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There is a group of public universities known to insiders for providing an Ivy-level education at public school pricing. These institutions are known as ‘the Public Ivies’.

Practically everyone knows about the Ivy League, especially every parent preparing to send their child to college. The education quality of these schools is world famous, as is the price tag associated with obtaining it.

There is a group of public universities known to insiders for providing an Ivy-level education at public school pricing. These institutions are known as ‘the Public Ivies’.

If you’re looking for comprehensive test prep, then be sure to check out our various SAT and ACT prep course options.

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Public Ivies Definition

What exactly is a ‘Public Ivy’?

The term ‘Public Ivy’ was originally coined by author Richard Moll in his 1985 book, Public Ivies: A Guide to America’s best public undergraduate colleges and universities. Again, the term indicates a public university that delivers an Ivy League-level education.

At the basic level, a Public Ivy should be able to demonstrate high academic rigor, attract exceptional faculty, and compete for the best and brightest students available. For students that have great high school grades but may not have families easily able to afford to send them to a Harvard or Yale, a Public Ivy is worth checking out.

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Original Public Ivy List And Runner-Ups

The list itself has changed over time but let’s look at the original 1985 list to give you an idea of the institutions considered Public Ivies.

According to Moll, here are the original ‘Public Ivies’ to consider:

  • College of William & Mary (located in Williamsburg, Virginia)
  • Miami University (located in Oxford, Ohio)
  • University of California (referring to the entire system)
  • University of Michigan
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of Texas at Austin
  • University of Vermont
  • University of Virginia

Besides that original “official” selection, Moll also provided readers with his runners-up list, schools that may not have matched his full criteria but are worthy of consideration nonetheless:

  • University of Colorado Boulder
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • New College of the University of South Florida (now known as New College of Florida)
  • Pennsylvania State University at University Park
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • State University of New York at Binghamton (now known as Binghamton University)
  • University of Washington
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison

Moll’s original book included nearly 20 schools as both official and runner-up Public Ivies, but the list doesn’t stop there.

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The Greene Public Ivies List

In 2001, authors Howard and Matthew Greene of the eponymous Greene’s Guides published their own book titled The Public Ivies: America’s Flagship Public Universities.

The Greene’s list was comprised of more schools, 30 in total, broken up by various US regions:

  • Northeastern
    • Pennsylvania State University at University Park
    • Rutgers University
    • State University of New York at Binghamton (also known as Binghamton University)
    • University of Connecticut
  • Mid-Atlantic
    • University of Delaware
    • University of Maryland
    • College of William & Mary
    • University of Virginia
  • Southern
    • University of Florida
    • University of Georgia
    • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    • University of Texas at Austin
  • Western
    • University of Arizona
    • University of California, Berkeley
    • University of California, Davis
    • University of California, Irvine
    • University of California, Los Angeles
    • University of California, San Diego
    • University of California, Santa Barbara
    • University of Colorado Boulder
    • University of Washington
  • Midwest
    • Indiana University
    • Miami University (located in Oxford, Ohio)
    • Michigan State University
    • The Ohio State University
    • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    • University of Iowa
    • University of Michigan
    • University of Minnesota
    • University of Wisconsin-Madison

As one can see, the list has expanded over time but it’s purpose remains the same – to keep parents and students informed of the best places to go on a public budget. However, there is an important catch that you need to be aware of before sending in applications. The catch is residency.

Make Residency Your Friend

You’ll save considerable money if you become a resident of the state your school resides in.

Private universities will charge all students the same tuition fees across the board normally. Public universities, on the other hand, provide a serious break in tuition fees. However, in order to get that reduced rate, a student needs to be an in-state resident. Why? Because a portion of that tuition bill is covered by the state’s tax revenue.

However, if you are attending a school from out of state, then you, unfortunately, have to pay the amount of money that tax money would otherwise cover. Every public university’s financial aid website will cover listings for its cost of attendance for incoming freshman. In that section, you will likely find costs for in-state students and out-of-state students; out-of-state students will always face an incredibly higher tuition price. What does this mean for you?

If you are planning on attending a Public Ivy but don’t want to get hit with extra costs, then definitely look into establishing residency within that state. It will take some work, but the savings you’ll receive will be worth the time and effort.

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Why Student Athletics Count

If you’re a student-athlete, then definitely consider attending a Public Ivy.

If you are a student-athlete, then your chances of getting a great Public Ivy education are great. Unlike the Ivy League, which prides itself on not issuing athletic scholarships to students, the Public Ivies have no problem with rewarding student athletics.

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Many of them participate in the major intercollegiate sports conferences and actively recruit students with scholarships. Another major reason for the heavy athletic participation is that many of these schools use the profits from their lucrative football and basketball programs to fund their entire athletic departments. To get those wins, they need the best student talent, which means offering up scholarships appealing enough to those young men and women.

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How Prep Expert Can Help

If getting into a Public Ivy is a goal, then learn how Prep Expert can help you achieve it.

Remember though that where you go to an Ivy League, Public Ivy, or community college, a single school alone does not define who you are or your future. If you work hard and focus, then you will undoubtedly end up in a school that’s the right fit for you, no matter its prestige.

If you need to improve your scholarship or financial aid prospects, by perhaps increasing your GPA or standardized test scores sending in applications, then seriously consider signing up for a Prep Expert SAT or ACT course.

Right now, we offer students live online, self-paced video, and in-person classes throughout the year. Our expert teachers and tutors not only share with tried and true methods for improving your score but also help you correct any subject deficiencies that you’re having difficulty with—English, Writing, Mathematics or Science.

Moreover, if you need help with other similar tests such as SAT Subject or Advanced Placement exams, we have specific tutoring packages available too, as well as providing extra assistance for the SAT or ACT. Whether you excel on learning in a class setting or require one on one guidance, we have the staff available to help when needed.

Additionally, our online classes can be watched On Demand, so if you miss one class due to your schedule or unforeseen circumstances, you can catch up with it later. We have helped hundreds of students achieve the scores they need to attend their dream schools and start the rest of their lives.

For more information and tips, check out Prep Expert.

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What Are The Public Ivies?
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What Are The Public Ivies?
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There is a group of public universities known to insiders for providing an Ivy-level education at public school pricing. These institutions are known as ‘the Public Ivies’.
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Prep Expert
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Todd Konrad

Todd has an extensive background in entertainment, public relations, and technology startup engagement. After graduating from Arizona State University, Todd has spent the past twelve years working in content development, writing for a variety of companies in various markets. He has interviewed various Academy Award-winning actors and directors, during his time in the film industry.

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