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What Are Public Ivy League Schools?

Public Ivy League Schools. Ivy League universities are well-known to most people. These prominent private institutions are well-known for both their high tuition costs and their outstanding academic offerings. Although many students aspire to enroll in one of these institutions, the low acceptance rates make getting an Ivy League degree challenging.

But what if we told you that it’s possible to earn a degree comparable to those offered by Ivy League institutions without worrying about having to borrow money or having low acceptance rates? You might achieve this by selecting to enroll in one of the numerous “Public Ivies.” These prestigious public colleges are well-known for their outstanding academic offerings and affordable in-state tuition rates.

What is a Public Ivy?

A set of elite public schools with a great reputation for academic brilliance is known as The Public Ivies. When attending in-state, these colleges and institutions are renowned for offering an Ivy League-caliber education at a fraction of the price. In his 1985 book The Public Ivies: A Guide to America’s Best Public Undergraduate Colleges and Universities, Richard Moll developed the idea of “Public Ivy” colleges. Based on the following fundamental standards, Moll determined that eight colleges should receive Public Ivy status:

  • High academic standards
  • Spending money on top-notch faculty and facilities
  • Enrolment of the most talented kids

Since then, numerous institutions have been included in the list of Public Ivies, which we’ll examine in a subsequent section.

What are the first Public Ivy institutions? 

Although there have been numerous updates to the list of Public Ivies throughout the years, let’s start with Richard Moll’s initial 1985 list. The breakdown is as follows, going from lowest acceptance rate to highest:

 

 

School State Acceptance Rate Undergraduate Enrollment In-state Tuition Out-of-state Tuition
1 UNC Chapel Hill NC 25% 19,261 $7,020 $37,360
2 University of Michigan MI 26% 31,189 $16,736 $55,334
3 University of Virginia VA 23% 17,076 $18,260 $52,218
4 University of Texas at Austin TX 32% 39,624 $11,248 $39,834
5 College of William and Mary VA 42% 6,217 $17,434 $40,089
6 University of Vermont VT 71% 10,585 $16,280 $41,280
7 Miami University OH 92% 16,418

 

Notably, Richard Moll’s enumeration of the eight Public Ivies included the entire University of California educational system. Since there were eight UC campuses in 1985, there were technically fifteen original Public Ivies. The UC schools are broken down as follows:

School State Acceptance Rate Undergraduate Enrollment In-state Tuition Out-of-state Tuition
1 UC Los Angeles CA 14% 31,636 $13,804 $31,026
2 UC Berkeley CA 17% 30,796 $14,796 $45,822
3 UC Irvine CA 30% 29,627 $11,928 $42,954
4 UC Santa Barbara CA 37% 23,166 $13,104 $44,130
5 UC San Diego CA 37% 31,827 $17,361 $48,387
6 UC Davis CA 46% 31,142 $13,104 $44,130
7 UC Santa Cruz CA 65% 17,207 $14,640 $45,666
8 UC Riverside CA 66% 22,609 $13,104 $44,130

What other universities would you consider public Ivies? 

When Howard and Matthew Greene’s book The Public Ivies: America’s Flagship Public Universities was published in 2001, the list of Public Ivies grew. More than 30 universities, divided up by different U.S. regions, are included in the Greene Public Ivies List. Look at what follows:

Northeastern Region 
School State Acceptance Rate Undergraduate Enrollment In-state Tuition Out-of-state Tuition
1 Binghamton University NY 43% 14,300 $7,070 $24,910
2 Pennsylvania State University at University Park PA 78% 73,189 $19,286 $38,651
3 University of Connecticut CT 56% 18,658 $16,332 $39,000
4 Rutgers University – New Brunswick NJ 67% 35,428 $12,900 $30,600
Mid-Atlantic 
1 University of Virginia VA 23% 17,076 $18,260 $52,218
2 College of William and Mary VA 42% 6,217 $17,434 $40,089
3 University of Maryland MD 51% 30,214 $9,695 $37,931
4 University of Delaware DE 66% 18,618 $13,370 $35,890
Southern 
1 UNC Chapel Hill NC 25% 19,261 $7,020 $37,360
2 University of Texas at Austin TX 32% 39,624 $11,248 $39,834
3 University of Florida FL 31% 34,237 $6,380 $28,658
4 University of Georgia GA 48% 29,705 $12,080 $31,120
Western
1 UC Los Angeles CA 14% 31,636 $13,804 $31,026
2 UC Berkeley CA 17% 30,796 $14,796 $45,822
3 UC Irvine CA 30% 29,627 $11,928 $42,954
4 UC Santa Barbara CA 37% 23,166 $13,104 $44,130
5 UC San Diego CA 37% 31,827 $17,361 $48,387
6 UC Davis CA 46% 31,142 $13,104 $44,130
7 University of Washington WA 56% 31,145 $12,242 $40,740
8 University of Colorado Boulder CO 84% 29,779 $13,106 $40,356
9 The University of Arizona AZ 85% 34,659 $13,254 $39,556
Midwest
1 University of Michigan MI 26% 31,189 $16,736 $55,334
2 Ohio State University OH 68% 45,862 $12,485 $36,722
3 University of Wisconsin-Madison WI 57% 31,651 $10,798 $39,428
4 University of Minnesota MN 70% 30,907 $16,108 $35,348
5 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign IL 63% 33,001 $17,572 $35,210
6 Michigan State University MI 76% 38,413 $15,436 $42,022
7 Indiana University Bloomington IN 80% 32,621 $11,446 $39,118
8 Miami University OH 92% 16,418 $17,463 $38,493
9 University of Iowa IA 84% 21,909 $10,353 $32,316

What are the best Public Ivy Schools today?

As you can see, different people have different opinions about the list of Public Ivies, which has changed over time. There is no official modern-day list at this time. However, the following five institutions are generally regarded as the best Public Ivies:

  1. University of California, Berkeley
  2. University of California, Los Angeles
  3. University of Michigan
  4. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  5. University of Virginia 

What’s the difference between Public Ivies and Ivy League schools?

Let’s contrast what it’s like to attend a Public Ivy with what it’s like to attend an Ivy League institution.

One of the best things about Public Ivies, especially for in-state students, is that their tuition is frequently less expensive than that of Ivy League institutions. In-state tuition at most Public Ivies ranges from $10,000 to $20,000 per year. As an alternative, Ivy League tuition costs typically exceed $50,000. If you’re an out-of-state student who wants to attend a Public Ivy, you should be prepared to pay a higher tuition fee.

Aid in money

Public Ivies tend to offer less financial help even though they have lower tuition than Ivy League institutions. Ivy League institutions are able to provide more generous financial aid packages because they have sizable endowments and are not dependent on unstable public support. In-state students often get need-based financial help from public universities.

For instance, out-of-state students are not eligible for need-based financial aid at UC Berkeley. Having said that, there are still lots of scholarships and financial aid options available for students who want to attend public universities.

Size

The student body at Public Ivies and Ivy League institutions differs significantly as well. The listings above show that Public Ivies typically enroll tens of thousands of undergraduate students. Ivy League institutions, on the other hand, have substantially smaller student bodies and lower student-faculty ratios.

Selectiveness

Public Ivy institutions have a wide range of acceptance rates. For instance, UCLA accepts 12.3% of applicants whereas University of Arizona accepts 84.6%. However, admission rates to Public Ivies typically range from 20 to 35 percent. In contrast, Ivy League institutions have an average acceptance rate of around 5%. Thus, even the most restrictive Public Ivy has a greater admittance rate than all Ivy League institutions combined.

Public Ivy League Schools

Does a Public Ivy fit me well?

Public Ivies are undoubtedly a desirable alternative if you’re looking for an education that is comparable in quality to that offered by Ivy League institutions but is more reasonably priced. You’re guaranteed to have a great academic experience at any Public Ivy, despite the fact that selectivity and prominence differ from school to school. Having said that, there are other options outside public universities. Don’t let your aspirations be broken if you do not get accepted to a Public Ivy because most are still very selective. Both superb public and private universities are available.

Public ivy advantages and disadvantages

Advantages

  • Top-notch education for the price of public school fees
  • Prestigious diploma that will be useful for pursuing a graduate degree or career
  • Possibilities for networking with future industry leaders among students and teachers
  • Increased admissions compared to the Ivy League
  • Significantly reduced price for in-state students

Disadvantages

  • Less financial help available than private ivies (unless you are in-state), some public ivies don’t have the same reputation as private ivies.
  • The majority of private Ivies are rather large, which can be ideal for some students but overwhelming for others.

FAQs on Public Ivy League Schools

Why is Miami called a Public Ivy?

The term Public Ivy first appeared as the title of a 1985 book by Richard Moll, The Public Ivys: A Guide to America's Best Public Undergraduate Colleges and Universities. It identified eight national universities that meet the criteria: Miami University.

What is the easiest Ivy League school to get into?

Cornell is considered the "easiest" Ivy League to get into because it has the highest Ivy League acceptance rate.

Is Florida a Public Ivy?

UF is considered by many to be on par with Ivy League schools. It's often referred to as a “public Ivy,” along with other prestigious state universities such as UNC Chapel Hill, UCLA, and the University of Michigan.

What is the hardest Ivy?

The most challenging Ivy League school to get into is Harvard, established in 1636 and based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. According to Harvard Admissions, only 2,008 out of 43,330 candidates were accepted to the college. These figures translate into an acceptance rate of 4.6%.

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