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Most conservative public colleges in America

  • Most conservative public colleges in America

    Higher education has a reputation for being liberal. From professors to student clubs to prominent speakers invited to campus, many conservatives claim that bastions of higher education are inhospitable to them and their political beliefs. This can complicate the application process for conservative students, as they perceive a narrower pool of colleges and universities to choose from than those who ascribe to more liberal views.

    In actuality, conservatives looking for a public college campus hospitable to their beliefs have several options. Many of these colleges are in solidly red states like Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Mississippi, but purple states like Virginia and Pennsylvania have their share of conservative colleges, too.

    The type of conservatism on campus is far from uniform. Some schools skew conservative socially, often because of a strong religious bent on campus that comes from the surrounding community—particularly in Mormon-heavy Utah. Other schools have a reputation for being conservative in foreign or financial policy or on other issues. And some schools in the South have symbols of the confederate era lingering on campus that make it hard to shed their conservative reputations.

    Stacker examined the nation's colleges and universities and compiled a list of the 50 most conservative public colleges in the United States. For this list, we consulted the research website Niche, which ranked schools' conservatism based on students' reviews of the schools' campus communities. These reviews weigh the political leanings of the reviewer if the reviewer attends or has attended the school and the reviewer's opinion of it. Details on Niche's methodology explain the site's rankings, and survey data are accurate as of 2019.

    Read on to see if your college or university ranks among the most conservative in the nation.

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  • #50. University of Wisconsin–River Falls

    - Location: River Falls, WI
    - Students: 5,014
    - Acceptance rate: 75%
    - Graduation rate: 53%
    - Faculty ratio: 21:1
    - In-state Tuition: $8,013
    - Out-of-state tuition: $15,586
    - Six-year median earnings: $40,900

    The University of Wisconsin-River Falls recently had an incident in which a conservative group was asked to leave campus grounds because they were violating school policy. The policy in question? The right to “free speech”—which many conservative groups have adopted as a guise under which anything may be said, so long as the speaker is holding onto a beach ball, which has become a symbol for the absolute right to say anything.

  • #49. University of Tennessee–Chattanooga

    - Location: Chattanooga, TN
    - Students: 8,962
    - Acceptance rate: 83%
    - Graduation rate: 45%
    - Faculty ratio: 19:1
    - In-state Tuition: $8,664
    - Out-of-state tuition: $24,782
    - Six-year median earnings: $38,100

    UTC students tend to skew conservative, with many attending church services and holding conservative fiscal, social, and political beliefs. Locals highlight, however, that political divides are friendlier and more polite than they are elsewhere in the country, with residents often “agreeing to disagree.”

  • #48. Rogers State University

    - Location: Claremore, OK
    - Students: 2,178
    - Acceptance rate: 100%
    - Graduation rate: 17%
    - Faculty ratio: 19:1
    - In-state Tuition: $6,870
    - Out-of-state tuition: $15,210
    - Six-year median earnings: $34,000

    The right to bear arms is a hallmark of the conservative movement in America, and Rogers State University students support that in the extreme. The school’s student government association even voted to allow concealed weapons to be carried on its campus.

  • #47. Mississippi State University

    - Location: Starkville, MS
    - Students: 16,803
    - Acceptance rate: 62%
    - Graduation rate: 58%
    - Faculty ratio: 20:1
    - In-state Tuition: $8,318
    - Out-of-state tuition: $22,358
    - Six-year median earnings: $40,200

    Mississippi State University students tend to be ideologically conservative and push back when their views aren’t favored by campus administrators and professors. A recent outcry arose over a professor’s alleged penalization of students who disagreed with the instructor’s liberal views, which they perceived as biased.

  • #46. Delta State University

    - Location: Cleveland, MS
    - Students: 2,198
    - Acceptance rate: 87%
    - Graduation rate: 40%
    - Faculty ratio: 13:1
    - In-state Tuition: $6,739
    - Out-of-state tuition: $6,739
    - Six-year median earnings: $33,700

    A recent rule at Delta State University stipulates that students can be punished for expressing views that may distress others. Conservatives in the community have been incensed over the new rules and have even organized events protesting it.

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  • #45. Lock Haven University

    - Location: Lock Haven, PA
    - Students: 3,176
    - Acceptance rate: 89%
    - Graduation rate: 55%
    - Faculty ratio: 17:1
    - In-state Tuition: $10,576
    - Out-of-state tuition: $20,056
    - Six-year median earnings: $41,500

    Lock Haven University’s most famous conservative bona fide? A new course started by a sociology professor—“Culture and Society in the Age of Trump”—in response to conservative students who said they wished they had a place to openly share their views on the president.

  • #44. The University of Alabama in Huntsville

    - Location: Huntsville, AL
    - Students: 5,903
    - Acceptance rate: 81%
    - Graduation rate: 49%
    - Faculty ratio: 16:1
    - In-state Tuition: $10,280
    - Out-of-state tuition: $21,480
    - Six-year median earnings: $46,700

    Huntsville is a largely conservative town, and this also holds true of its college students. Many businesses are closed on Sundays as much of the population attends church, with a large ex-military population putting a further conservative skew on the tenor of the town.

  • #43. Northwest Missouri State University

    - Location: Maryville, MO
    - Students: 4,806
    - Acceptance rate: 74%
    - Graduation rate: 50%
    - Faculty ratio: 21:1
    - In-state Tuition: $7,657
    - Out-of-state tuition: $12,908
    - Six-year median earnings: $40,000

    Northwest Missouri State University has several notable conservative alumni. Among these is John Quinn, a member of the Missouri House of Representatives for eight years.

  • #42. Clemson University

    - Location: Clemson, SC
    - Students: 18,642
    - Acceptance rate: 47%
    - Graduation rate: 82%
    - Faculty ratio: 16:1
    - In-state Tuition: $15,116
    - Out-of-state tuition: $36,058
    - Six-year median earnings: $52,400

    Christian fundamentalism is associated with Clemson to the extent that even the football coach has been accused of indoctrinating students. This translates into a conservative political atmosphere on campus. Some students say the student body is getting more diverse, but for now, it skews largely white and religious.

  • #41. University of Minnesota–Crookston

    - Location: Crookston, MN
    - Students: 1,195
    - Acceptance rate: 69%
    - Graduation rate: 54%
    - Faculty ratio: 16:1
    - In-state Tuition: $11,814
    - Out-of-state tuition: $11,814
    - Six-year median earnings: $44,800

    The University of Minnesota - Crookston is such a conservative mainstay in the community that conservative politicians have held forums there to vie for local votes. Candidates have used such events to argue with each other about who could provide the lowest taxes, and how.

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