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Which colleges have produced the most legislators in the 118th Congress?

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Which colleges have produced the most legislators in the 118th Congress?

U.S. National Capitol in Washington DC.

The most racially and ethnically diverse U.S. Congress to date is also the most educated.

The 118th Congress, convened as a result of the 2022 U.S. midterm elections and set to end its term on Jan. 3, 2025, is very well-educated when compared to the people the legislative body represents. According to a report from the Congressional Research Service, 96% of the lawmakers in the current Congress—93.8% of House members and 99% of senators—have at least an undergraduate degree. By contrast, only 37.7% of Americans above 25 years old had a college degree in 2022, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Congress members’ educational attainment has increased over the past few decades. Since the 87th Congress in the early 1960s, the share of legislators with at least a bachelor’s degree has increased by 20 percentage points. Today, the share of senators with an advanced degree, such as a master’s, Ph.D., or J.D., is larger than that of college graduates 60 years ago.

Ivy League universities have been popular choices for aspiring American political leaders. Harvard University is the most prolific breeding ground for U.S. presidents, with eight U.S. chiefs of state claiming it as their alma mater. Yale follows closely behind with five presidential alumni. But plenty of non-Ivy League schools, such as Stanford, Georgetown, and the University of Wisconsin—Madison, are also known for having successful alumni in American politics.

Best Universities used the Biographical Directory of Congress to find out which schools were most popular among members of the 118th Congress for their undergraduate degrees. The ranking includes members who served for some of the 118th Congress but have since resigned or are planning to resign/retire soon.

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#12. Brown University (tie)

Brown University College Green aerial view on College Hill in Providence.

– 5 members of Congress

Brown University is an Ivy League institution located in Providence, Rhode Island. Brown was founded in 1764, which makes it one of the oldest universities in the U.S. Over 80 academic programs are available to undergraduates at Brown. The school is renowned for its unique Open Curriculum, which encourages interdisciplinary exploration and fosters creative thinking.

Reps. David Cicilline, Seth Magaziner, Dean Phillips, Deborah Ross, and Sen. Margaret Hassan, all of whom are members of the 118th Congress, attended Brown University as undergraduates. Other Brown University notable alumni include U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, actor Emma Watson, politician Andrew Yang, and actor John Krasinski.

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#12. Dartmouth College (tie)

Looking down the Dartmouth Green with trees beginning to show fall colors.

– 5 members of Congress

Dartmouth College is a private Ivy League university in Hanover, New Hampshire. Established in 1769, Dartmouth became one of the nine colonial colleges chartered prior to the American Revolution. The college offers a variety of academic programs in over 40 departments and is recognized for its world-class faculty, intimate class sizes, and vibrant campus life.

In the 118th Congress, the school is represented by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Angus King, as well as Reps. Thomas Kean, Ann Kuster, and Alex Mooney. The list of Dartmouth College’s notable alumni includes children’s author Theodor Seuss Geisel (known as Dr. Seuss), actor Mindy Kaling, and television host Laura Ingraham.

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#12. The George Washington University (tie)

George Washington University sign on a bust on campus.

– 5 members of Congress

The George Washington University is a private research university located in the nation’s capital. Founded in 1821, GW offers programs across 14 schools and colleges and is renowned for its departments of political science, international affairs, and journalism. The university is also well-known for its breathtaking campus in the heart of Washington D.C.

The school’s alumni in the current Congress are Reps. Andrew Garbarino, Jared Moskowitz, William Timmons, Jill Tokuda, and Sen. Mark Warner. Other famous graduates actor Jared Leto, author and poet Elizabeth Acevedo, and former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

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#12. University of California, Berkeley (tie)

Aerial view of buildings in University of California, Berkeley campus.

– 5 members of Congress

University of California, Berkeley is a prestigious public university, the oldest in the UC system. It was tied with UCLA for first place in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-2023 ranking of top public universities. A total of over 350 academic programs are available to students of this institution.

The 118th Congress has the following UC Berkeley alumni among its members: Reps. John Garamendi, Doris Matsui, Andrea Salinas, Linda Sánchez, and Kim Schrier. The school’s list of famous alumni includes actor Chris Pine, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, and former California governor Jerry Brown.


#12. University of Florida (tie)

A street leading to the University of Florida.

– 5 members of Congress

The University of Florida, part of the State University System of Florida, is a public university in Gainesville first established in 1853. With roughly 180 undergraduate majors across 14 schools, UF students can obtain degrees in nursing, journalism, education, engineering, construction management, and more. The school is ranked the #5 top public university by U.S. News & World Report.

The following members of the 118th Congress attended the University of Florida: Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Laurel Lee, Greg Steube, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Sen. Marco Rubio. Other notable UF alumni include football player Tim Tebow, swimmer and Olympic gold medalist Ryan Lochte, and basketball player Joakim Noah.

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#12. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (tie)

Students walk outdoors on lawn of the campus quad of Urbana Champaign.

– 5 members of Congress

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign is one of the largest universities in the nation, with over 56,000 enrolled students. It was founded in 1867 and currently offers more than 150 undergraduate professional programs. The university is best known for its programs in areas such as engineering, computer science, and business.

The five graduates of the school in the current Congress are Reps. Mike Bost, Larry Bucshon, Nikki Budzinski, Chuck Fleischmann, and Janice Schakowsky. Other prominent alumni include Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, film critic Roger Ebert, and YouTube co-founder Steve Chen.

Ken Wolter // Shutterstock

#9. Brigham Young University (tie)

Brigham Young University sign on campus.

– 6 members of Congress

Brigham Young University is a private institution situated in Provo, Utah, affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, widely known as the Mormon church. Established in 1875, BYU currently offers a total of 303 undergraduate programs that span over 30 schools and departments. The university’s most renowned degrees are in business management, law, and engineering. BYU integrates religious instructions into its academic standards, seeking to foster both intellectual and spiritual growth.

Six members of the 118th Congress—Sens. Michael Crapo, Mike Lee, Mitt Romney, Kyrsten Sinema, and Reps. Andrew Biggs and John Curtis—received their college degrees from BYU. Other prominent alumni include actor Aaron Eckhart, football coach Andy Reid, and violinist Lindsey Stirling.

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#9. University of California, Los Angeles (tie)

A view of Royce Hall on the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus.

– 6 members of Congress

University of California, Los Angeles is the #1 public university in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-2023 list of top colleges. The university is the largest by overall student enrollment in the University of California system as of 2022, with approximately 46,000 students total and 32,000 undergraduate students. It is the second-oldest school among the 10 UC campuses and offers 422 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

The six UCLA alumni in the current Congress are Reps. Nanette Barragán, Judy Chu, Jimmy Gomez, Tom McClintock, Raul Ruiz, and Brad Sherman. Among notable alumni are basketball superstar Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, comedian and actor Carol Burnett, and judge Lance Ito.

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#9. University of Missouri (tie)

University of Missouri campus and main sign at Francis Quadrangle during twilight.

– 6 members of Congress

The University of Missouri is the largest university in the state of Missouri. It was founded in 1839 and became the first public university west of the Mississippi River. The school currently offers over 300 undergraduate degree programs.

Its alumni in the 118th Congress are Reps. Samuel Graves, Morgan McGarvey, Jason Smith, and Ann Wagner, and Sens. Martin Heinrich and Tim Kaine. Other notable alumni include actor Brad Pitt, Panda Express founders Peggy and Andrew Cherng, and NASA astronaut Linda Godwin.

Kenneth Sponsler // Shutterstock

#5. United States Military Academy (tie)

The Cadet Chapel rises above the MacArthur Barracks at the United States Military Academy.

– 7 members of Congress

The United States Military Academy, colloquially known as West Point, is a prestigious federal service academy located in West Point, New York. The academy is tailored for the education and development of future U.S. Army leaders. Since its founding in 1802, West Point has developed an undergraduate curriculum that currently consists of 36 majors and 19 minors.

The following seven members of the 118th Congress graduated from West Point: Reps. Warren Davidson, Mark Green, Brett Guthrie, Wesley Hunt, John James, Patrick Ryan, and Keith Self. Famous graduates of West Point include Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower, plus Generals Douglas MacArthur and George Patton.

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#5. United States Naval Academy (tie)

Chapel at the United States Naval Academy.

– 7 members of Congress

The United States Naval Academy is a federal service academy preparing professional officers in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps located in Annapolis, Maryland. Established in 1845, the institution offers a rigorous four-year program in 26 various majors, blending intensive academics with demanding physical training. The academy’s most in-demand programs are engineering, oceanography, and political science.

The seven members of Congress who attended the academy are Reps. Chris Deluzio, Jake Ellzey, Scott Franklin, Mike Garcia, Nicholas LaLota, Mikie Sherrill, and Sen. Todd Young. Other notable alumni include former President Jimmy Carter, retired Major General Charles Bolden, and former Senator John McCain.

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#5. University of Wisconsin—Madison (tie)

View of Bascom Hall administrative building on the campus of the University of Wisconsin Madison.

– 7 members of Congress

The University of Wisconsin—Madison, situated in the state’s capital, was the first public university in Wisconsin. It is a top-ranked research university in the nation, offering 144 undergraduate majors. UW Madison is renowned for its programs in engineering, economics, public affairs, and environmental science.

Reps. Jason Crow, Bill Foster, Glenn Grothman, Jim Jordan, Marcia Kaptur, Debbie Lesko, and Mark Pocan make up the school’s alumni body in the 118th Congress. The school’s list of prominent graduates includes astronaut Jim Lovell, former Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, and historian Frederick Jackson Turner.

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#5. Yale University (tie)

View of Yale University central campus from Harkness Tower.

– 7 members of Congress

Yale University, located in New Haven, Connecticut, is a private Ivy League research university acclaimed as one of the most prestigious higher education institutions in the world. Yale’s founding date of 1701 makes it the fourth-oldest university in the U.S. Yale offers 80 undergraduate majors and has an exceptional global reputation for its law school, drama and music programs, and its collection of libraries and museums.

The seven members of the current Congress who pursued an undergraduate degree at Yale are Reps. Daniel Goldman, Sheila Jackson Lee, Teresa Leger Fernandez, and Katie Porter, and Sens. Sherrod Brown, Amy Klobuchar, and Sheldon Whitehouse. Other famous Yale University alumni include former presidents William Howard Taft, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush.

Jay Yuan // Shutterstock

#4. Princeton University

Princeton University on a sunny afternoon.

– 8 members of Congress

Princeton University is a top-tier private Ivy League institution established in 1746 in Princeton, New Jersey. Princeton was ranked as the best national university in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-2023 rankings. Its list of undergraduate offerings includes over 37 academic concentrations and over 50 certificate programs. The school’s campus is famous for its Gothic architecture and vibrant community.

Incumbent Reps. Kenneth Buck, Michael Gallagher, Glenn Ivey, Derek Kilmer, Raja Krishnamoorthi, John Sarbanes, Terri Sewell, and Sen. Ted Cruz attended Princeton University for their undergraduate degrees. Other renowned Princeton alumni include former President Woodrow Wilson, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and former first lady Michelle Obama.


#3. Georgetown University

The campus of Georgetown University on a sunny day.

– 9 members of Congress

Georgetown University, founded in 1789, is a private university in the nation’s capital. Established as a Jesuit school, Georgetown is the oldest Catholic university in the U.S. With 10 schools within the university and an international campus in Qatar, more than 7,500 undergraduate students were enrolled across all schools at Georgetown in fall 2021. The university is known for its programs in medicine, law, public policy, international affairs, business, and nursing.

Current members of Congress who graduated from Georgetown include Reps. Henry Cuellar, Debbie Dingell, Bryan Steil, and Lori Trahan, as well as Sens. John Barrasso, Dick Durbin, Lisa Murkowski, and Jon Ossoff, plus U.S. Virgin Islands Delegate Stacey Plaskett. Other famous alumni from Georgetown include actor Bradley Cooper, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, and comedian John Mulaney.

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#2. Stanford University

Aerial view of historic Stanford University campus.

– 13 members of Congress

Stanford University, found in the heart of Silicon Valley in California, is a leading global private research university known for its focus on entrepreneurship and technological innovation. Established in 1885, Stanford offers 67 major fields of undergraduate study across its seven schools. Its sprawling 8,180-acre campus, one of the largest in the nation, prominently features lush landscaping and distinctive sandstone architecture.

In the 118th Congress, Reps. Joaquin Castro, Josh Harder, Christina Houlahan, Mike Levin, Ted Lieu, Zoe Lofgren, and Adam Schiff, and Sens. Cory Booker, Dianne Feinstein, Joshua Hawley, Jeff Merkley, Tina Smith, and Ronald Wyden all attended Stanford for their undergraduate studies. Other notable alumni include WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton, investor Charles Schwab, and author bell hooks.

Marcio Jose Bastos Silva // Shutterstock

#1. Harvard University

Panorama of the Harvard University’s campus in Cambridge.

– 16 members of Congress

Harvard University is a prestigious private Ivy League school and the oldest higher education institution in the country. It is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Founded in 1636, the school offers over 3,700 courses in 50 undergraduate academic disciplines. Harvard University’s historic campus is recognized around the world for its awe-inspiring colonial architecture, the central Harvard Yard, and its extensive network of libraries, which collectively make up the largest academic library system in the world.

Incumbent Reps. Jake Auchincloss, Ruben Gallego, James Himes, Kevin Kiley, Kathy Manning, Brian Mast, Seth Moulton, Chris Pappas, Jamie Raskin, Robert Scott, Elise Stefanik, and Mark Takano, as well as Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Thomas Cotton, Benjamin Sasse, and Daniel Sullivan have attended Harvard University as college students. The school has also produced other famous alumni, such as former presidents John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and John F. Kennedy.

Data reporting by Emma Rubin. Story editing by Jeff Inglis. Copy editing by Tim Bruns. Photo selection by Clarese Moller.

This story originally appeared on Best Universities and was produced and
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