Colleges in Massachusetts ranked among most liberal, safest

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Which colleges are the most expensive? Which are the safest? Which are the most politically liberal?

We’ve scoured the various college-ranking websites and the results are in: The Bay State is home to some of the safest, most liberal, and most expensive colleges in America.

Safety, a site that specializes in home security systems, crunched the most recent FBI crime statistics available to identify and rank America’s 50 safest college towns. 

In Massachusetts, four towns cracked the list, with Amherst and its three schools (Amherst College, Hampshire College and the University of Massachusetts-Amherst) ranking eighth, one spot ahead of Princeton, New Jersey.  SafeWise attributed the Pioneer Valley town’s high score to its commitment to “better educate its residents about domestic violence.” The town does so by featuring a bilingual guide to domestic and sexual violence, with a section describing how to obtain a restraining order, the site says.

Here’s what SafeWise has to say about the other three top-50 Bay State college towns:


  • #27. Waltham, home to Bentley University and Brandeis University: “The community keeps a watchful eye on the medical safety of residents. Waltham, for example, sponsors the Waltham Medical Reserve Corps, which enlists and trains residents in emergency management and disaster medical operations.”
  • #28. Medford, home to Tufts University: “On campus, Tufts has created a network of safety-related technology—Tufts Alert, Tufts Mobile, and the Tufts Threat Assessment and Management Program—that keeps community members informed and safe using email, social media, and online reporting tools.”
  • #36. Westfield, home to Westfield State University: “Recently, the team provided information and resources during the 2009 H1N1 Flu Pandemic and in preparation for the landing of Hurricane Sandy in 2012.” H1N1 is a technical term for swine flu, which mainly affects pigs.


There are, however, conflicting rankings as they relate specifically to college campuses and the cities and towns they call home.

According to crime data culled from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education, Hampshire College in Amherst ranked as the 24th most dangerous college campus in America., the site that broke down the data, determined the rankings by crunching the average number of alleged criminal offenses (murder/non-negligent manslaughter, forcible and non-forcible sex offenses, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft and arson) per year (between 2011-2013) per every 1,000 students enrolled.

Thus, Hampshire College averaged 27 such incidents per year, which equates to 18.1 incidents per every 1,000 students.


There were two Massachusetts colleges that appeared in the latest Princeton Review ranking of the top 20 most liberal student bodies:


  • #19. Smith College, Northampton: “Smith College is ‘an incredibly prestigious, diverse, academically rigorous, socially liberal, and well-respected institution,’ located in the consummate college town of Northampton, Massachusetts.”
  • #20 Brandeis University, Waltham: Located just outside Boston, Brandeis is a private liberal arts and research university that has “a little bit of everything,” according to the publisher of popular reviews. The school “gives students the freedom to explore both in and outside of the classroom.”


No Massachusetts-based colleges appeared in the Princeton Review’s latest ranking of the top 20 most conservative student bodies.

Cost, a website that specializes in college tuition cost analysis, recently identified the most expensive colleges in Massachusetts based upon 2014-2015 school year data provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

Here are the top 10 most expensive Massachusetts colleges, in terms of yearly tuition and living expenses:

  • #1. Bard College at Simon’s Rock, Great Barrington: $62,749
  • #2. Amherst College, Amherst: $62,206
  • #3. Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, Needham: $62,181
  • #4. Tufts University, Medford: $62, 077
  • #5. Williams College, Williamstown: $61,870
  • #6. Brandeis University, Waltham: $61,750
  • #7. Boston University, Boston: $61,694
  • #8. Boston College, Chestnut Hill: $61,622
  • #9. Hampshire College, Amherst: $61,265
  • #10 Babson College, Wellesley: $60,634


No Massachusetts-based colleges appeared on CollegeCalc’s national top-10 most expensive college list.

Leading the pack as the most expensive college in America is the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles at a whopping $68,888, followed by Sarah Lawrence College (Yonkers, New York) at $65,592 and the University of Chicago at $65,395.