Special Report

Most Liberal Colleges in America

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5. New York University
> Location: New York, NY
> Undergraduate enrollment: 26,055
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $67,865
> Typical earnings 10 yrs. after enrollment: $61,900
> Most popular undergrad major: Registered nursing, nursing administration, nursing research and clinical nursing

With over 26,000 undergraduates, New York University, a private school located in Manhattan, is one of the larger institutions on this list. In late 2015, the university created a task force focusing on equity, diversity, and inclusion in order to “embrace its diversity and promote a culture of inclusion” for all students, staff, and faculty. Indeed, the school has a markedly diverse student body with 25% identifying as white, 19% identifying as Asian, 16% as Hispanic, and 8% as African American.

Notable alumni include many high profile celebrities like Alec Baldwin and Martin Scorcese, and also political leaders like former U.S. House members Charles Rangel and Michael McMahon, both Democrats.

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4. University of California-Berkeley
> Location: Berkeley, CA
> Undergraduate enrollment: 30,574
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $35,777
> Typical earnings 10 yrs. after enrollment: $64,700
> Most popular undergrad major: Cell/cellular biology and anatomical sciences

While the University of California-Berkeley does not rank as the most liberal school in the United States, it has perhaps the most notable reputation for liberal political activism on college campuses. Throughout the tumultuous decade of the 1960s, the public research university was the site of many high profile free speech and anti-Vietnam War protests. Berkeley boasts a long list of notable alumni who have earned a total of 183 Olympic medals and 29 Nobel Prizes. Former California Gov. Jerry Brown attended UC-Berkeley for his bachelor’s degree.

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3. American University
> Location: Washington, DC
> Undergraduate enrollment: 7,433
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $62,162
> Typical earnings 10 yrs. after enrollment: $61,000
> Most popular undergrad major: International relations and national security studies

Washington D.C.-based American University, one of the most liberal schools in the United States, is notable for admitting 400 African American students when segregation was still the law of the land and for admitting women before the ratification of the 19th Amendment.

The school lists diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusive excellence among its core values, and indeed, the student body is relatively diverse with an estimated 56% of students identifying as white. American University’s alumni include Muriel Bowser, the Democratic mayor of Washington D.C.

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2. Mount Holyoke College
> Location: South Hadley, MA
> Undergraduate enrollment: 2,186
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $61,118
> Typical earnings 10 yrs. after enrollment: $48,600
> Most popular undergrad major: Psychology

Mount Holyoke was founded as an all women’s school in 1837 and was the first of the “Seven Sisters” — schools, which have significant representation on this list. According to its website, “Mount Holyoke recognizes that diversity enhances our lives while helping us understand more fully the socio-political world in which we live and preparing us to seek global, environmental solutions and social justice.” Students at Mount Holyoke can join over 100 student organizations that focus on a range of activities including political activism and community service. One of the school’s notable graduates is Frances Perkins, the U.S. secretary of labor under president Franklin D. Roosevelt and the first woman appointed to a cabinet position.

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1. Mills College
> Location: Oakland, CA
> Undergraduate enrollment: 757
> Avg. annual cost of attendance: $61,838
> Typical earnings 10 yrs. after enrollment: $39,900
> Most popular undergrad major: English language and literature

Mills College ranks as the most liberal college in the United States. The small private school, located in Oakland, California, is 100% female. Founded in 1852, it was the first women’s college on the West Coast. According to the school’s website, 58% of the undergraduate population identifies as LGBTQ, and 63% identify as students of color. Student activities on campus include an Earth Day Fair, spoken word performances, and Native American Film Night.