How can my institution be included in The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges?

Since 2012, AASHE has collaborated with Sierra and The Princeton Review to allow colleges and universities to use the STARS Reporting Tool to share their sustainability data for potential inclusion in Sierra’s Cool Schools ranking and The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges

In December 2021, Sierra announced that it has opted to discontinue publishing the Cool Schools rankings. As a result, this article has been updated to focus only on the process for sharing data with The Princeton Review.


To learn how your institution can be featured in AASHE’s Sustainable Campus Index, see How can my institution be included in the Sustainable Campus Index (SCI)?

What do I need to do for my institution to be included?

1. Check that you have opted to share data.

Any college and university (including two-year and technical colleges) located anywhere in the world is eligible for inclusion in The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges. However, AASHE will only share data from STARS participants who have opted in to data sharing. Review your institution’s settings by navigating to the “Share Data” tab in the My Summary section of the Reporting Tool. To opt-in, check the box next to The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges and click the “Save” button.

2. Have a valid STARS report that meets The Princeton Review’s requirements.

The Princeton Review will accept data from institutions with a valid (i.e., not expired) STARS report of any type as of the data sharing deadline of 11:59 P.M. Pacific Time on Friday, March 4, 2022. In other words, a report submitted between March March 5, 2019 and March 6, 2022 with a Reporter designation, a Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum Rating, or a provisional rating that is still in review and revision mode. If you already have a report that meets these criteria and have opted in to share data with The Princeton Review (as described above), data from your most recent report will be shared and you don’t need to take any further action.

Because The Princeton Review accepts data with a Reporter designation, an institution can be considered for inclusion in its Guide to Green Colleges at no cost by participating in STARS using the free basic access option. If you choose to share data as a Reporter, note that you only need to complete the credits requested by The Princeton Review. Alternatively, data can be submitted directly through The Princeton Review’s own Review Data Set Form F: Student Life. The Princeton Review distributes this form annually to a designated data contact at each institution.

If you have any questions about reporting to The Princeton Review, including about the identity of the designated data contact for your institution, please contact surveysupport@review.com.

How will our data be shared?

Opting into data sharing or submitting a STARS report does not immediately transmit data to The Princeton Review.

Once the March 4, 2022 deadline has passed, AASHE will generate an export in Excel format that includes the data requested by The Princeton Review from each participating institution’s most recent eligible STARS report. The export will then be shared with The Princeton Review electronically.

How will our data be used?

The Princeton Review uses its own scoring methodologies to inform its rankings, as described below. AASHE provides data to The Princeton Review as a service to STARS participants who wish to be included in its publications, but we do not necessarily endorse its methodology. We do regularly provide feedback to The Princeton Review and advocate for changes to address member concerns. We welcome comments or suggestions at stars@aashe.org.

The Princeton Review’s Green Rating is derived from:

  • Institutional data about sustainability-related policies, practices, and programs collected from a subset of STARS credits or via a survey (Review Data Set Form F: Student Life) it distributes to colleges and universities independently.
  • Student perception data from surveys of students attending each institution. This includes 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.

As with other rankings published by The Princeton Review, the exact methodology for determining an institution’s Green Rating is proprietary.

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