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What You Need to Know About Big 12 Schools

By Zach Skillings

Zach Skillings is the Scholarships360 Newsletter Editor. He specializes in college admissions and strives to answer important questions about higher education. When he’s not contributing to Scholarships360, Zach writes about travel, music, film, and culture. His work has been published in Our State Magazine, Ladygunn Magazine, The Nocturnal Times, and The Lexington Dispatch. Zach graduated from Elon University with a degree in Cinema and Television Arts.

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Edited by Maria Geiger

Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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Updated: April 4th, 2024
What You Need to Know About Big 12 Schools

The Big 12 is a group of universities that belong to the same athletic conference. Despite what its name suggests, the Big 12 conference actually consists of 16 universities. The Big 12 Schools are known for their large student populations, competitive athletic programs, and a wide range of degree offerings. 

See also: What you need to know about the Big 10 schools

Major 2024 Big 12 Updates

The Big 12 is a member of the Division 1 of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) for all sports. The Big 12 is one of the Power Five conferences which are the five highest-earning and successful football conferences in the United States. 

The Big 12 conference is undergoing major changes as 2 big universities are leaving the conference and 8 new universities will be joining the Big 12 in 2024. 

Members who left in 2024

New members

  • Brigham Young University
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of Cincinnati 
  • University of Houston 
  • University of Arizona
  • Arizona State University
  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • University of Utah 

What are the Big 12 schools?

Here’s a breakdown of the Big 12 schools, in order of largest student enrollment to smallest: 

Arizona State University

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 79,593
  • Acceptance Rate: 88% 
  • Tuition: $11,348 (in-state), $29,438 (out-of-state)

Arizona State University is known for its innovation and sustainability considering it has an extremely large undergraduate population. ASU has an abundance of majors to choose from with popular programs such as nursing, psychology, information technology and engineering. 

University of Central Florida 

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 69,320
  • Acceptance Rate: 36%
  • Tuition: $6,368 (in-state), $22,467(out-of-state)

The University of Central Florida is a large research university known for photonics, space science and biomedical sciences. UCF is recognized for its strong partnerships with local government agencies and industries. Its location in the center of Florida provides students with opportunities to access entertainment venues and internships. 

University of Arizona

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 40,533
  • Acceptance Rate: 87%
  • Tuition: $12,736 (in-state), $37,258 (out-of-state)

The University of Arizona is a well-known research university  known for its research initiatives especially in space exploration and biosciences. The university offers many opportunities for students to engage in the campus life including clubs, organizations and cultural activities. 

University of Cincinnati 

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 38,748
  • Acceptance Rate: 85%
  • Tuition: $12,598 (in-state), $27,932 (out-of-state)

The University of Cincinnati is one of the oldest institutions in higher education in the United States. UC is home to research centers that focus on a variety of disciplines including aerospace engineering, medicine and environmental science. UC is known for its co-op program which provides students with valuable real-world experience and networking opportunities. 

University of Houston 

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 37,356
  • Acceptance Rate: 66%
  • Tuition: $9,699 (in-state), $21,891 (out-of-state)

Located in Houston, Texas, the University of Houston provides students with ample opportunities to grow academically through opportunities found in the city. The University of Houston is a public research university that offers strong programs in energy, healthcare and entrepreneurship. 

University of Colorado Boulder 

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 37,153
  • Acceptance Rate: 80%
  • Tuition: $12,496 (in-state), $38,314 (out-of-state)

The University of Colorado Boulder is a public research institution located in the Rocky Mountains. CU is known for its strong engineering and science programs especially in the field of Earth and space sciences. The university’s scenic campus provides students the change to explore the outdoors through various clubs and campus activities. 

University of Utah  

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 32,760
  • Acceptance Rate: 95%
  • Tuition: $8,893 (in-state), $28,345 (out-of-state)

The University of Utah is a public research university that is known for its programs in medicine, law, engineering and computer science. The campus is located in Salt Lake City with beautiful mountains surrounding it. This scenery allows students to access outdoor recreational activities through its vibrant student life with a wide range of clubs and campus events. 

Iowa State University

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 30,177
  • Acceptance Rate: 91%
  • Tuition: $9,634 (in-state), $25,446 (out-of-state)

Iowa State is known for its beautiful campus, as well as its excellent STEM programs and research opportunities. Engineering is by far the most popular major, while business and agricultural studies rank highly as well. In terms of campus life, there are over 60 fraternities and sororities and more than 850 student organizations. Sports are a big part of the school’s culture as well. 

Texas Tech University 

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 30,105
  • Acceptance Rate: 68%
  • Tuition: $11,852 (in-state), $24,122 (out-of-state)

Based in Lubbock, Texas Tech is a large research university with over 150 undergraduate degrees across 13 schools. Popular majors include business, engineering, and interdisciplinary studies. The university is widely recognized as one of the leaders in higher education when it comes to diversity and inclusion efforts. Texas Tech has a prominent Greek life scene, along with more than 450 student organizations. 

Brigham Young University

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 28,294
  • Acceptance Rate: 59%
  • Tuition: $6,120

BYU is a private research university located in Provo, Utah that is affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). The campus culture is characterized by its strong emphasis on values aligned with the LDS church including a strict honor code. BYU offers a wide range of undergraduate programs and has a reputation for strong academic programs. 

West Virginia University 

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 26,791
  • Acceptance Rate: 90%
  • Tuition: $8,976 (in-state), $25,320 (out-of-state)

West Virginia University is divided into 15 colleges, with its engineering school being particularly strong. Students have a tremendous amount of school spirit and take a lot of pride in their sports teams. WVU is also known for its Center for Service and Learning, which offers class credit for community service. The university is located in the small city of Morgantown and is within hours of major cities like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and D.C. 

 Oklahoma State University 

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 26,008
  • Acceptance Rate: 68%
  • Tuition: $9,244 (in-state), $24,764 (out-of-state)

Oklahoma State University features top programs in agricultural sciences, engineering, and information technology. The school has a strong alumni network that is useful for networking, internship, and employment opportunities. Outside of academics, there’s over 400 organizations and clubs available to students. Sports and Greek life play a big role in campus life as well. OSU also takes pride in its commitment to health, calling itself “America’s Healthiest Campus”

University of Kansas

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 22,508
  • Acceptance Rate: 93%
  • Tuition: $11,166 (in-state), $28,034 (out-of-state)

Located in the charming college town of Lawrence, the University of Kansas is a top research institution. The school has a strong track record of scientific innovation, and offers an abundance of opportunities for student research. Students can choose from nearly 200 undergraduate degrees across 13 different schools. KU is also known for its excellent career center and study abroad programs. 

 Kansas State University 

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 21,719
  • Acceptance Rate: 96%
  • Tuition: $10,420 (in-state), $26,491 (out-of-state)

Founded in 1863, K-State is the oldest public university in Kansas. The school offers more than 250 undergraduate degrees, with agricultural sciences being one of the top programs. K-State is home to the Biosecurity Research Institute, where students can train to research infectious diseases. The school is also known for the Landon Lecture Series, which has featured many prominent speakers over the years. 

Baylor University 

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 20,970
  • Acceptance Rate: 57%
  • Tuition: $50,232

Baylor is a faith-based, Baptist institution. The school has a deep commitment to community service, with many students volunteering in the local community. In terms of academics, top programs include nursing, biology, and accounting. Class sizes tend to be on the smaller side, which allows for close relationships between students and professors. 

Texas Christian University

  • Undergraduate Enrollment: 12,785
  • Acceptance Rate: 54%
  • Tuition: $51,660

TCU is the other private Big 12 school, and the biggest university associated with the Christian Church. The school is open to students of all faiths, and offers more than 20 religious organizations for students to join. In total, there are over 200 student organizations and more than 30 fraternities and sororities. Popular majors include business, communications, and health-related studies. 

What do the Big 12 schools have in common? 

Degree Offerings 

If you attend a Big 12 school, you can count on having a wide range of majors to choose from. Most Big 12 universities are divided into separate schools that cover everything from agricultural science and engineering to liberal arts and business.

Large Student Bodies

Big 12 schools are large universities that have student populations in the tens of thousands. For students who want to be part of a big and bustling community, this is an attractive feature. 


As members of an NCAA Division I conference, you can expect Big 12 schools to have big-time athletic programs. And with big-time athletics comes a whole lot of school spirit. If you’re looking for a school with a large emphasis on sports, a Big 12 school won’t disappoint you. 

See also: Top athletic scholarships

Greek Life

Most Big 12 schools have a strong Greek life presence. For students interested in joining a fraternity or sorority, this is a big plus. If Greek life does not interest you, most Big 12 schools offer hundreds of other campus clubs and organizations as well. 

Further reading: The pros and cons of Greek life

Should I attend a Big 12 school? 

That depends on what you want out of your college experience. As we’ve discussed, there are a few things you can expect if you attend a Big 12 school. If you’re excited by the prospect of attending a big school with top-notch athletics and a variety of academic programs and on-campus activities, then a Big 12 school might be right for you!

Additional resources

At Scholarships360, we have resources for every step of the way! Learn about how to choose a college that matches your unique needs. Not sure about the differences between college and university? We can help explain that too! Wonder whether you should attend a public or private school? Read all about the difference between public and private universities so you can make an informed decision. While on your academic journey, make sure that you apply for all the scholarships you qualify for while you are eligible! 

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Frequently asked questions about the Big 12 Schools

What sports does the Big 12 Conference compete in?

The Big 12 Conference competes in a wide range of sports including football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, volleyball, track and field, golf, tennis, swimming, wrestling, and more! 

Is the Big 12 part of the Power Five conferences?

Yes. The Power Five conferences include the Big 12, the ACC, the Big 10, the Pac-12, and the SEC. However, there have been so many changes to these conferences that the Pac-12 is left with two teams remaining. At this point, it is undetermined if it will continue on as a conference in the Power Five.

Why are the University of Oklahoma and University of Texas at Austin leaving the Big 12 to join the SEC?

There are many reasons why OU and Texas wanted to leave the Big 12 to join the SEC. These include increased revenue, competitive advantages, and broader exposure in the field.

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