You’ve probably heard of the Ivy League. But have you heard of the Public Ivy League?
Public Ivies are colleges that have many of the benefits of Ivy League schools– stellar academics, famous faculty, dynamic students, and top-notch facilities – but are public colleges rather than private ones.
This means Public Ivies can sometimes offer something Ivy League universities can’t – a lower price tag, especially for students applying in-state.
What is a Public Ivy?
The idea of a “Public Ivy” appeared in 1985 in a college guidebook by Robert Moll, an admissions officer at top schools around the US. Moll listed the public schools that he thought represented the elite eight of public universities:
- College of William & Mary (Virginia)
- Miami University (Ohio)
- University of California (All Campuses)
- University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
- University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
- University of Texas – Austin
- University of Vermont – Burlington
- University of Virginia
These Public Ivies were known to give the most bang for your buck – and they still do today, 25 years later.
But there are more great public schools than just that handful. Take a look at 4 other colleges that you may think that Moll left out of his Public Ivies list:
1. University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
If you’re walking on the campus of this Public Ivy, you might think you’re at Harvard or Yale. That’s because its design is based on a series of campus quads, like many Ivies’ are.
A leader in the sciences and engineering, the University of Illinois has the 4th largest library in the US – behind only Harvard, Yale, and another public ivy – UC Berkeley.
2. University of Wisconsin – Madison
Student life at the University of Wisconsin is one of the most dynamic of the Public Ivies, both on campus and off. It’s the only school in the US with two daily newspapers, and its football team has a huge following.
Students can be found at the on-campus Rathskeller pub, discussing politics and philosophy like the Ivy founders did.
3. University of Washington
One of the oldest universities on the Pacific, the University of Washington brings the tradition of Public Ivies to the West Coast. The campus has its own unique history, originally designed for the 1909 World’s Fair.
The school also has something no other Ivy can boast: a TV channel dedicated just to research and academic subjects. Scholars from all around the country use this Public Ivy’s station to broadcast their work to the world.
4. New College of Florida
In its sunny climate, the New College of Florida seems a world away from the chilly New England schools of the Ivy League. But this new Public Ivy has a lot in common with its counterparts to the north.
Founded in 1960, the New College focuses on academics and independent research. Without graduate students, professors focus only on undergrads. No grades here – instead, professors give written reports on student progress.
If you’re considering the Ivy League, think about these Public Ivies. You might discover a school that gives you the academics, campus life and traditions you want – at a much nicer price.