Top 10 Green Colleges for 2020

most sustainable colleges

Green colleges are all about sustainability, conscious living and learning, and making social, environmental, plus local and global impacts in positive ways across the country. Here at Value Colleges we focused on green colleges with an enrollment of at least 750 students and schools that were featured within the Top 50 Green list from the Princeton Review.

Value Colleges strives to educate students on what colleges give them the best value financially and academically while also meeting the personal needs of each individual student. The Green colleges listed here all offer top-notch sustainability programs and teach green living.


Portland State University

Through research, education and action, Portland State University advances and leads students in understanding and practicing lifelong sustainability solutions. In fact, Portland State University is the most affordable public research university with integrated sustainable practices found in Oregon. With over 29,000 students from diverse backgrounds, the campus proudly serves it’s mission to “let knowledge serve the city.”

Dedicated to collaborative learning, students’ educations extend beyond the classroom and into real-world situations in order to put to use the sustainable practices learned in the classroom. Financial aid is available to all students in the forms of loans, grants, scholarships and work study opportunities.

Enrollment: 21,980

Tuition: $11,847


University of Vermont

A longtime leader in sustainability teaching, the University of Vermont is located in the bustling city of Burlington. In 2014 the university led a Campus Sustainability course, which examined the operational aspects of campus sustainability using it’s own campus as a case study. The Office of Sustainability fosters overall sustainable teaching and learning on the campus and beyond through research and outreach.

The Center for Sustainable Agriculture, founded in 1994, is a Vermont leader in teaching and exercising sustainable agricultural practices! Farmers and stakeholders across the state use programs out of the University of Vermont in order to address the varied needs of the state’s vibrant food system. Most students receive financial aid combining student and/or parent loans plus grants and scholarships.

Enrollment: 10,973

Tuition: $15,096


University of California in Santa Barbara

University of California in Santa Barbara (UCSB) has long been praised for its top-tier research programs in environmental and sustainable areas of study, which are offered in each degree level including undergraduate. For example, the Stewards of Nature is the UCSB natural reserve system that has been supported by student and faculty research and management.

Drawing off local and beautiful Santa Barbara, the university thrives in a living and learning environment day-to-day and in each area of study. The faculty, student and staff community is characterized by this culture of hands on learning and interdisciplinary study, which plays a direct role in our local, global and multicultural society. Distributing over $2.2 million dollars in scholarships total and with aggressive financial aid options, the University of California in Santa Barbara ensures their college experience is affordable for all students.

Enrollment: 2,209

Tuition: $20,607


American University

Well-known and regarded American University prides itself in providing meaningful educations that support and celebrate diversity, inclusion, and sustainability economically, socially and environmentally. At American University students can expect to balance their class time with hands on, career-advancing experience locally in Washington, D.C. and beyond.

The Office of Sustainability was founded in 2009 to help further American University’s mission to have a low carbon impact and their Zero Waste program has sense run successfully and improved over the years. Offering 68 bachelor’s degrees, 71 master’s degrees and 10 doctoral degrees, these tried and true practices extend into all departments and facets of learning at American University.

Enrollment: 7,909

Tuition: $21, 278


Warren Wilson College

Since it’s inception, Warren Wilson College, located in the breathtaking Appalachian Mountains near Asheville, North Carolina, has prided itself on being the United States sole liberal arts college with a national student body that functions within integrated work and service programs. All students are actively engaged in community based research programs in all departments and areas of study and through this research, explore the complexities that filtrate our local and global society today. Students and faculty take a cross-disciplinary approach to education and problem solving.

Warren Wilson is a work college, meaning students receive two educations for the price of one: an academic education and an education that promotes practical skills and job training that focuses on employability. Students take part in caring for and maintaining a fully self-sufficient campus. In fact, for the tenth time since 2005, the Fiske Guide to Colleges has named the college as a ‘Best Buy’ among private colleges and universities nationwide. Warren Wilson offers the best academic experience in relation to the cost of attendance.

Enrollment: 824

Tuition: $33,260


Lewis and Clark College

Lewis & Clark College proudly educates their students with a public conscience and calls itself “a residential campus with a global reach.” With sustainability and green living at it’s core, all three of the colleges schools, including the College of Arts and Sciences, strive to combine liberal learning with local and global collaborations in and out of the classroom.

As just one small part of it’s sustainability efforts, Lewis & Clark boasts green buildings on and throughout the campus. Located in the bustling city of Portland, Oregon, Lewis & Clark is a leader in sustainable practices. Research, campus actions, and programs like the Environmental Studies major all add to Lewis & Clark’s green missions.

Enrollment: 2,209

Tuition: $43,382


Willamette University

Willamette University, located in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, provides more than just a place to study among abundant beauty. The university is deeply committed to pursue connections between it’s location, the environment and sustainable living. With the 305-acre Zena Forest nearby, countless opportunities are available for students to gain hands on environmental learning, especially including the university’s specialized programs such as the sustainability management area of interest or the sustainable law certificate.

Willamette proudly extends it’s sustainable teachings into all facets of education on and off campus, and into all departments of study and students are encouraged to carry these sustainable practices out of the classroom and into their day to day lives.

Enrollment: 2,384

Tuition: $46,900


Dickinson College

Dickinson College, located in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, strives to be a leader in creating a world that is socially, environmentally and economically sustainable. Sustainability programs are infused into nearly every aspect of the college. In addition to the main campus, study abroad campuses are used as living laboratories, places that nurture goal oriented learning and service opportunities for sustainable living worldwide.

Top-notch sustainability programs such as the Center for Sustainability Education, Dickinson College Organic Farm, Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring, and the Dickinson Energy Dashboard make Dickinson a leader in sustainable education worldwide.

Enrollment: 2,420

Tuition: $47,717


Middlebury College

Boasting the oldest environmental studies program in the country, Middlebury College is proud to be leader in sustainable and green colleges nationwide. The college provides students and faculty with an atmosphere of exploratory learning which leads students to tackle and understand real-world problems while earning their degree.

The Office of Sustainability and Integration is a staple on the Middlebury campus and it aims to support and implement initiatives that better the environmental, social and economic impacts across campus operations. The college also offers at least one sustainability class in each of it’s 34 academic departments, such as Environmental Studies or Environmental Writing, which supports the pursuit of literary writing about the environment, sustainability, and the natural world.

Enrollment: 2,542

Tuition: $49,648


Cornell University

As a private, Ivy League university, Cornell University has long been a major global leader in climate change and sustainability research and is currently recognized as a top-ten research university in the world! All fourteen university colleges and schools serve as living laboratories where students and faculty develop, test and then implement strong solutions for some of the worlds most challenging social, economical and environmental issues.

Offering programs in agriculture, nutrition and food safety, and the Cornell Cooperative Extension for environmental and natural resource programs, sustainability and community engagement are at the forefront of Cornell’s teachings. The university still follows it’s founding vision of providing a school where “any person can find instruction in any study” through robust financial aid options.

Enrollment: 14,315

Tuition: $50, 953