Special Report

Most Liberal Colleges in America

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10. Northwestern University
> Location: Evanston, IL
> Undergraduate enrollment: 8,489
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $70,317
> Typical earnings 10 yrs. after enrollment: $69,000
> Most popular undergrad major: Economics

Northwestern is located in Evanston, Illinois, just outside of Chicago, one of the most staunchly liberal areas in America. Since redistricting in 2000, Evanston’s congressional district has never been represented by a Republican. Northwestern has produced left-leaning alumni in a number of fields, including Chicago’s first black mayor, Harold Washington, and “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert. President Barack Obama’s chief of staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel earned his master’s degree there as well. Niche ranks Northwestern as the top college for performing arts programs and the fourth best school for public policy.

9. Bowdoin College
> Location: Brunswick, ME
> Undergraduate enrollment: 1,812
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $65,590
> Typical earnings 10 yrs. after enrollment: $65,500
> Most popular undergrad major: Political science and government

Bowdoin College, a small, private, liberal arts school in Brunswick, Maine, is the most liberal school in the state and ninth most liberal nationwide. With an admission rate of just 13.6%, Bowdoin is more selective than most schools on this list. Founded in 1794, it is also one of the oldest schools on this list.

The most popular major among federal financial aid recipients at the school is political science and government — and the school’s long list of notable alumni includes several Democratic politicians. Among them is the late Edwin Lee, a former civil rights attorney and San Francisco mayor, as well as George J. Mitchell, a former U.S. senator from Maine.

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8. Fashion Institute of Technology
> Location: New York, NY
> Undergraduate enrollment: 7,924
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $16,991
> Typical earnings 10 yrs. after enrollment: $48,900
> Most popular undergrad major: Specialized sales, merchandising and marketing operations

The Fashion Institute of Technology is a public school, part of the State University of New York higher education system. Based on surveys of current and former students, the school, located in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, is one of the most liberal in the United States. Though the school’s curriculum is generally focused on design, fashion, and art, it also has a broader ethos of educating students to “embrace inclusiveness, commit to sustainability, and engage with community.”

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7. Columbia University
> Location: New York, NY
> Undergraduate enrollment: 8,170
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $71,972
> Typical earnings 10 yrs. after enrollment: $83,300
> Most popular undergrad major: Political science and government

Columbia University is the only Ivy League institution on this list, and one of several liberal schools located in or around New York City. Highly selective, Columbia is one of only two schools on this list with an admission rate below 10%. Founded in 1754 by a royal charter of King George II of England, it is also the oldest school in New York state and the fifth oldest in the United States.

Several high profile left-leaning political figures are among Columbia’s more than 350,000 alumni. They include Jerrold Nadler, a U.S. congressman from New York; Eric Holder, the U.S. attorney general under President Barack Obama; and the 44th president himself.

Source: Courtesy of Sarah Lawrence College

6. Sarah Lawrence College
> Location: Bronxville, NY
> Undergraduate enrollment: 1,355
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $68,234
> Typical earnings 10 yrs. after enrollment: $43,000
> Most popular undergrad major: Liberal arts and sciences, general studies and humanities

Sarah Lawrence is a small, private liberal arts college in Bronxville, New York, about 15 miles north of midtown Manhattan. Originally founded as a school for women only in 1926, Sarah Lawrence became coed in 1968 and is currently 71% female. Rahm Emanuel, former U.S. congressman and chief of staff in the Obama Administration and current Democratic mayor of Chicago is among the school’s distinguished alumni, having earned his bachelor’s degree there.