List of Ivy League Schools

Best Ivy League Schools Ranking list

This list of Ivy league schools is based upon information available from PBA, The Times, Jiao Tong and the USnews.

For many years running Harvard has been considered the best Ivy League University; however it is easily seen from the rankings that all of them offer a world class standard of education.

Indeed six of the Ivy league universities rank in the top 10 colleges in the USA list.

RankIvy League SchoolPBA American University RankFeesTimes WorldJT WorldJT AmericanUSNews AmericanTimes American University ranking
1Harvard University1$36,17311111
2Princeton University2$34,29068723
3Yale University 3$35,300211932
4Columbia University8$39,326117687
5University of Pennsylvania9$37,52614151369
6Cornell University10$36,5042012101412
7Brown University18$37,718 3270391616
8Dartmouth College26$36,91571102511125

The Times and Jiao Tong rankings shown in this list of ivy league schools table reflect data available for world and for American colleges.

An Overview of the Ivy League University System

The term Ivy League initially referred to the athletics conference established by a group of prestigious universities and colleges in north-eastern U.S., but the name has now come to refer to the academic institutions collectively. Ivy League now refers to not only the sports conference, but also refers to the academic, admissions and social class of the eight universities as a whole.

Despite the Ivy League not coming into existence as a whole until a 1954 agreement between the Presidents of the eight institutions, the term has been in existence since at least the early 1930s. The prestigious nature of the eight Ivy League schools and their location means they are some of the oldest in the U.S. and they remain privately operated institutions – with the exception of Cornell, which has departments that are publicly funded – and charge large fees for attendance. Seven of the eight Ivy League schools were formed in the 17th and 18th centuries prior to the American Revolutionary War; only Cornell was formed after the Revolution (1865). There are only two Colonial era universities that are not members of the Ivy League.

After football became the dominant sport in U.S. colleges in the 19th century fears that the sport was becoming more important than academic success at the prestigious north-eastern colleges led to agreements being put into place about football practice and schedules. The 1916 agreement between the Presidents of Yale, Harvard and Princeton was used as the basis of the initial agreement, for what would become known as the Ivy League. An further 1952 agreement mad use of the 1916 Presidents agreement of the eight colleges and universities forming a sports conference, which limited practice and drills; in 1954 the agreement was expanded to introduce an annual schedule where each team played all of the others in the conference. Calls for the formation of the Ivy League sports conference began in the early 1930s when undergraduate newspapers called for the list of Ivy League schools: Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale to form an athletic conference. The New York Herald Tribune’s Stanley Woodward is credited with publishing the name ‘Ivy League’ in a 1936 article in the newspaper.

Ivy League Universities

Brown is a member of the prestigious Ivy League. Photograph by Patricia Drury.

The Ivy League sports conference became a great success following the 1954 agreement, and the term became used as a catch all for the eight academic institutions. All the institutions share similar academic and scholarship principles and are seen as the colleges of choice for the children of America’s social elite. A number of former U.S. Presidents, including both Presidents from the Bush family, were educated at Ivy League institutions. In some quarters, the Ivy League institutions have been accused of social elitism and of failing to open their doors to the majority of people wishing to attend the colleges and universities; admission rates are historically low – ranging from six to 16 percent. The admission policies of the Ivy institutions are formed and discussed at inter college meetings between staff members from all eight colleges; cooperation between the colleges includes an intercollegiate library lending system offering the catalogue from seven of the eight college libraries to all Ivy League library members except Princeton.

Because of the prestigious nature of the Ivy League institutions, graduating from a course of study at one of these universities is often seen as a way to increase ones career chances after leaving college. Opportunities to study under some of the best minds in the world are further funded by the large number of research grants given to Ivy League schools by Federal Government agencies and through private investment. As some of the top ranked academic institutions in the U.S., and around the world, the most impressive part of completing an Ivy League education is that the schools in the conference all feature in the top twenty 20 best schools in the U.S. every year.