Is your school green enough to attract eco-conscious students? The Princeton Review released the 2024 edition of its annual Guide to Green Colleges—an online resource the company has published since 2010 for college applicants wanting to attend schools that foster a culture of environmental responsibility.
Based primarily on the company’s surveys of administrators at 683 colleges in 2022-23 and its analyses of more than 25 survey data points, the 2024 edition of the Guide features profiles of 522 schools and ranks the Top 50. From solar-powered dorms to clean energy career prep, the selected schools have exceptional programs, policies, and practices related to sustainability and the environment.
The College of the Atlantic in Maine earned the No. 1 spot on the Top 50 Green Colleges list for the 8th consecutive year. According to the Guide, the school’s green distinctions are exceptional as is its mission: The college awards bachelor’s and master’s degrees exclusively in Human Ecology. The school became the first carbon-neutral college in the U.S. in 2007, and it has committed to becoming fossil-fuel-free by 2030.
Another school in Maine, Colby College, is No. 2 in the Top 50 list and is also carbon-neutral. Its campus has more than 15 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified buildings and spaces. New York University, No. 3 on the list, offers 20+ academic degrees and 600+ courses focused on sustainability.
Demand for Green Schools
The Princeton Review’s release of its annual Guide to Green Colleges occurs during October to align with Campus Sustainability Month—an international celebration of sustainability in higher education by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE).
“With increasing concern about climate change, particularly among younger people who will be most affected by its long-term impact, we are seeing increasing interest among college applicants in attending green colleges,” said Rob Franek, editor-in-chief at The Princeton Review.
Of 8,800 applicants the company polled for its 2023 College Hopes & Worries Survey, 69% said having information about a college’s commitment to the environment would affect their decision to apply to or attend the school. Of that cohort, 28% said such information would contribute “very much” or “strongly” to such a decision.
“Since we debuted our Green Guide 14 years ago, we have also seen dramatic growth in the number of colleges committing to sustainability-related practices—from sourcing food from local purveyors to constructing LEED-certified buildings to making fossil-fuel-free commitments,” Franek added. “We are proud to shine our light on these exceptional schools.”
The top 25 schools on The Princeton Review’s Top 50 Green Colleges list for 2024 are:
- College of the Atlantic (ME)
- Colby College (ME)
- New York University
- Bennington College (VT)
- Dickinson College (PA)
- University of North Carolina at Asheville
- Emory University (GA)
- Gonzaga University (WA)
- University of California—Irvine
- University of California—Merced
- Williams College (MA)
- Loyola Marymount University (CA)
- State University of New York—College of Environmental Science and Forestry
- Colorado State University
- American University (DC)
- University of Vermont
- Vanderbilt University (TN)
- University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Ithaca College (NY)
- Northeastern University (MA)
- University of Connecticut
- Skidmore College (NY)
- Washington State University
- Iowa State University
- Bucknell University (PA)
The full list of the Top 50 Green Colleges is viewable here.
As a group, these schools have impressive commitments to sustainability:
- 28% of their energy comes from clean and renewable sources
- 46% of their waste is diverted from incinerators or solid-waste landfills
- 100% offer a sustainability-focused undergraduate major or degree
- 100% have a sustainability officer
The complete Guide to Green Colleges is available here.