What Are Public Ivy League Schools? Overview and Features

Attending an Ivy League school is the dream of every student. This is because Ivy League schools are known for the prestigious and top-notch academic programs they offer. The challenge is that they all have hefty tuition rates and a low acceptance rate.

But what if we told you it’s possible to achieve an education that’s on par with Ivy League schools without breaking the bank? You can do so by attending one of the many Public Ivies, which is a group of public universities known for their distinguished academic programs and low in-state tuition costs.

Read on to learn more about the public Ivy League schools are the way you can get into one.

What Is Public Ivy?

The Public Ivies are a collection of prominent public schools with a strong academic reputation. These colleges and institutions are well-known for offering an Ivy League education at a fraction of the cost.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Public Ivy Universities


  • For public school tuition, a top-tier educational experience is available.
  • A prestigious degree that will assist you in obtaining a job or a graduate degree.
  • Opportunities to network with future industry leaders, including students and academics.


  • Ivy League has a higher acceptance rate.
  • Some Public Ivies do not have the same illustrious reputation as Private Ivies.
  • Financial aid is less generous than at private universities (Unless you are in-state)

Which schools are Public Ivies?

Richard Moll’s list of eight Public Ivies included the full University of California school system. In 1985, there were eight UC campuses, bringing the total number of original Public Ivies to 15. The following is a list of UC schools:

  1. College of William & Mary
  2. Miami University
  3. The University of California system
  4. University of Michigan–Ann Arbor
  5. University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill
  6. University of Texas–Austin
  7. University of Vermont
  8. University of Virginia
  9. College of William and Mary

1. College of William & Mary

Acceptance Rate: 37.7%

In-state Tuition: $23,628

Out-state Tuition: $46,854

Williamsburg, Virginia’s College of William and Mary is a public research university. It is the second-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and the ninth-oldest in the English-speaking world, having been founded in 1693 by letters patent issued by King William III and Queen Mary II.

The College of William and Mary is a public research institution with a medium-sized residential population. The university’s four-year, full-time undergraduate program, which enrolls the majority of students, is its focal point. The College emphasizes arts and sciences at the undergraduate level, with a small number of graduate degrees in subjects ranging from American colonial history to marine science.

In its Washington, DC office, the College offers four academic programs, including an undergraduate engineering dual degree program with Columbia University and a liberal arts joint degree program with the University of St Andrews in Scotland.

Graduate studies are concentrated in STEM subjects, and the university has an active research program. 1,591 undergraduate, 652 master’s, and 293 doctoral degrees were awarded during the 2016–17 school year. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has granted William & Mary accreditation.

Visit the official website to learn more


2. Miami University

Acceptance Rate: 80.4%

In-state Tuition: $15,911

Out-state Tuition: $35,937

Miami Institution is an Oxford, Ohio-based public research university. The institution was founded in 1809, making it Ohio’s second-oldest university and the country’s tenth-oldest public university. The Oxford campus is part of a larger system that includes regional campuses in Hamilton, Middletown, and West Chester.

Miami University is noted for its liberal arts education, with more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in architecture, business, engineering, humanities, and sciences offered through its eight schools and colleges.

U.S. News & World Report placed the university 103rd among universities in the United States and 46th among public universities in the country in its 2021 edition. Miami University also has the 25th best undergraduate teaching in the country. Miami was one of the first eight Public Ivy institutions, a collection of publicly supported universities with educational standards equivalent to those of the Ivy League.

Visit the official website to learn more


3. The University of California

Acceptance Rate: 22.6%

In-state Tuition: $8,980

Out-state Tuition: $36,159

The University of California (UC) is a public land-grant research university system located in California, United States. Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz are all part of the system, as are other research institutions and academic abroad centers. The university is the state’s land-grant institution.

The University of California was founded on March 23, 1868, in Oakland, and operated there until 1873, when it relocated to Berkeley. Several branch locations and satellite programs have been established over time.

The University of California comprises ten campuses, with a total student body of 285,862 students, 24,400 faculty members, 143,200 staff employees, and more than 2.0 million living alumni. In the fall of 2005, it opened its newest campus in Merced.

Nine campuses accept undergraduate and graduate students; one site, UC San Francisco, accepts solely medical and health-related graduate and professional students. Visit the official website to learn more


4. University of Michigan

Acceptance Rate: 22.9%

In-state Tuition: $15,558

Out-state Tuition: $51,200

The University of Michigan, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a public research university. The university is Michigan’s oldest, having been founded in 1817 by an act of the ancient Michigan Territory as the Catholepistemiad, or University of Michigania, 20 years before the territory became a state.

The University of Michigan is a big residential research university with a four-year degree that is approved by the Higher Learning Commission. The majority of students participate in the four-year, full-time undergraduate program, which emphasizes instruction in the arts, sciences, and professions with a high level of coexistence between graduate and undergraduate programs.

Doctoral degrees in the humanities, social sciences, and STEM subjects, as well as professional degrees in medicine, law, and dentistry, are all available through the university’s comprehensive graduate program.

Richard Moll’s list of Public Ivies includes the University of Michigan. In 2011–2012, U-M conferred 6,490 undergraduate degrees, 4,951 graduate degrees, and 709 first-professional degrees, with over 200 undergraduate majors, 100 doctoral programs, and 90 master’s programs. Visit the official website to learn more


5. University of North Carolina

Acceptance Rate: 80.4%

In-state Tuition: $15,911

Out-state Tuition: $35,937

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public research university in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is a public research university. It is a Public Ivy, or a public institution that delivers an academic experience comparable to that of an Ivy League university. It is the flagship of the University of North Carolina system.

The university was formed in 1789 and began enrolling students in 1795, making it one of the country’s oldest public universities. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the only one of the claimants that have held classes and graduated students as a public university in the eighteenth century.

UNC-Chapel Hill has 71 bachelor’s degree programs, 107 master’s degree programs, and 74 doctoral degree programs. More than 28,000 students attend the university, hailing from all 100 counties in North Carolina, as well as the other 49 states and 47 countries. In terms of enrollment, it is North Carolina’s third-largest university, after only North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Visit the official website to learn more.

6. University of Texas–Austin

Acceptance Rate: 31.8%

In-state Tuition: $10,824

Out-state Tuition: $38,326

The Institution of Texas at Austin is a public research university in Austin, Texas, that was established in 1883. In 1929, the University of Texas joined the Association of American Universities. Over 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students, as well as 24,000 faculty and staff, make up the university.

More than 100 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at the University of Texas at Austin. The university issued 13,215 degrees in the 2009–2010 academic year, including 67.7% of bachelor’s degrees, 22.0 percent master’s degrees, 6.4 percent doctoral degrees, and 3.9 percent professional degrees.

Liberal Arts Honors, Business Honors, Turing Scholars Program in Computer Science, Engineering Honors, Dean’s Scholars Program in Natural Sciences, Health Science Scholars Program in Natural Sciences and Polymathic Scholars Program in Natural Sciences are among the university’s eight highly selective honors programs, seven of which span a variety of academic fields. Visit the official website to learn more


7. University of Vermont

Acceptance Rate: 67.3%

In-state Tuition: $18,802

Out-state Tuition: $43,630

The University of Vermont (UVM) is a public land-grant research university in Burlington, Vermont, that is also known as The University of Vermont and State Agricultural College. It was the fifth institution of higher instruction in the New England region of the United States when it was founded in 1791, making it one of the country’s oldest universities. It is also one of the eight original “Public Ivy” universities in the United States. The University of Vermont is a public research university.

Seven undergraduate schools, an honors college, a graduate college, and a medical college make up the University of Vermont. The Honors College does not provide its own degrees; instead, students enroll in one of the university’s seven undergraduate colleges or schools while in the Honors College.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education and Social Services, College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, College of Medicine, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Graduate College, Grossman School of Business, and Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources all offer bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs. The New England Commission of Higher Education has granted the University of Vermont accreditation.

Visit the official website to learn more

READ ALSO: University of Vermont Merit Scholarships for International Undergraduate Students

8. University of Virginia

Acceptance Rate: 23.9%

In-state Tuition: $17,798

Out-state Tuition: $50,900

The University of Virginia was founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson as a public research university in Charlottesville, Virginia. It is Virginia’s flagship institution and the site of the Academical Village, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The University of Virginia is noted for its historic roots, student-run honor code, and secret organizations.

Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe were among the founding members of the Board of Visitors. At the time of its founding, Monroe was the President of the United States, and earlier presidents Jefferson and Madison were UVA’s first two rectors. The initial courses of study and architecture were devised and designed by Jefferson. For 117 years, UVA has been a member of the research-driven Association of American Universities, and the journal Science recently recognized its professors for two of the top ten global scientific accomplishments in a single year.

Students can earn 48 bachelor’s degrees, 94 master’s degrees, 55 doctoral degrees, 6 educational specialist degrees, and two first-professional degrees (medicine and law) at the University of Virginia. All degrees are earned, and UVA has never given someone an honorary degree. Visit the official website to learn more.


SEE ALSO: Study in University of Virginia: Admission, Courses, Tuition Fee, & Ranking

What’s The Difference Between Ivy League Colleges and Public Ivies?

Let’s compare and contrast the experiences of attending a Public Ivy and an Ivy League school.

Tuition is one of the most appealing aspects of public Ivies; they are typically less expensive than Ivy League colleges, especially for in-state students. In-state tuition at most public universities ranges from $10,000 to $20,000 per year. Tuition for Ivy League schools, on the other hand, is typically in the $50,000 range. If you plan to attend a Public Ivy as an out-of-state student, you should expect to pay a higher tuition cost.

SEE ALSO: What Are Public Ivy League Schools? Overview and Features

1. Financial Assistance

Despite having lower tuition than Ivy League colleges, public Ivies tend to give less financial help. Ivy League schools may give larger financial assistance packages because they have huge endowments and are not reliant on ever-changing governmental financing. In-state students are often eligible for need-based financial aid at public universities.

Out-of-state students, for example, are not eligible for need-based financial aid at UC Berkeley. Having said that, there is still a plethora of scholarship and financial aid alternatives accessible for students interested in attending public universities.

2. Size

Another significant distinction between public Ivies and Ivy League colleges is the student body. As you can see from the listings above, undergraduate enrollment at Public Ivies is typically in the tens of thousands. Ivy League colleges, on the other hand, have substantially smaller student bodies and lower student-to-faculty ratios.

3. Selectiveness

Acceptance rates at public Ivy colleges differ significantly. UCLA, for example, accepts 12.3 percent of applications, whereas the University of Arizona accepts 84.6 percent. The majority of public Ivies, on the other hand, have admittance rates in the 20-35 percent range.

The average admittance rate for Ivy League colleges, on the other hand, is under 5%. As a result, even the most stringent Public Ivy has a greater acceptance rate than all Ivy League institutions combined.

FAQs On Public Ivy League Schools

What is the University of Virginia Acceptance rate?

University of Virginia’s acceptance rate is 23.9%.

What are the Public Ivy schools?

The public Ivy schools are:
College of William & Mary.
Miami University.
The University of California system.
The University of Michigan–Ann Arbor.
University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill.
University of Texas–Austin.
The University of Vermont.
University of Virginia

What does Public Ivy mean?

The term indicates a public university that delivers an Ivy League-level education.

Who should be looking to attend Public Ivy schools?

Students that have great high school grades but may not be easily able to afford to go to Ivy League schools.


Public universities offer good education at affordable prices. Though selectivity and renown vary by school, any Public Ivy will provide your child with a tough academic experience. As a result, any strong student, particularly those who can apply as in-state candidates, should give them serious attention.


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