Economy

This Is America's Most Liberal College

In the 2020 presidential election, college graduates preferred Joe Biden to Donald Trump by a 55% to 42% margin, according to University of Virginia exit polls.

College students tend to skew left in general, as younger people also tend to be more liberal. Still, some college campuses stand out as farther left than others do, with students much more likely to identify as a Democrat than a Republican and feel that their peers identify the same way.

To determine the most liberal college in America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from education data clearinghouse Niche’s 2021 Most Liberal Colleges in America list.

Nearly every one of the finalists on the most liberal colleges list is located in a state that tends to vote for Democrats over Republicans in state elections. These states are generally either on the west coast or in the Northeast.

Though college campuses tend to have more liberal than conservative students, in a number of schools in America the vast majority of students have conservative ideologies. Many of these schools are private institutions with religious affiliations. These are the most conservative colleges in America.

Nearly every college that ranks among the most liberal in the country is more expensive to attend than the typical U.S. college, and half of the 20 schools on the finalist list have average annual costs over $63,000. That ranks them in the top 200 most expensive colleges out of over 6,800 institutions.

As mentioned, to determine the most liberal college in America, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from education data clearinghouse Niche’s 2021 Most Liberal Colleges in America list. This ranking is based on student surveys about both personal political leanings and opinions about the political leanings of other students.

Data on undergraduate enrollment came from the U.S. Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and is for fall 2019. Data on the median earnings of individuals who entered university in the 2004-2005 academic year and were employed 10 years later also came from IPEDS, as does data on the average annual cost of attendance for the 2017-2018 school year. Data on the popularity of undergraduate majors is based on IPEDS data on the number of federal loan borrowers who graduated with a degree in that major in the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years.

American University is located in Washington, D.C. The average annual cost of attendance is $64,040. The typical earnings 10 years after enrollment are $61,000. The most popular undergrad majors are international relations and national security studies.

No school in America is more liberal than American University, a private research university, according to Niche. Among students using the site, 86% feel the political beliefs of campus as a whole are either liberal or very liberal. Just 12% of students associate themselves with the Republican Party.

American University has a long list of alumni who are notable for their political contributions, including Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser and former New Mexico Governor Toney Anaya, both Democrats.

Click here to see the 20 most liberal colleges in America.