College of the Atlantic Takes #1 Spot on New List of “Top 50 Green Colleges”

NEW YORK, October 6, 2016  — The Princeton Review ( today released its seventh annual free guide to the most environmentally responsible "green" colleges.  

The Princeton Review's Guide to 361 Green Colleges: 2016 Edition profiles colleges with the most exceptional commitments to sustainability based on their academic offerings and career preparation for students, campus policies, initiatives, and activities. The profiles in the guide give college applicants information about each school's admission requirements, cost and financial aid, as well as student body facts and stats.    

The free 160-page guide is downloadable at There users can also peruse detailed “Green Facts” write-ups on the schools. The write-ups report on 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.

The 2016 edition includes a ranking list of the "Top 50 Green Colleges" on which College of the Atlantic (Bar Harbor, ME) captured the #1 spot. Among its many green distinctions: 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; and the college’s hands-on curriculum involves students in implementing COA’s commitment to become a fossil fuel-free campus by 2050—already COA classes have participated in energy audits and have researched, sited, and installed solar photovoltaic arrays on campus. 

Among nearly 10,000 teens who participated in our 2016 College Hopes & Worries Survey, 61% told us that having information about a school's commitment to the environment would influence their decision to apply to or attend the college, said Robert Franek, The Princeton Review's Senior VP-Publisher. (A complete report on that survey is at We strongly recommend the schools in this guide to environmentally-minded students who seek to study and live at green colleges.

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

  • 27% of their total food expenditures go to purchases of local and/or organic food
  • 76% of the new construction on their campuses is USGBC ( LEED-certified
  • 98% offer an undergraduate major or degree that is sustainability focused
  • 100% have a sustainability officer and sustainability committee

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. Green Mountain College (VT)    
  4. Colorado State College
  5. Lewis & Clark College (OR)
  6. Middlebury College (VT)
  7. University of California—Santa Cruz
  8. Dickinson College (PA)
  9. University of Vermont
  10. University of Washington
  11. Stanford University (CA)
  12. Willamette University (OR)
  13. University of California—Santa Barbara
  14. Pomona College (CA)
  15. Cornell University (NY)

The complete list of top 50 schools is at Information about how The Princeton Review chose the schools for the guide and tallied its top 50 green colleges ranking list follows.

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 2016 for 640 colleges using data from its 2015-16 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 (350) in this edition are in the U.S. Ten 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 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 2017 edition of The Princeton Review books, The Best 381 Colleges and The Complete Book of Colleges , published in August 2016.

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 first published this guide in 2010. It remains the only free, annually updated downloadable guide to green colleges. The company is also known for its dozens of categories of college rankings in its annual books, The Best 381 Colleges and Colleges That Pay You Back.

About The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review is a leading test preparation, tutoring, and college admission services company. Every year, it helps millions of college- and graduate school-bound students achieve their education and career goals through online and in person courses delivered by a network of more than 4,000 teachers and tutors and its more than 150 print and digital books published by Penguin Random House. The Princeton Review is headquartered in New York, NY, and is an operating business of Match Group (NASDAQ: MTCH). For more information, visit The Princeton Review on its website and on its Facebook page. Follow the company's Twitter feed @ThePrincetonRev.


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    Note To Editors

    Lists of the colleges in the guide: