Top 50 Green Colleges

College of the Atlantic took the #1 Spot on the Princeton Review List of “Top 50 Green Colleges” for second consecutive year. The just released eighth annual guide to the most environmentally responsible “green” colleges named State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry as #2 and Colby College to the #3 slot.

Green colleges


The Princeton Review’s “Guide to 375 Green Colleges, 2017” profiles colleges with the most exceptional commitments to sustainability based on their academic offerings and career preparation for students, campus policies, initiatives, and activities. Detailed online profiles give college applicants information about each school’s admission requirements, cost and financial aid, as well as student body facts and stats.

The “Guide to 375 Green Colleges” offers “Green Facts” write-ups on many schools featuring everything from the school’s use of renewable energy, recycling, and conservation programs to the availability of environmental studies and career guidance for green jobs.

“Our online Green Guide offers helpful information for students about green majors and careers and the benefits of choosing a green college,” stated Robert Franek, The Princeton Review’s Editor-in-Chief. “We know that students are increasingly interested in this issue and we are happy to be able to help them make an informed decision. Among more than 10,000 teens and parents who participated in our 2017 College Hopes & Worries Survey, 64% told us that having information about a school’s commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the college.”

Franek noted compelling facts about the top 50 colleges on the guide’s new ranking list. Among this group of schools:

  • 24% of their total food expenditures go to purchases of local and/or organic food
  • 68% of the new construction on their campuses is USGBC ( LEED-certified
  • 100% offer an undergraduate major or degree that is sustainability focused
  • 98% have a sustainability officer and sustainability committee.

The College of the Atlantic (Bar Harbor, ME) which captured the #1 spot has many green distinctions according to The Princeton Review Green Guide:

  • COA became the first carbon-neutral college in 2007
  • COA owns and stewards 300 acres of forest and farmland, which provide research and educational opportunities for students and faculty
  • COA’s hands-on curriculum involves students in implementing the college’s commitment to become a fossil fuel-free campus by 2030

The top 15 schools on The Princeton Review’s “Top 50 Green Colleges” list are:

  1. College of the Atlantic (ME)
  2. State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  3. Colby College (ME)
  4. University of Vermont
  5. Dickinson College (PA)
  6. St. Mary’s College of Maryland
  7. Cornell University (NY)
  8. Colorado State University
  9. Stanford University (CA)
  10. University of California, Davis
  11. Saint Michael’s College (VT)
  12. Santa Clara University (CA)
  13. University of California, Santa Cruz
  14. Lewis & Clark College (OR)
  15. Green Mountain College (VT)

The complete list of top 50 schools is at

How Schools Were Chosen for the Guide 

The Princeton Review chose the colleges based on “Green Rating” scores (from 60 to 99) that the company tallied in summer 2017 for 629 colleges using data from its 2016-17 survey of school administrators. The survey asked them to report on their school’s sustainability-related policies, practices, and programs. More than 25 data points were weighted in the assessment. Schools with Green Rating scores of 80 or higher made it into this guide. Most of the schools (375) in this edition are in the U.S. Thirteen are in Canada. One is in Egypt. Information about Princeton Review’s Green Rating and its Green Honor Roll saluting schools that received the highest possible rating score, 99, is at

How the Top 50 Green Colleges List Was Done

The Princeton Review developed the ranking list using data from its institutional survey for its Green Rating and its surveys of students attending the colleges. Ten data points from the institutional survey were factored into the assessment. Data from the student survey included student ratings of how sustainability issues influenced their education and life on campus; administration and student support for environmental awareness and conservation efforts; and the visibility and impact of student environmental groups.

The Princeton Review is headquartered in New York, NY. The company is not affiliated with Princeton University. Note: The Princeton Review does not publish the schools’ Green Rating scores in this guide. The scores can be found in the profiles of the schools on and in the 2018 edition of The Princeton Review books, The Complete Book of Colleges and The Best 382 Colleges published in August 2017. For more information, visit

Photo credits: Princeton Review photo provided by The Princeton Review; OTIS photo provided by Green Mountain College.