Where Did AOC Go to College?

After attending public schools in New York as a kid, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez went to Boston University, graduating with two degrees in 2011.

Updated May 3, 2022

Edited by Rebecca Long
Where Did AOC Go to College?
Photo by Kevin Dietsch / Staff / Getty Images News / Getty Images

When Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez burst onto the national political scene in 2018, many people inquired about her educational background, including former President Donald Trump.

At a rally in Pennsylvania in 2020, Trump called the New York City congresswoman "A great student of the environment," going on to say "I don't think she ever took an environmental course in college. She did go to college, right?"

"I could say yes, but who cares?" Ocasio-Cortez tweeted in response, "Plenty of people without college degrees could run this country better than Trump ever has."

In fact, Ocasio-Cortez attended Boston University where she double majored in international relations and economics. She graduated cum laude with two bachelor of arts degrees in 2011.

Seven years later, the democratic socialist took those degrees to Congress, where she is an ardent supporter of aggressive climate policy, including the Green New Deal.

AOC's College Degrees

Ocasio-Cortez was born in New York City but moved with her family to the suburb of Yorktown when she was young so that she could attend stronger public schools. Growing up, she noticed the difference in educational opportunities available to her as compared to her cousins who still lived in the Bronx.

As a high school student in Yorktown, Ocasio-Cortez participated in a science research program for gifted students and took second place in the microbiology section of the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in 2007.

Ocasio-Cortez reports that after high school, she took out tens of thousands of dollars in student loans in order to attend Boston University, where annual tuition now hovers around $60,000. Known as "Sandy" Ocasio-Cortez in those days, the future "AOC" appeared in a student-produced music video mash-up of the iconic library dance scene from "The Breakfast Club," set to Phoenix's "Lisztomania" and filmed on campus rooftops.

While enrolled at Boston University, AOC interned in the office of the late Senator Ted Kennedy. During the 2016 presidential election, she volunteered for Senator Bernie Sanders' campaign, organizing in her own South Bronx neighborhood.

Ocasio-Cortez launched her first congressional campaign in 2018, defeating incumbent Joe Crowley in a remarkable upset. She was sworn in as Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez in January 2019.

AOC is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the largest socialist organization in the U.S. DSA, though not a registered political party, promotes the abolition of capitalism and the end of private ownership in many industries. AOC is an ardent supporter of many DSA priorities, including the Green New Deal and Medicare For All.