5 Benefits of Attending a “Public Ivy”

What are the Advantages of Attending Public Ivy Colleges?

  • Affordability
  • Closer to Home
  • Quality Education
  • Access to Scholarships and Financial Aid
  • Access to Post-degree Mentor Network

State colleges and universities tend to be relegated to second-choice picks by college-bound students. These schools may be regarded as non-competitive to top-tier campuses regardless of their long-established reputation as viable college choices. The gold standard in colleges and universities is a group of schools known as the Ivy League. These universities have highly selective admissions procedures, top-level academic programs, and beautiful campuses. However, these are not the only options for quality college education.

Education advocates recommend some public universities that provide comparable opportunities as the Ivy League. The Public Ivy designation was coined by Richard Moll, former admissions officer of various colleges, in “Public Ivies: A Guide to America’s Best Public Undergraduate Colleges and Universities” published in 1985. Some of the schools identified as public Ivies include College of William & Mary, Miami University-Ohio, all campuses of the University of California system, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Texas at Austin, University of Vermont-Burlington and University of Virginia-Charlottesville. There is also a broader list of universities that may be count as public Ivies.

Related resource: Top 30 Public Ivies Offering a Degree in Psychology

1. Affordability

Public or state-funded universities have much lower tuition, especially for in-state students. Even out-of-state students may qualify for lower tuition by applying through private or public initiatives such as the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education or WICHE or similar programs. Students who are admitted to any of the member colleges and universities earn significant tuition discounts. Room and board at the campuses of public universities tend to be more affordable than at private colleges and certainly more so than any of the original Ivy schools.

2. Quality Education and Exposure to Other Opportunities

Academic excellence is a top attribute of the Ivy universities and the same measure is applied to public Ivies who must have a proven record of academic rigor, stringent standards for gauging academic achievement along with corporate traditions and a campus with the full complement of amenities for a productive and creative campus life. Students gain in terms of intellectual, emotional and personal growth when they interface with world-class professors in a diverse community.

3. Closer to Home

Students are typically encouraged to attend a public university in their home state, and if one of these campuses happen to be a public Ivy, all the better because they have the convenience of being in familiar surroundings as they adjust to college life. This could also mean lower cost of living expenses and the ability to access resources from home that out-of-state college students cannot do as easily.

4. Access to Scholarships and Other Forms of Aid

Highly regarded universities receive substantial funding from state and federal funds along with a robust fundraising program. Part of these funds is used on scholarships and other forms of aid for deserving students. Financial rewards may be based on merit programs or need-based qualifications. Colleges and universities that prepare their students for successful careers tend to grow their grants programs over time through the alumni network, according to market research firm Red Brick.

5. Access to a Post-degree Mentor Network

Graduates already have a foot in the proverbial door through when they earn a degree from a public Ivy. Their academic credentials are well-regarded, and they have the professional savvy and mindset developed by being in an environment of motivated and ambitious individuals. Graduates can also count on a network of alumni, professors and other industry insiders to provide mentorship, referrals and professional advice.

The costs of quality college education have been rising while admission to these schools has become more competitive. There are many benefits to attending a public Ivy, but it can be said that these top-level schools democratize access to quality education, ensuring access for deserving and driven students.