Clean air matters. In fact, it really matters. Fresh air indicates lower levels of air pollution, a sign that people are finally committed to reversing the dangerous impact of human-made climate change. But clean air is also essential for our physical and mental health. It can help us think cleaner, concentrate longer, and even reduce our anxieties.

As such, an increasing number of young people in the US want to know just how clean the campus air will be when they arrive on campus. And to help them find the right answers. HouseFresh used  IQ Air’s Air Quality value (AQI) metric to create several lists highlighting the US Colleges with the cleanest air. Here’s a look at what they found out

Clean Air on Campus: US Colleges with the Best Air Quality

US colleges with the cleanest air

With a median AQI score of just 7, Adams State University is officially the US college with the cleanest air. Located in Alamosa, Colorado, the campus is surrounded by miles of towering mountains and lush forests. And the town’s relatively low population (just 10,000) keeps traffic and other types of air pollution to a minimum.

The following four colleges on the list all scored 14 on the AQI metrics. They are Shawnee State University, Ohio, Columbia Basin College in Washington, University of Southeast Alaska, and Alaska Bible.

Clean Air on Campus: US Colleges with the Best Air Quality

New York is the most represented state in the study; it has an impressive 5 schools in the top 20 overall list, including Hamilton College. This upstate liberal arts college is famous for its idyllic setting. Students often sit outside for meals during spring and summer terms. And it’s not unusual to see them lounging around the college gardens while catching up on their reading assignments.

Western US colleges with the cleanest air

America’s great west has wide-open plains, giant mountains, and epic mountain ranges – the ideal geography to create the bracing fresh air that invigorates the body and mind.

And that’s one of the reasons why students at colleges in Montana and Idaho enjoy fresh clean air every day. The University of Idaho, Montana Technological University, and Montano State University all appear on the list of western US colleges with the cleanest air.

Clean Air on Campus: US Colleges with the Best Air Quality

The freshest air down south

Texas dominates the clean air campus list in the south. The Lone State occupies the top three positions. The schools are Texas Tech, Texas University Health Sciences Center, and Lubbock Christian University. All these colleges scored 20 on the AQI ranking.

Clean Air on Campus: US Colleges with the Best Air Quality

New York dominates the east

Over in the northeast, the list of clean air colleges belongs to New York. Of the 20 schools, 18 of them are in New York. Many of the schools are right in the heart of New York City, which makes their ability to provide clean air on campus even more impressive. You’ll find the remaining colleges in more pastoral settings in up-state New York cities, including Utica, Clinton, and the aptly named Garden City.

Clean Air on Campus: US Colleges with the Best Air Quality

Clean air is vital for healthy people and the planet. So it’s great to see so many colleges providing a breath of fresh air to their students.