below what many U.S. public colleges charge in-state residents.
You can attend college in Puerto Rico for free if you qualify for federal grants, private scholarships, and other aid, so be sure to file the FAFSA each year.
You can contact financial aid offices at public universities in Puerto Rico to help you research and apply for funding.
Is a degree from Puerto Rico valid in the U.S.?
The answer depends on whether the college holds proper accreditation. MSCHE accredits private and public schools in Puerto Rico and some U.S. states. Nearly all employers and graduate schools in the U.S. recognize degrees from MSCHE-accredited schools.
Many Puerto Rico public schools advertise their accreditation statuses on their websites. Contact a school's admissions department if you have questions or concerns about its accreditation.
What is the average GPA for the University of Puerto Rico?
The University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, reports that the average first-year student in fall 2019 had a 3.66 high school GPA. Nearly one-third of new learners had a 3.9 GPA or higher. These statistics suggest you need a persuasive application portfolio to stand out from other applicants.