Public Ivy

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"Public Ivy" is a term that refers to prestigious public colleges and universities in the United States that provide a collegiate experience similar to those in the Ivy League.[1][2] The term was first coined by Yale University admissions officer Richard Moll, who published Public Ivies: A Guide to America's Best Public Undergraduate Colleges and Universities in 1985, which included eight universities and nine runners-up.[1] In 2001, college guide authors Howard Greene and Matthew Greene, released their own book, The Public Ivies: The Great State Colleges and Universities,[3] which included 30 schools.[2] Debates about public Ivies have centered on whether state budgetary cuts are undermining their future;[4][5] whether raising tuition at public Ivies has "gentrified" the schools;[6] whether states should be subsidizing higher education in the first place;[6] whether graduates of public Ivies are able to pay back student loans as quickly as their Ivy League counterparts;[7] and whether out-of-state tuition is too high.[6][8]


The term first appeared in the Public Ivies: A Guide to America's Best Public Undergraduate Colleges and Universities, published in 1985.[1] The author, Richard Moll, graduated with a master's degree from Yale University in 1959, and served as an admissions officer as well as a director of admissions at several universities in the United States.[9] He traveled the nation examining higher education institutions, and selected eight that were comparable to the Ivy League.[10][11]

Moll's original ranking methodology included factors such as academic rigor, quality of faculty, and cost of tuition, as well as assessments of campus facilities, available resources, age, and major cultural traditions celebrated at each institution.[12][13]

Original list published in 1985


As part of the initial 1985 publication, Moll also selected nine "worthy runner-up" universities:[14]

Notable updates

Greenes' Guides list (2001)

The list of "public ivy" institutions has gone through several revisions over the years, much like other university rankings and conferences. A notable update was published in 2001, when Howard and Matthew Greene included the following 30 colleges and universities in The Public Ivies: America's Flagship Public Universities.[2]




Great Lakes & Midwest



See also


  1. ^ a b c Richard Moll in his book Public Ivys: A Guide to America's best public undergraduate colleges and universities (1985)
  2. ^ a b c Greene, Howard R.; Greene, Matthew W. (2001). The public ivies: America's flagship public universities (1st ed.). New York: Cliff Street Books. ISBN 978-0060934590.
  3. ^ "Trade Paperbacks". Publishers Weekly. January 22, 2001. Retrieved 2022-11-04 – via EBSCOHost.
  4. ^ "The Public Ivy Is Withering". Newsweek. April 28, 1991. Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  5. ^ Pruitt, Charles R. (August 26, 2016). "Politics is cutting the heart out of Public Ivies". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  6. ^ a b c de Vise, Daniel (January 3, 2012). "Berkeley and the public Ivies: Five lingering questions". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  7. ^ McBride, Sarah (August 19, 2010). "Ivy Grads Outperform Their Public-School Colleagues on Loan Repayments". NPR. Retrieved 2022-11-04.
  8. ^ "Personal Business; Suddenly, State Universities Have More Allure". The New York Times. November 10, 2002. ProQuest 2230199937. Retrieved 2022-11-04 – via ProQuest.
  9. ^ Branch, Mark Alden (November 2000). "Deciphering the Admissions Map". Yale Alumni Magazine. Vol. 109, no. 11. ¶16. Archived from the original on 2008-01-07. Retrieved 2008-02-09. But Richard Moll '59MDiv, a former Yale admissions officer who later oversaw admissions at Bowdoin and Vassar, thinks Yale still is not as visible as it should be. 'Yale has not had the presence at grassroots admissions and counseling conferences that Harvard and Stanford have,' says Moll, author of Playing the Selective College Admissions Game.
  10. ^ "Comparing Black Enrollments at the Public Ivies". The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. Autumn 2005. Retrieved 2006-09-03.
  11. ^ Paul Marthers, Dean of Admission. "Admissions Messages vs. Admissions Realities". Office of Admissions. Reed College. Archived from the original on 2008-02-21. Retrieved 2008-02-09.
  12. ^ Savage, David G. (1985-10-06). "The Public Ivys: A Guide to America's Best Public Undergraduate Colleges and Universities". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-07-26.
  13. ^ "Comparing Black Enrollments at the Public Ivies". The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. Autumn 2005. Retrieved 2006-09-03.
  14. ^ Moll, Richard (1985). The Public Ivys: A Guide to America's Best Undergraduate Colleges and Universities. Viking Penguin. p. xxvi. ISBN 0-670-58205-0.