Oregon's 11 most conservative colleges

Note: Oregon's most liberal colleges will publish Thursday

The Pew Research Center released a survey earlier this month indicating that more than half of Republicans believe colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country.

The figure, of 58 percent, is up from 45 percent last year.

SLIDESHOW: Oregon's most conservative colleges

At the same time, 72 percent of Democrats said higher education has a positive effect on the U.S.

The clear conservative-liberal divide led us to explore the ideologies associated with Oregon's colleges. For an answer, we tapped Niche, the Pittsburgh researcher, and collected survey results gauging which of the state's colleges are the most conservative and which are considered the most liberal (that story will publish on Thursday).

Niche used student surveys from each institution to shape its results. A full 80 percent of its ranking is pulled from students' answers regarding their own ideologies.

The other 20 percent is based on "student opinions about the conservative political leanings of students at the college they currently or recently attend(ed)."

The company didn't release the exact results of the survey. Because of the way it's weighted, some schools may appear on both lists. Also, not all four-year schools (notably Reed College, which has a liberal reputation) were surveyed.

Niche studied 747 four-year colleges and universities.

The results raise the question: Does ideology matter when a student (or parent) selects a school?

"There are many reasons one would select a school, and, of course, ideology is one," said Pat Burk, a Portland State University education professor. "Parochial schools, for example, are very popular, but they have always been popular. That is not new. However, parents also expect that their children will be able to attend a college of their choice and attain a good career, regardless of where they went to school.

"I do not see these as mutually exclusive in the minds of parents. In fact, many parents seek out a private school, regardless of its religious or political orientation, on the basis of its college going rates and the perception that graduating from a private school gives the kid "a leg up" on the competition for better colleges."

A list of the state's schools, as ranked by conservative ideology, is above.

Andy is the Portland Business Journal’s digital managing editor, overseeing the daily digital news operation. Sign up here to receive the free news-packed emails he curates every day.

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