Princeton Review rates top green colleges and universities

green-collegesThe Princeton Review – known for its education services helping students choose and get in to colleges – today reported its second annual Green Ratings of colleges: a measure of how environmentally friendly the institutions are on a scale of 60 to 99.   The company tallied its Green Ratings for 697 institutions based on data it collected from the colleges in 2008-09 concerning their environmentally related policies, practices, and academic offerings.

The Princeton Review also named 15 colleges to its “2010 Green Rating Honor Roll” – a list that salutes the institutions that received the highest possible score – 99 – in this year’s rating tallies. 

The Green Rating scores appear in the profiles of the 697 schools that The Princeton Review posted today on its site, The ratings are also in profiles of those schools in the 2010 editions of three Princeton Review books:  “The Best 371 Colleges” (on sale July 28, $22.99), “The Best Northeastern Colleges” (on sale August 4, $16.99), and “Complete Book of Colleges” (on sale August 4, $26.99), all published by Random House.


The Princeton Review developed its Green Rating criteria and institutional survey in 2007 with ecoAmerica, a non-profit environmental organization that continues to participate in this project.  The criteria for the rating the colleges and universities cover three broad areas:

  1. whether the school’s students have a campus quality of life that is healthy and sustainable,
  2. how well the school is preparing its students for employment and citizenship in a world defined by environmental challenges, and
  3. the school’s overall commitment to environmental issues.

The institutional survey for the rating included ten questions on everything from energy use, recycling, food, buildings, and transportation to academic offerings (availability of environmental studies degrees and courses) and action plans and goals concerning greenhouse gas emission reductions.

This list, published in “The Best 371 Colleges,” salutes 15 institutions (eight private and seven public colleges) that received the highest possible rating score of 99.  It includes (in alphabetical order):

  • Arizona State University at the Tempe campus
  • Bates College (Lewiston ME)
  • Binghamton University (State Univ. of New York at Binghamton)
  • College of the Atlantic (Bar Harbor ME)
  • Colorado College (Colorado Springs CO)
  • Dickinson College (Carlisle PA)
  • Evergreen State College (Olympia WA)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta)
  • Harvard College (Cambridge MA)
  • Middlebury College (Middlebury VT)
  • Northeastern University (Boston MA)
  • University of California – Berkeley
  • University of New Hampshire (Durham)
  • University of Washington (Seattle)
  • Yale University (New Haven CT)

The Princeton Review’s “2010 Green Rating Honor Roll”

Said Robert Franek, V.P. / Publisher, The Princeton Review, “The ‘green’ movement on college campuses is far more than an Earth Day recycling project.  It is growing tremendously among students and administrators alike.  This year we saw a 30% increase in the number of colleges participating in our Green Rating survey.  We thank the nearly 700 institutions  (697 vs. 534 last year) that supplied us with the data we requested to tally their scores.  Many have shown extraordinary commitments to environmental issues and to the environment in their practices and programs.  We are pleased to play a role in helping students who care deeply about these issues identify, get into, and study at these schools.”

Franek noted the rising interest among students in attending colleges that practice, teach and support environmentally responsible choices.  Among almost 16,000 college applicants and parents of applicants The Princeton Review surveyed this year for its annual “College Hopes & Worries Survey,” 66% of respondents overall (and 68% of students vs. 59% of parents) said they would value having information about a college’s commitment to the environment – a 4% increase from last year’s respondents.    Among that cohort, 24% of respondents overall (26% of students vs. 18% of parents) said such information would “very much” impact their (their child’s) decision to apply to or attend the school.

The Princeton Review has dedicated a resource area on its website for students and others interested in learning more about the rating and the benefits of attending a green college.  The area ( has information on colleges with exemplary environmental programs, questions to ask on school visits, and links to organizations that promote higher education and campus sustainability programs.

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