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The Modern Public Ivies

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Replies to: The Modern Public Ivies

  • tk21769tk21769 Registered User Posts: 10,607 Senior Member
    These are some of the characteristics of Ivy League colleges:

    * large endowments ($200K per student to over $2M per student )
    * need-blind admission with aid covering 100% of determined need for all students
    * national drawing power (with a majority of students from out of state)
    * small classes (60% - 75% with < 20 students)
    * high 4-year graduation rates (80% - 90%)
    * highly selective admissions (SATs averaging 2100-2300; 90% or more of students from their HS top 10%)
    * highly paid faculty (averaging > $120K/year for full-time professors)
    * high international name-recognition and prestige

    All (or nearly all) the Ivies meet all these criteria.
    Which ones are unimportant enough to eliminate (or relax) and still be talking about the same kind of college?
  • beyphybeyphy Registered User Posts: 2,237 Senior Member
    There's nothing really special about being and Ivy and, correspondingly, nothing particularly special about being a public Ivy either. Is Dartmouth better than Johns Hopkins? Is Princeton better than Stanford? The answer to these questions are hardly obvious. But even if one asserts that both are true, I think it would be ridiculous to claim that it's due to the formers' association with some league, which isn't even really that old.

    Just as their are a number of excellent privates out there, there are just as many (if not more) excellent public universities out there as well. A list of such schools and systems might include:

    William and Mary
    UVA
    University of California - B.
    University of California - D.
    University of California - I.
    University of California - LA
    University of California - SD
    GeorgiaTech
    University of Washington
    University of Minnesota -TC
    Indiana University - B.
    Purdue University
    University of Illinois - UC
    University of Texas - A.
    University of North Carolina - CH
    The Ohio State University
    University of Alabama
    Rutgers University
    University of Pittsburg
    the SUNY and CUNY systems, among others.

    And its not particularly surprising, since strong investment in a public university can yield great economic benefits for a particular state.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 12,619 Senior Member
    As I arrived in the Columbus airport last week I noticed a big ad for Miami U which referred to it as "Ohio's Public Ivy". I thought that was interesting as OSU is actually a bit harder to get into, in terms of accepted student stats.

    But here in Ohio, the difference between the two seems to be more about being in the city or the country and size, and I suppose available majors and sports stuff. Miami also has some guaranteed merit awards that attract a lot of students with those stats. Miami is also more $$ to begin with, however, in a recent year the most expensive public in the country for in-state students.

    I also understand OSU passing Miami in difficulty of acceptance is relatively new.

    Anyway, I also think the "public Ivy" label is kind of dumb. How about "Public Stanford"? ;)
  • XtremePowerXtremePower Registered User Posts: 1,661 Senior Member
    OHMomof2 wrote:
    Miami is also more $$ to begin with, however, in a recent year the most expensive public for in-state students.

    Definitely not. Miami U is not expensive at all. University of Pittsburgh is the most expensive public for in-state students.
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 12,619 Senior Member
    Choose "4 year public" and "highest net prices": College Affordability and Transparency Center

    ...it must be the room/board and fees. Pitt's at #8.
  • FutureDoctor31FutureDoctor31 Registered User Posts: 663 Member
    Maryland and Penn State are just "average" universities? I don't think so.
  • whenhenwhenhen Registered User Posts: 5,641 Senior Member
    If a university is a member of the AAU, it's probably one of the best in the country (remember, there are over 3,000 institutions of higher education)
    Association of American Universities
  • FutureDoctor31FutureDoctor31 Registered User Posts: 663 Member
    Penn State and Maryland are both AAU schools. In fact, they are two of the best universities in the Northeastern U.S.! This is why I did not understand XtremePower's reasoning behind that.
  • andy09andy09 Registered User Posts: 257 Junior Member
    1) Universities in the Ivy league are among the best schools in the country-that doesn't mean they're the best though-MIT, Stanford, Duke, Caltech, Northwestern, UChicago are as good as, or better than mid/lower IVYs
    2) comparing The top public schools to a collection of private, northeast, universities which were formed (except for cornell) before the independence of the USA seems somewhat arbitrary, as the schools have nothing in common, and have completely different purposes.

    If it's an issue of naming the best 8 comprehensive public universities, the list would be along the lines of:

    U Michigan
    U Texas
    UC Berkeley
    UCLA
    UVA
    UNC
    U Wisconsin
    U Illinois
    (In no particular order)

    All of them, highly reputed state flagship universities. However, comparing them to the Ivy league, or referring to them as the "public Ivy League" would make no sense.

    After these 8, there are undoubtedly several other excellent public schools, and the next tier would be pretty broad since none of the schools are demonstrably "better" than the others:
    U Florida, U Minnesota, Texas A&M, OSU, PSU, Purdue, IU, UCSD, UCD, UGA, U Washington, U Maryland, Rutgers, Pitt, Georgia Tech, W&M etc. (In no particular order)
  • OHMomof2OHMomof2 Registered User Posts: 12,619 Senior Member
    Here's the original list (per wiki) if anyone is curious:

    Public Ivy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    College of William & Mary (Williamsburg, Virginia)
    Miami University (Oxford, Ohio)
    University of California (campuses as of 1985)[6]
    University of Michigan (Ann Arbor)
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    University of Texas at Austin
    University of Vermont (Burlington)
    University of Virginia (Charlottesville)

    Wiki has an "updated" 2001 list of 30 as well as "Black Ivies", "Southern Ivies", "Little Ivies", "Hidden Ivies" and, of course, the formidable "Little Lambs Eat Ivies".
  • bclintonkbclintonk Registered User Posts: 7,652 Senior Member
    I don’t buy the “public Ivy” label—as others have said, just a marketing tool for someone’s book. But then the whole “Ivy league” thing is just a marketing tool for a group of private northeastern universities, loosely linked by affiliation to an athletic conference. They’re all good schools, some are great ones, but they’re only some among the best. There’s nothing in their athletic conference affiliation that sets them apart from, say, a Stanford, Chicago, or Duke. And while the Ivies exhibit some private school characteristics that set them apart from public research universities—notably, smaller student bodies and somewhat lower s/f ratios—the top public research universities can nonetheless hold their heads high as some of the nation’s, and the world’s, leading academic institutions, without pretending to be some kind of junior varsity Ivy League.

    That said, let me just run down tk21769’s criteria one by one:

    • Endowment. Michigan’s nearly $8 billion endowment ranks #7 among all U.S. colleges and universities--bigger than any Ivy except HYP. True, on a per capita basis it’s smaller than the top privates, but Michigan also gets a direct legislative appropriation of nearly $300 million per year, which would be the equivalent of the annual payout on an additional $6 billion in endowment.

    • Financial aid. Both UVA and UNC-Chapel Hill meet 100% of need for all students. Michigan meets 100% of need for in-state students and 90% of need for its student body as a whole; rumor has it that its next capital campaign will seek to raise sufficient funds to meet 100% of need for all.

    • National drawing power. It’s true that no elite public university draws a majority of its students from out-of-state, but that’s a function of two factors: they’re public institutions whose primary mission is to educate in-state students, and they are large institutions because their mission is to educate large numbers of students. That doesn’t mean the best of them lack national drawing power. A bit over 40% of Michigan’s recent incoming classes have been out-of-state. Michigan draws more Californians than any Ivy; nearly as many Illinoisans as the 8 Ivies combined; more Texans than any Ivy except Cornell. It draws more Floridians than 6 of the 8 Ivies. It even draws more New Yorkers than any Ivy except Cornell (portions of which are effectively a state university), and more New Jerseyans than any Ivy except Penn and Cornell.

    • Class sizes. Citations to percentages of small classes can be misleading, because small classes are, by definition, small, so they don’t serve many students. More important is the percentage of large classes, because by definition it takes a lot of students to fill a large class. Generally speaking, any percentage of large (50+) classes over 10 or 11% will mean students are spending as much or more time in large as in small (<20) classes. Cornell actually has a higher percentage of large classes (18%) than many of the so-called public Ivies. Princeton (11% of classes 50+) is more similar to UNC-Chapel Hill (13%), UVA (15%), or Michigan (17%) in this regard than it is to the leading LACs (Williams 4%, Amherst 2%, Swarthmore 2%, Haverford 0.6%). If you want small classes, look at LACs, not research universities—public or private.

    • Graduation rates. I don’t have quick access to 4-year graduation rates, but all the leading publics have 6-year graduation rates of 90% or higher, among the highest in the nation for schools of any category.

    • Admissions selectivity. This is a simple function of size. Smaller private schools can fill out their entire class of 1200 to 1500 freshmen with top-stats applicants. Top public schools fill out the top quartile o top third or top half of their class with similarly credentialed applicants and then, because they have a bigger class to fill, need to dig deeper into the applicant pool. Generally speaking, though, there are as many or more top-credentialed students at the leading publics as at any private.

    • Faculty pay. It’s generally true that on average faculty at private universities make more than faculty at public universities, but the differential is much less than is commonly supposed, especially when the comparison group is elite publics. According to the AAUP, the average full professor at UCLA makes $162,600; at Dartmouth, $162,100; at Cornell, $161,800; at Brown, $156,700; at UC Berkeley $154,000; at Michigan $148.800. All these figures are listed as “far above the median” for university faculty generally. Generally speaking, the top publics have no difficulty recruiting and retaining the faculty they want, because the combination of prestige within academia and within a particular academic discipline and faculty compensation they offer is highly competitive.

    • International reputation. Some of the Ivies have stellar international reputations; others less so. Generally speaking, schools like UC Berkeley, UCLA, and Michigan far outshine the Browns and Dartmouths in international reputational surveys. For example, the Times Higher Education Supplement has UC Berkeley #9, UCLA #13, and Michigan #20 among world universities—very much in the same ballpark as #11 Yale, #14 Columbia, #15 Penn, and #18 Cornell, and well ahead of #51 Brown and #124 Dartmouth. The QS World University Ranking has Michigan at #17, in the same vicinity as #11 Columbia, #12 Penn, and #14 Cornell, with UC Berkeley (#22) and UCLA (#31) still well ahead of #42 Brown and #113 Dartmouth.
  • xCossackxCossack - Posts: 254 Junior Member
    You forgot UT Austin and CU- Boulder...
  • barronsbarrons Registered User Posts: 24,979 Senior Member
    Nobody says they are exactly like an Ivy in character. For one they are much larger. But they produce excellence in many ways just as Ivy schools do. Just not in all the same ways.
  • tk21769tk21769 Registered User Posts: 10,607 Senior Member
    >> ... Michigan draws more Californians than any Ivy; nearly as many Illinoisans as the 8 Ivies combined; more Texans than any Ivy except Cornell. ...

    Imagine a typical floor in a residence hall. What are the odds that your neighbors on that floor (or in your smallest introductory humanities classes) will represent top students (and nobody but top students) from all over America? At most of the Ivies, the odds will be fairly high. At virtually any public school (with the exception of the service academies and possibly some honors colleges) I think the odds will be fairly low.

    Am I overstating the degree of this difference? Is it insignificant? To many students who choose Ivy League colleges, I don't think it is. That's not to say you can't get an excellent education at any of the public universities mentioned above. It's also not to say you could not find a diverse circle of smart, talented friends at any of them. However, I think we're glossing over significant differences when we argue that a school 2-5 times as large as the Ivies has just as much money, just as many OOS students, or just as many small classes. How does the distribution of resources come to bear on the typical classroom or dormitory experience?

    Then again, your college experience doesn't have to be typical. It's what you make it.
  • UCBChemEGradUCBChemEGrad Registered User Posts: 10,277 Senior Member
    Berkley is probably the only university on this list that can compete with a private Ivy like Harvard, or Princeton.
    Academics agree. :)
    Which Universities Are Ranked Highest by College Officials? - Morse Code: Inside the College Rankings (usnews.com)
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