St. Louis is well-known for having several of the most academically accomplished and educationally rigorous public and private schools in the country. Within St. Louis County, there are 23 school districts collectively comprised of approximately 259 elementary, middle, and high schools. There are four counties that surround St. Louis County, and within these bordering counties of Saint Louis City to the east, Saint Charles County to the north, Franklin County to the west, and Jefferson County to the south, there are approximately 45 different school districts and academies. In order to attend a certain public school, a student must reside within that public school's district boundaries. This rule does not apply for the many private schools located in St. Louis.
Some notable St. Louis private schools with outstanding academic records are Andrews Academy, John Burroughs School, Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School, St. Michael School, and Whitfield School.
St. Louis is also home to a number of prestigious colleges and universities. Among these are Washington University, with a campus located in the Central West End neighborhood, Saint Louis University, also situated in the Central West End, and the University of Missouri at St. Louis, with a sprawling campus near Bellerive just northwest of downtown St. Louis.