Public Ivy List

by Joy Thompson

Many students are curious about the Ivy League schools, but they are some of the most expensive schools in the nation, and their entry requirements are quite notorious.

In the 1980s, Richard Moll, then admissions officer for the University of California, traveled across the United States in order to test the quality of its public schools. He came up with the Public Ivy List, a list of the top eight schools, ranked according to many of the criteria that make the Ivy League so great.

Public Ivy List Criteria

These criteria applied to both the Public Ivy list of schools as well as the traditional Ivy League. All of these schools have a rich history full of tradition, have successful and renowned graduates, lush campuses, and a supreme academic experience. The major difference is that the Public Ivy list contains schools that are public, not private, and usually have a lower tuition cost than the Ivy League.

The original list of schools that Moll put together includes:

  • University of Texas at Austin
  • University of Vermont
  • College of William and Mary
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Virginia
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of California
  • Miami University

The idea of public ivy schools has spread from Moll’s original list of eight schools. Howard and Matthew Greene put together a list of additional schools that they felt belonged in the prestigious Public Ivy list, after reading Moll’s publication and doing some research of their own. These additional schools include:

  • Indiana University
  • Ohio State University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Rutgers University
  • State University of New York
  • University of Colorado
  • University of Florida
  • University of Illinois
  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • University of Washington
  • University of Wisconsin

The Greene’s also made another list at a later date that included 30 “hidden” public ivies. These lists and Moll’s original list are used by many students as a compass for public school excellence.

The Public Ivy list of the top eight schools is considered nearly sacred by some people, and shouldn’t be tainted by the additional schools. No one can argue that all of the above mentioned schools are among the best in the nation. They made the cut, and they are a great starting place if you are considering further education.