Filling the Void Left by Modern Higher Education

Too many college students feel isolated or attacked for questioning progressive orthodoxy and the ever-narrowing range of debate on campus.

We introduce them to the American tradition of liberty and to a vibrant community of students and scholars. Our students get an education and a community they don’t find at their universities.

And in the process they become articulate voices for the principles that made America free and prosperous.

Our Mission: Inspiring college students to discover, embrace, and advance the principles and virtues that make America free and prosperous

We cultivate a vibrant community of students, faculty, and alumni and teach foundational principles that are rarely taught in the classroom—the core ideas behind the free market, the American Founding, and Western civilization.

In the early 1950s, we recognized the gaping void in higher education. Progressive ideas were in vogue; conservative ones were ignored or attacked. (Sound familiar?)

Under the leadership of our first president, a young journalist named William F. Buckley Jr., we began mentoring young men and women to become eloquent defenders of the principles of liberty.

And that’s exactly what we do today.

You don’t have to look far to see the problems plaguing America’s college campuses. A hollowed-out curriculum. Attacks on free speech. Students who feel isolated and even threatened if they question progressive orthodoxy.

Thoughtful students turn to ISI to receive the education they thought they signed up for but aren’t getting at their schools.

We don’t train activists; we educate talented, intellectually curious students and bring them in to our vibrant intellectual community.

Our graduates become leaders in their communities, in their states, and on the national and global stages. Thousands of thoughtful, principled leaders have come through ISI’s programs, including Supreme Court justices Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito, PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel, Reason magazine editor Katherine Mangu-Ward, Hillsdale College president Larry Arnn, and Heritage Foundation founder Ed Feulner.

If you yearn for wisdom, for thoughtful discussion, and for a tight community of lasting influence, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ll introduce you to the rich traditions of liberty, connect you with a vibrant community, and help you become an effective advocate for timeless principles.

Join our community today to start filling the void in your own education. We can’t wait to have you!

“Before there was a Heritage Foundation or a Federalist Society, or a Cato or Claremont or Discovery or Hudson or Manhattan Institute, there was the Intercollegiate Studies Institute.”
- New York Times
“I’m a big believer in ISI’s mission. ISI fills a void, giving college student leaders in-depth mentoring in core conservative principles.”
- William J. Bennett, bestselling author, Reagan secretary of education
“What’s happening on college campuses in this country is beyond belief. These terrible developments are subverting the values that made America great. We have to fight back or we’ll lose our country. And ISI is doing magnificent work fighting back.”
- Dennis Prager, nationally syndicated radio host
“Those of us in politics necessarily deal with present difficulties, and it is reassuring to us that ISI always has its eye on the next generation, remembering Harold MacMillan’s warning that history will deal harshly with those who abandon tomorrow in favor of today.”
- President Ronald Reagan

Our Principles

The rightful functions of government are to guarantee individual liberty, private property, internal order, the provision of national defense, and the administration of justice. When the state exceeds its proper role, it accumulates power and becomes a threat to personal liberty.

Individuals possess rights to life, liberty, property, and freedom from the restrictions of arbitrary force. They exercise these rights through the use of their natural free will.

Personal responsibility is central to the idea of a free society and to the concept of self-government. Because each individual is morally responsible for his acts, citizens in a free society have an obligation to educate themselves to further the common good through the political process: this is the proper and necessary function of self-government.

Laws, not men, rule a free society. The Constitution of the United States, with its division of powers, is the best arrangement yet devised for empowering government while preventing the concentration of power.

Allocating resources by the free play of supply and demand is the single economic system compatible with the requirements of a free society, and also the most productive and efficient supplier of human needs.

The values, customs, conventions, and norms of the Judeo-Christian tradition inform and guide a free society. Without such ordinances, society induces its decay by embracing a relativism that rejects an objective moral order.