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FAQ: What are Public Ivies?

Post-it note asking what is a public ivy?The term “Public Ivy” was coined by Richard Moll in Public Ivies: A Guide to America’s Best Public Undergraduate Colleges and Universities which was published in 1985. Moll identified eight public institution with Ivy League characteristics. He argued that these characteristics, which included both academic and non-academic elements, provided an Ivy League experience at a public school price.

Original Public Ivies

Moll had selected eight specific institutions to compare with the eight Ivy League institutions in an attempt to capture the fact that “prestige in higher education is an odd combination of tradition and folklore.” The original eight Public Ivies were:

  • College of William & Mary
  • Miami University (Ohio)
  • University of California
  • University of Michigan
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • University of Vermont
  • University of Virginia

According to the Los Angeles Times, Moll determine the criteria for a distinctive college to be “selective admissions, a quality education program focused on the liberal arts and enough money to buy a superb faculty and build an attractive campus.” Moll created his list based on these criteria and then consulting with others and visiting campuses.

Expanded Public Ivies

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Moll included nine “runner-up” universities:

  • University of Colorado
  • Georgia Tech
  • University of Illinois
  • New College in Florida
  • Penn State
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • State University of New York at Binghamton
  • University of Washington
  • University of Wisconsin

Others have since expanded this list. Howard and Matthew Greene added eleven universities to the list. They also created a list of 30 “hidden” public ivies. Often the term is used to identify top ranked public universities. The following table includes all schools on the Greenes’ and Moll’s lists.

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Public Ivies

Name State  Moll’s Original Moll’s Runner Ups Greene’s Guide
Full-time
Under-grads 
4 yr Grad Rate % Admitted SAT 75th% ACT 75th% Total price for in-state students 2017-18 Total price for out-of-state students 2017-18
University of Arizona AZ x 29,327 45 84 1340 28 $28,277 $51,707
University of California Berkeley CA x x 29,351 76 17 1480 34 $36,989 $65,003
University of California Davis CA x 29,164 58 43 1360 32 $35,729 $63,743
University of California Irvine CA x 28,721 70 37 1350 32 $33,858 $61,872
University of California Los Angeles CA x 30,382 75 16 1450 34 $33,901 $61,915
University of California San Diego CA x 28,015 55 34 1410 33 $32,163 $60,177
University of California Santa Barbara CA x 21,742 68 33 1400 33 $36,111 $64,125
University of Colorado at Boulder CO x x 27,022 45 80 1340 30 $30,178 $54,312
University of Connecticut CT x 18,471 70 48 1390 31 $31,044 $53,112
University of Delaware DE x 18,170 73 63 1330 29 $27,792 $47,782
New College in Florida FL x 835
57 69 1380 30 $20,650 $43,678
University of Florida FL x 31,370 68 42 1400 32 $21,131 $43,409
Georgia Tech GA x 14,016 39 23 1520 34 $28,770 $49,366
University of Georgia GA x 27,117 62 54 1370 31 $26,404 $44,978
University of Illinois IL x x 32,597 70 62 1500 32 $30,082 $46,202
Indiana University IN x 32,092 63 76 1350 31 $24,427 $48,739
University of Iowa IA x 21,318 54 86 1370 28 $22,607 $44,251
University of Maryland MD x 27,777 67 45 1470 33 $26,491 $49,698
Michigan State University MI x 35,486 52 72 1320 28 $28,478 $53,424
University of Michigan MI x x 28,628 77 27 1500 33 $29,526 $62,176
University of Minnesota MN x 30,118 64 50 1480 32 $27,469 $39,655
Rutgers University NJ x 33,503 59 58 1400 $31,577 $47,518
State University of New York at Binghamton NY x x 13,325 73 40 1430 31 $26,100 $40,980
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill NC x x 18,296 84 24 1460 33 $25,569 $51,152
Miami University (Ohio) OH x x 16,633 67 68 1380 31 $31,811 $51,064
Ohio State University OH x 41,811 59 48 1450 31 $27,037 $46,141
Penn State PA x x 39,610 67 50 1340 30 $36,344 $51,572
University of Pittsburgh PA x 18,360 65 60 1418 32 $33,250 $44,812
University of Texas at Austin TX x x 37,658 58 36 1460 33 $25,440 $51,786
University of Vermont VT x x 10,432 62 67 1350 30 $33,274 $56,890
College of William & Mary VA x x 6,222 85 36 1480 33 $37,386 $59,012
University of Virginia VA x x 15,822 88 27 1500 33 $32,213 $62,633
University of Washington WA x x 28,825 65 46 1420 32 $26,595 $51,159
University of Wisconsin WI x x 28,849 60 54 1450 31 $25,635 $49,885
FAQ: What are Public Ivies?