25 Most Liberal Universities in the US 2024

If you’re someone who cares about politics, it’s a good idea to pick a college that shares your beliefs. But even if you’re not super into politics, choosing a school that aligns with your values could still make your college experience better. For instance, if you’re more on the left side politically, you might want to look into liberal colleges.

One advantage of going to a school that matches your political views is that you’re likely to find friends who think like you do. Liberal colleges tend to attract students who share similar ideas. Plus, you’ll probably find clubs and groups on campus that focus on issues you care about. That means it could be easier and more fun to get involved in campus life.

Key Attributes of the Most Liberal Universities

When it comes to the most liberal universities , you’ll often find them on the east or west coast, close to mountains or the ocean, offering picturesque campuses.

These schools share similar values, focusing on diversity, inclusion, sustainability, and social mobility. Students are often passionate about social activism, advocating for causes like LGBTQ+ rights and universal healthcare.

At liberal colleges, professors may take a more hands-off approach, letting students drive class discussions while they act as mediators. Studies show that professors at these colleges tend to lean left politically, ensuring you’ll receive an education that resonates with your values.

If you’re keen on attending a liberal-leaning college but aren’t sure where to start, you’re in luck! Below, we’ve compiled a list of the most liberal universities in America.

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25 Most Liberal Universities in the US 2024

1) San Jose State University

Acceptance Rate: 75%

San Jose State University plays a significant role in the cultural and social development of Silicon Valley. With a rich history of social activism, SJSU emphasizes sustainability and health and wellness as key components of the student experience.

2) Ramapo College of New Jersey

Acceptance Rate: 70%

As a liberal arts college, Ramapo College emphasizes experiential learning and strives to promote diversity, inclusiveness, sustainability, student engagement, and community involvement. It is also ranked as a top performer for social mobility, making it a great choice for students seeking a supportive and progressive environment.

3) St. John Fisher University

Acceptance Rate: 73%

St. John Fisher University, a liberal college with a Catholic tradition, is committed to providing a liberal arts education with a focus on inclusivity. The university fosters a community where everyone is welcome, regardless of religious or cultural background.

4) Central Connecticut State University

Acceptance Rate: 77%

Central Connecticut State University offers a wide range of accessible therapy services to support its students. The campus also features an LGBTQ+ service center, ensuring that all students feel welcome and supported.

5) American University

Acceptance Rate: 41%

Located in Washington, DC, American University is renowned for its liberal ethos. The campus emphasizes diversity and inclusion, health and well-being, and community service. AU is also a leader in combating climate change and is one of the first carbon-neutral universities in the United States.

6) University of California-Santa Cruz

Acceptance Rate: 47%

UC-Santa Cruz stands out for its leadership in racial and gender diversity, according to the Women’s Power Gap Initiative. With a sprawling campus serving over 17,000 undergraduates, UC Santa Cruz excels at the crossroads of innovation, social justice, and sustainability. It was ranked #2 among public universities for making a significant impact.

7) New York University

Acceptance Rate: 12%

NYU, located in New York City, is one of the most liberal colleges in the nation. The university has a strong focus on sustainability, aiming to reduce greenhouse emissions by 50% by 2025 through its Climate Action Plans. NYU emphasizes global leadership and outreach, positioning itself as a university dedicated to addressing humanity’s challenges.

8) University of Vermont

Acceptance Rate: 60%

The University of Vermont, situated in Burlington, aims to be a premier institution with a strong commitment to liberal arts education. The university prioritizes research, sustainability, and diversity. Common undergraduate degrees include biological and biomedical sciences.

9) University of California-Riverside

Acceptance Rate: 69%

UC Riverside is dedicated to inspiring a new generation of innovative thinkers. The campus is highly regarded for its diversity, particularly in its medical school. UC Riverside focuses on social mobility and fostering change within a multicultural society.

10) University of Oregon

Acceptance Rate: 86%

Located in Eugene, Oregon, the University of Oregon is known for awarding the most undergraduate degrees in Social Sciences in the 2020-2021 academic year. The university is committed to being an “agent of change and innovation” through its research and academic programs.

11) Stony Brook University

Acceptance Rate: 49%

As part of the SUNY (State University of New York) system, Stony Brook University is renowned for its liberal values. The university is dedicated to creating a welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ students and emphasizes multicultural learning and community engagement.

12) Pace University

Acceptance Rate: 83%

Located in New York, Pace University prepares students for the future with a “rigorous liberal arts curriculum.” The university caters to diverse dietary needs with vegan, gluten-free, Halal, and Kosher options in its dining hall. International students make up 18% of the student population.

13) University of Washington

Acceptance Rate: 48%

The University of Washington is committed to supporting undocumented students of all ethnicities and nationalities through its Leadership Without Borders Center (LWB). The university is also active in its Sustainability Action Plan, aiming to reduce solid waste and greenhouse gases.

14) Northeastern Illinois University

Acceptance Rate: 63%

While most liberal colleges are on the coasts, Northeastern Illinois University is a standout in the Midwest. Located in Chicago, it is regarded as the most diverse public comprehensive university in the region.

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15) Adelphi University

Acceptance Rate: 73%

Located in New York, Adelphi University is dedicated to promoting fairness and a sense of belonging. The university has multiple groups focused on identifying areas for progress and opportunity, making it a supportive environment for students. Adelphi is also recognized as one of the best colleges for first-year experiences.

16) University of Houston—Downtown

Acceptance Rate: 88%

Recently recognized as one of the most diverse liberal colleges in the U.S., the University of Houston—Downtown (UHD) prides itself on fostering an environment that welcomes and embraces students from all backgrounds. This commitment to diversity makes UHD a vibrant and inclusive place for higher education.

17) Northwestern University

Acceptance Rate: 7%

Located in Evanston, Illinois, Northwestern University is a highly selective institution. With a strong emphasis on research, Northwestern fosters the growth of its students within a diverse academic community. The university’s rigorous and empathetic curriculum supports both academic excellence and personal development.

18) Boston University

Acceptance Rate: 14%

Boston University (BU) boasts a diverse and vibrant campus life. With students from various cultural and religious backgrounds, BU is committed to preventing discrimination and ensuring an inclusive campus experience. The university’s dedication to diversity is evident in its student body and campus initiatives.

19) CUNY Hunter College

Acceptance Rate: 48%

CUNY Hunter College, located in New York, is a top performer for social mobility. The college is dedicated to student involvement in advocacy, outreach, faith-based organizations, and culture-focused groups. This commitment helps students develop a strong sense of community and purpose.

20) Mount Holyoke College

Acceptance Rate: 40%

Mount Holyoke College is a liberal arts college for women located in Massachusetts. The college is gender diverse, welcoming applications from female, transgender, and non-binary students. Mount Holyoke is dedicated to empowering women who aspire to make a difference in the world, providing a supportive and inclusive environment for all its students.

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21) Sarah Lawrence College

Acceptance Rate: 50%

Located in New York, Sarah Lawrence College is committed to maintaining a diverse and inclusive community for learning, working, and living. As a liberal arts college, it offers programs focusing on creative and performing arts, history and social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences and mathematics.

22) Portland State University

Acceptance Rate: 93%

Portland State University is a public research institution that prioritizes affordability and sustainability. The university actively works to identify and overcome barriers to diversity, equity, and inclusion, making it a welcoming place for all students.

23) Wesleyan University

Acceptance Rate: 14%

Located in Connecticut, Wesleyan University is known for its interdisciplinary liberal arts education. The university aims to build a diverse and dynamic community of students, faculty, and staff who think critically and creatively.

24) West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Acceptance Rate: 88%

West Chester University offers a wide range of degree programs and places a strong emphasis on student life. With over 300 student clubs and organizations, the university encourages student involvement and fosters a sense of inclusion.

25) University of California – Berkeley

Acceptance Rate: 11%

UC Berkeley is the top all-time producer of Peace Corps volunteers and has a student population that includes 26% first-generation first-year students as of 2023. The university’s commitment to social impact and inclusivity makes it a standout choice for liberal-minded students.

Most Liberal Universities in the US – Conclusion

Choosing a college that aligns with your political and social values can significantly enhance your college experience. The schools listed above are among the most liberal in the country, each with unique strengths and commitments to diversity, inclusion, and social justice. Whether you’re looking for a vibrant urban campus like New York University’s or a historic institution with a strong focus on research like UC Berkeley, these colleges offer environments where you can thrive both academically and personally. If you prioritize progressive values, activism, and a supportive community, any of these schools could be a great fit for your higher education journey.