University of Virginia

Discover the “new Ivy League” in the USA

North America Universities

Here on the blog we have already talked about the Ivy League, a group formed by 8 highly prestigious universities in the United States: Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Princeton, Cornell, Dartmouth, Brown and University of Pennsylvania. In common, they are all private and quite expensive institutions. However, do you know the “new Ivy League” in the USA?

Also known as “Public Ivy”, the new USA Ivy League is a group of universities that offer the same prestigious education as traditional Ivy League, but at much lower prices. In common, they are all public institutions. But remember that this is an unofficial term!

How did it come about?

The term “Public Ivy” was coined by author Richard Moll in his book Public Ivies: A Guide to America’s Best Public Undergraduate Colleges and Universities to refer to American universities that allegedly provided the collegiate experience of an Ivy League for a public university price. , being able to compete on equal terms with these in academic rigor. In this way, they would be able to attract superstar teachers and compete to receive the best national and foreign students.

University of Virginia

This first definition is from 1985 and included only eight universities:

  • University of Virginia
  • University of Vermont
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of California (which later went through a process of independence from its campuses, generating institutions such as UCB and UCLA)
  • Miami University
  • William and Mary College

Still on that 1985 list, Moll also included other secondary institutions that also had a high level of excellence: University of Colorado at Boulder; Georgia Institute of Technology; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; New College of Florida (which in 2001 became an independent part of the Florida State University System); Pennsylvania State University at University Park; Pittsburgh University; New York State University at Binghamton (now Binghamton University); University of Washington and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

University of California at San Diego

And then came 2001 …

In 2001, authors Howart and Matthew Green published another book called The Public Ivies: America’s Flagship Public Universities. In it, they created a new expanded list of 30 colleges and universities.

In addition to the universities already mentioned here, the following institutions also appeared: Rutgers University; University of Connecticut; University of Delaware; University of Maryland at College Park; University of Florida; Georgia University; University of Arizona; Indiana University; Ohio State University; Michigan State University; Iowa University; Michigan University at Ann Arbor; University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and some of the already independent institutions that once formed the University of California.

The 2001 list of “new Ivy League” no longer appeared at the University of Vermont; the Georgia Institute of Technology; the New College of Florida and the University of Pittsburgh.

And today?

But is it now that in 2020, several years later, are these “new Ivy League” really on the level of traditional Ivy League? A previous way to get an idea about this is to consult the academic evaluation rankings, such as QS World University. Check below how all the institutions mentioned here are positioned within the United States in this survey:

University Group Position in the QS ranking (in the USA)
Harvard Ivy League 3rd
Princeton Ivy League 6th
University of Pennsylvania Ivy League 7th
Yale Ivy League 8th
Cornell Ivy League 9th
Columbia Ivy League 10th
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor List of 2001 11th
University of California at Berkeley (UCB) 1985 and 2001 lists 14th
University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) 1985 and 2001 lists 16th
University of California at San Diego (UCSD) 1985 and 2001 lists 19th
Brown University Ivy League 20th
University of Wisconsin-Madison 1985 and 2001 lists 21st
University of Texas at Austin 1985 and 2001 lists 22 °
Washington University 1985 and 2001 lists 23rd
Georgia Institute of Technology 1985 List 24th
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 1985 and 2001 lists 25th
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1985 and 2001 lists 27th
Pennsylvania State University at University Park 1985 and 2001 lists 28th
Ohio State University List of 2001 30th
University of California at Davis (UC Davis) 1985 and 2001 lists 33rd
University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) 1985 and 2001 lists 35th
University of Maryland at College Park List of 2001 36th
Pittsburgh University 1985 List 37th
Michigan State University List of 2001 38th
University of Florida List of 2001 41st
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities List of 2001 44th
Dartmouth College Ivy League 46th
University of California at Irvine (UC Irvine) 1985 and 2001 lists 47th
University of Virginia 1985 and 2001 lists 49th
Colorado University at Boulder 1985 and 2001 lists 52nd
Rutgers University List of 2001 54th
University of Arizona List of 2001 57th
Miami University 1985 and 2001 lists 58th
Indiana University List of 2001 60th
Iowa University List of 2001 75th

Some universities appear in the QS ranking, but are positioned in groups *, so it is not possible to know exactly the position they occupy within the USA. Are they:

  • University of Connecticut (501-510)
  • University of Georgia (501-510)
  • University of Delaware (541-550)
  • University of Vermont (601-650)
  • William and Mary College (651-700)
  • New College of Florida was the only institution that does not appear on the list of the best in the world of QS.

(*) From the position 500 (worldwide) in the QS ranking, universities are placed in groups.

What does all this mean?

Analyzing the ranking above, you can see that the Ivy League institutions still occupy a huge academic relevance within the USA (and also internationally). After all, 6 of them guarantee their position among the 10 best in the country and among the 20 best in the world.

However, as the study creators predicted, some of these US “new Ivy League” are already on the same level, especially the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and three of the universities in the California system (UCB, UCLA and UCSD).