2021 College Free Speech Rankings 


The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), in partnership with RealClearEducation, commissioned College Pulse to conduct a survey of students at 159 colleges about students’ experiences with free speech on their campuses. Fielded from February 15 to May 30, 2021, via the College Pulse mobile app and web portal, the survey included over 37,000 student respondents who were currently enrolled in four-year degree programs. This was the largest survey of college students about free speech on their campuses ever conducted.

Key Highlights Include

  • Claremont McKenna has the highest ranked score on the 2021 Free Speech Rankings. The University of Chicago, the University of New Hampshire, Emory University, and Florida State University also rank highly.

  • DePauw University has the lowest overall score on the Free Speech Rankings for the second year in a row, confirming its place at the bottom. Marquette University, Louisiana State University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Boston College are near the bottom of the rankings.
  • More than 80% of students report censoring their viewpoints at their colleges at least some of the time, with 21% saying they censor themselves often.

  • More than 50% of students identify racial inequality as a difficult topic to discuss on their campus.

  • Two thirds of students (66%) say it is acceptable to shout down a speaker to prevent them from speaking on campus, and almost one in four (23%) say it is acceptable to use violence to stop a campus speech.





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