Ivy League schools. You’ve certainly heard of them before. They are well-known in the United States and have produced well-rounded athletes, future presidents, Nobel Prize winners, and many other high-achieving graduates. But, what are Ivy League Schools? And, which Ivery League Schools are the cheapest?
But first, what does Ivy League mean? The term defines a group of eight long-established colleges and universities in the eastern US that have high academic and social prestige. These private schools are known for their academic excellence, highly selective admissions process, and the career opportunities that await graduates.
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Ivy league schools are home to some of the most respected professors in higher education, and have next to unlimited research grants and ample financial aid resources. To attend an Ivy League school, a student must be extraordinary both on and off paper.
If you are looking to attend an Ivy League school, read on for our guide to the best Ivy League schools in the US, and the cheapest Ivy League schools in the US.
List of Ivy League Schools
Princeton University is the fourth-oldest college in the country. As a world-renowned research university, Princeton is home to popular majors including social sciences, engineering, computer and information sciences, and public administration.
According to US News & World Report, total undergraduate enrollment at the university stands at just 5,422. This Ivy League school has specialized libraries, state-of-the-art labs, and an art museum. Students also benefit from small class sizes with a five-to-one student-faculty ratio, allowing for one-on-one relationships with prestigious professors.
Additionally, Princeton has one of the nation’s highest graduation rates. Princeton graduates you may have heard of include former first lady Michelle Obama and former President Woodrow Wilson.
Harvard University is the oldest educational institution in the United States, founded in 1636. As a private research school, Harvard is one of the most selective Ivy League schools. The university has 13 schools, including the top-ranked medical school in the country.
With more than 100 research centers on campus, Harvard also has highly-ranked programs in business, engineering, and law for both undergraduate and graduate students. Students have access to more than 445 extracurricular activities at Harvard, including athletic organizations. The university’s extensive library system has the oldest national collection and the most comprehensive private collection worldwide.
Columbia University isn’t just known for its featured scenes in blockbuster films like the Spider-Man franchise. It’s also the third-best college in the US, according to US News & World Report. Established in 1754, Columbia, located on the upper west side of Manhattan, is the fifth-oldest university in the nation.
This Ivy League school is also the proud home of one of the country’s most diverse student bodies. Students at Columbia enjoy access to many on-campus academic resources, including 22 libraries, over 200 research institutes and laboratories, and thousands of internship opportunities. Some of its prominent programs include the business and law schools, the Teachers College, and the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Graduates from Columbia can count among their peers former President Barack Obama.
Founded in 1701, Yale is a private Ivy League university that is best known for its top-ranked law school. Additional highly-ranked programs include drama, music, medicine, management, and nursing.
Students at Yale can take advantage of many opportunities, including a strong global study abroad program and international internships. Yale is proud to have produced many firsts, including becoming the first university in the United States to award doctoral degrees and the first to have a school of public health.
University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania, also known as Penn, counts Benjamin Franklin among its founders. Penn offers a mixture of liberal arts and pre-professional education. Of all the Ivy League schools, Penn has the most international students. Some of Penn’s renowned schools include its School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Perelman School of Medicine.
Dartmouth College, founded in 1769, is located in Hanover, New Hampshire. Compared to other Ivy League schools, Dartmouth offers students a more intimate learning setting, with fewer than 20 students in each class. Along with their smaller class sizes, more than 50 percent of students study in off-campus programs as part of Dartmouth’s push toward global, hands-on education.
Brown University is based in Providence, Rhode Island, and was founded in 1764. The private research institution offers an open that allows students to design their own personalized courses, encouraging them to become creative thinkers and intellectual risk-takers. This open program includes rigorous study from a choice of more than 80 concentrations, including egyptology, cognitive neuroscience, and entrepreneurship.
Additionally, Brown also has a highly competitive program in liberal medical education, in which students complete an undergrad degree and a medical degree in a single eight-year program.
Cornell is the youngest Ivy League institute, founded in 1865 in Ithaca, New York, with a mission to discover, preserve knowledge, produce creative output, and promote a culture of broad inquiry. Cornell’s largest undergraduate colleges are the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the College of Arts and Sciences. With more than 100 fields of study on offer, Cornell also has campuses in Geneva, New York, New York City, and Doha, Qatar.
What Are the Cheapest Ivy League Schools?
The cheapest Ivy League schools include The University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, Dartmouth College, and Princeton University. We have ranked the Ivy League schools below from cheapest to most expensive.
Cheapest Ivy League Schools That Won’t Break the Bank
|School||In-State Tuition||Out-of-State Tuition||Graduation Rate|
|The University of Pennsylvania||$54,652||$54,652||96%|
|Harvard University||$54,768 (full-time) $27,384 (part-time)||$54,768||98%|
|Cornell University||$60,286 (Endowed Colleges) |
$40,382 (State Contract Colleges)
|$60,286 (State Contract Colleges)||95%|
|Columbia University in the City of New York||$61,671||$61,671||96%|
What Is the Cheapest Ivy League School?
The University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania is a private research institute in Philadelphia. This Ivy League school is home to 23,038 students, with the majority being full-time graduate students. The University of Pennsylvania boasts a 96 percent graduation rate, one of the highest among all universities in America. It’s also the most affordable school on our list with the average price students pay starting at around $54,000.
Founded in 1636, Harvard University is one of the oldest Ivy League schools. Over 23,731 students study at Harvard. Some of the most notable alumni of this university include Barack Obama, JF Kennedy, Matt Damon, and Mark Zuckerberg.
Harvard University is known for its exceptional online programs and the state-of-the-art Harvard Business School. The University boasts a 98 percent graduation rate and a seven-to-one student-faculty ratio.
Princeton University is a private institution that offers 55 undergraduate certificate programs and 42 doctoral programs delivered by individual colleges. Princeton is one of the dream schools many want to attend. It offers numerous online courses and its popular majors include subjects like social sciences, engineering, computer science, and biomedical sciences.
This institution has 10 campus locations across the US that cater to over 5,267 undergraduate students. According to US News & World Report, Princeton is the best Ivy League school, ranking number one in national universities.
This private research Ivy League school is based in New Hampshire. US News & World Report ranks this institution as the fifth-best undergraduate teaching university in America. The most popular majors at this private college include subjects such as engineering, social sciences, biomedical sciences, mathematics, and statistics.
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Founded in 1701, Yale University is one of the oldest private universities. This institution has a student population of about 4,664 undergraduates and 7,357 graduate students. Yale is widely regarded as the most prestigious Ivy League school for higher education.
Some of the most popular majors include subjects like law, architecture, drama, nursing, and doctor of medicine. Yale offers financial aid options to prospective students who want to learn but might not have the financial means.
Among these elite schools is Cornell University. It is a premier research institution known for its exceptional academic program options for undergraduates and graduate students. Cornell features 15 colleges and schools, nine of which are undergraduate units and the remaining four are graduate and professional units.
Over 15,000 students are enrolled in this school’s programs. Most of these students are in class sizes of no more than 50 students, as only 13 percent of all classes feature 50 to 100 students. Although it’s one of the most prestigious universities in America, Cornell offers scholarship aid programs to those who qualify for financial aid.
Brown University is a leading research institution known for its world-class liberal arts college and its science and math programs. This institution has about 7,043 enrolled undergraduate students and 2,629 graduate students, and its average acceptance rate is around eight percent.
Columbia University in the City of New York
Columbia University is one of America’s most prestigious and expensive schools. Private schools like this institution have some of the most advanced research centers in the world. Columbia Business school is also renowned for its premier business education programs.
US News and World Report ranks Columbia University as the second-best national university in the US. Although it features some of the most expensive programs in the country, you can expect to get financial aid programs, especially as a first-year student. The university also awards academic and athletic scholarships.
How Much Do the Cheapest Ivy League Schools Cost?
The most affordable Ivy League school is the University of Pennsylvania, with a $61,170 per year average cost for tuition for undergraduate programs. These college costs include tuition, general fees, clinical fees, and technology fees. However, student loans are available for students who want to learn in Ivy League schools but do not have the financial means to pay the expensive tuition right away.
Ivy League Schools Costs Breakdown
- Cost per credit. The tuition fees typically form the bulk of the total cost of attending an Ivy League school. This is also known as a “tuition sticker price,” with separate fees often added to this amount.
- Application fees. These fees fund application services or other related services directly.
- Other fees. Other fees typically charged as part of the total costs include general fees, technology fees, health insurance fees, student activity fees, transportation, books, and supplies.
Tips for Saving Money While Attending Ivy League Schools
- Live off-campus. Housing costs tend to astronomically increase the overall cost of attending an Ivy League school. Consider attending college while living with your parents to mitigate housing and food expenses.
- Use free textbooks and online resources. You can have the opportunity to save thousands of dollars by using free online resources and textbooks. Start taking control of your financial situation by looking up free PDF versions of the textbooks you need.
- Choose your college wisely. In-state colleges tend to be cheaper than out-of-state colleges. For this reason, you would save a lot of money by choosing your Ivy League college wisely. International students should pay special attention to scholarship opportunities like merit-based scholarships.
Can You Attend Ivy League Schools for Free?
In certain circumstances, you can attend an Ivy League school for free. Some Ivy League schools offer free college education to families with income brackets ranging from $50,000 to $65,000 per year. If your family earns less than a specified salary per year, an Ivy League school might cover your living expenses and college tuition.
Acceptance letters to these elite schools can be a highlight of life, potentially sending you down a prestigious career path and opening doors to more career opportunities.
Princeton. Princeton is commonly regarded as the “cheapest Ivy” thanks to its extensive financial aid offerings. 62% of admitted students receive financial aid.Which is the easiest Ivy League to get into? ›
Cornell is considered the "easiest" Ivy League to get into because it has the highest Ivy League acceptance rate. While it's easier, statistically speaking, to get into Cornell, it's still challenging. It's also important to remember that students apply directly to one of Cornell's eight undergraduate colleges.What is the most expensive Ivy League? ›
Ivy League Schools Tuition Comparison
Columbia University in the City of New York has the most expensive tuition & fees of $66,139 and Harvard University has the lowest rates of $57,261. The average graduate tuition & fees of Ivy League is $50,486 in the academic year 2022-2023.
Yale University Tuition
This immense financial support results in equivalently low tuition rates, and Yale offers the lowest average net cost among Ivy League schools, at under $18,000 per year.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Like Harvard, MIT is based in Cambridge, Mass. Some rankings consider it among the most elite schools in the world, and it offers free tuition for students whose families make less than $140,000 per year.Can a 3.7 GPA get you into Ivy League? ›
While 3.7 is a good high school GPA, Ivy League schools are incredibly competitive and a 3.7 GPA alone likely isn't enough to differentiate yourself. Applicants generally have a better chance of getting into an Ivy League school if they get closer to a 4.0 GPA.What is the lowest GPA to get into Harvard? ›
You should also have a 4.18 GPA or higher. If your GPA is lower than this, you need to compensate with a higher SAT/ACT score. For a school as selective as Harvard, you'll also need to impress them with the rest of your application. We'll cover those details next.What is the hardest Ivy school? ›
The most challenging Ivy League school to get into is Harvard, established in 1636 and based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. According to Harvard Admissions, only 2,008 out of 43,330 candidates were accepted to the college. These figures translate into an acceptance rate of 4.6%.
As one of the most prestigious universities in the world, it comes as no surprise that Harvard has a student body that is among the wealthiest in the country. Many of the students at Harvard come from families with significant wealth and influence, and many go on to become leaders in their fields.
As you might expect, the colleges that produce the most billionaires are largely Ivy League universities.
Among the very best universities in the world, Yale University is the one that statistically offers the most generous financial aid. The following statistics from Yale Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid demonstrate the financial aid that first-year students in the Class of 2023 received on average.What is the #2 ranked Ivy League school? ›
|Name||Location||National University Ranking|
|Princeton University||Princeton, NJ||1|
|Harvard University||Cambridge, MA||3 (tie)|
|Yale University||New Haven, CT||3 (tie)|
|University of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia, PA||7 (tie)|
Brown, Princeton, and Columbia offer non-repayable scholarships to meet their students' financial needs. Depending on a student's demonstrated needs, this can include full tuition and a percentage of room and board costs.Can I attend Harvard for free? ›
What Does Harvard Cost? Harvard costs what your family can afford. We make sure of that. If your family's income is less than $85,000, you'll pay nothing.Can I go to Yale for free? ›
For Everyone. Yale is committed to an admissions policy that does not consider a student's ability to pay, and a financial aid policy that meets the full need of all students with no loans required.Which Ivy League has the least students? ›
Just one bad grade in an advanced level course is not going to ruin your chances at an Ivy League. However, consistently underperforming in advanced classes in your area-of-interest classes will penalize you in the applications process.Does Harvard accept 4.7 GPA? ›
(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA. With a GPA of 4.18, Harvard requires you to be at the top of your class. You'll need nearly straight A's in all your classes to compete with other applicants.Will a 4.5 GPA get me into Harvard? ›
Generally speaking, if your GPA is not at least equal to 4.18 then Harvard University may be a reach. However, Harvard University considers the ENTIRE application - we can make up for a weak GPA with more factors that we'll discuss below.What is the highest GPA ever? ›
Normally, you would expect the highest score to be the 'perfect' 4.0 score, however, there are several things that a student can do to receive an even higher score. For example, one student actually managed to get a 10.03 GPA score. He did this by taking 17 advanced classes at his school, which awarded him many points.
To get to Harvard your GPA has to be at least a 4.0 and even then if you get in your lucky but they require at least a 4.18 GPA only .Does Harvard kick out bottom 2% GPA? ›
If your GPA falls below 2.0, you are in poor academic standing. If you remain in poor academic standing for the following two terms, you are required to withdraw from the degree program. Your transcript will reflect this new status: RW (required to withdraw).What is a hidden Ivy school? ›
The Hidden Ivies are colleges and universities considered to rival the eight Ivy League schools without being part of that prestigious group. These schools offer similar academic opportunities to students but might get overlooked because of their lack of popularity when compared to the famous Ivies.Which Ivy has the smartest students? ›
|Smarts Rank||Overall Smarts Rank||School|
Campus happiness: Brown is widely known as the happiest Ivy, perhaps because of students' freedom to choose courses with almost complete autonomy. Students report feeling less competition amongst themselves and an overall sense of campus community.Where do rich kids go to school? ›
|School||Location||Median Family Income|
|Trinity College||Hartford, CT||$257,100|
|Middlebury College||Middlebury, NY||$244,300|
|Colby College||Waterville, ME||$236,100|
|Georgetown University||Washington, D.C.||$229,100|
Counting all degrees, Harvard University comes in first place in terms of the total number of billionaire alumni. The University of Pennsylvania comes in first if only bachelor's degrees are counted, according to the most recent 2022 Forbes report.What college did millionaires go to? ›
There are about 9,600 so-called centimillionaires living in the U.S., or people whose net worth is greater than $100 million, the report noted. About 35% of them attended one of eight U.S. universities: Harvard, MIT, Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia, Yale, Cornell and Princeton, the analysis found.Who is the richest person to come out of Harvard? ›
Some billionaire alumni at Harvard include the Los Angeles Clippers owner and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and the founder and CEO of Citadel, Ken Griffin.Which high school sends the most students to Harvard? ›
AUSTIN (Austin Business Journal) — The public Texas high school that sends the most students to Harvard, Princeton and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is right here in Austin. Westlake ranked No.
A Manhattan billionaire bought a $37 million insurance policy — to get his kids into the right college, according to a new report.What is the happiest Ivy League? ›
Many people know Brown as the “Happy Ivy,” and the Princeton Review ranked Brown as the 10th-happiest campus in the country. If you're curious, Tulane is ranked as number one.Which Ivy is the most preppy? ›
The Most Common Dartmouth Stereotypes. Dartmouth is subject to a number of stereotypes. These include the idea that Dartmouth is a “rich kids” school, that the students are all preppy and conservative, and that there is a lot of partying and drinking, particularly within the Greek scene.Which Ivy has the best mental health? ›
Penn scored the highest in a recent mental health report out of all eight Ivy League schools — with a failing grade of a D+.What is the hardest school to get into? ›
Harvard, Stanford and Princeton, unsurprisingly, are America's toughest colleges to get into in 2023, according to Niche's most recent rankings.Which Ivy League has the prettiest campus? ›
The Ivy League with the best campus is Princeton. It's reputed as having the prettiest campus.Why is Stanford not an ivy? ›
Duke, MIT, and Stanford aren't Ivy League universities only because they didn't have strong athletic programs when the Ivy League was established.How do I get a full ride to Harvard? ›
Scholarships for Harvard University
Harvard does not offer any merit-based aid and no full-ride scholarships. However, they do meet 100% of students' demonstrated financial needs. Almost half of the batch at Harvard University avails need-based scholarships or financial aid every year.
Ivy League school scholarships don't exist in any sport; these institutions only provide need-based financial aid. This is a significant distinction between Ivy Leagues and other colleges or universities.How rare are full ride scholarships? ›
How hard is it to get a full ride scholarship? Less than 1 percent of students get full ride scholarships, showing just how difficult it is to earn one. However, with the right background, proper planning and by knowing where to look, your chances of landing a full ride scholarship can increase.
|1. Franklin & Marshall College||$65,652|
|2. Columbia University||$65,524|
|3. Reed College||$64,450|
|4. Vassar College||$63,840|
The average high school GPA of admitted students at Harvard is around 4.2. 73% of students had a GPA of at least 4.0, indicating that admitted students typically mostly earned A grades in high school. If you're studying the IB, this translates to scoring mostly 7s and achieving a minimum score of at least 42.What is the most expensive college tuition? ›
What is the most expensive college?
- Colgate University (New York) - $64,290.
- Boston College (Massachusetts) - $64,176.
- Amherst College (Massachusetts) - $64,100.
Yale University does not have a strict minimum GPA requirement for undergraduate admissions. However, admitted students typically have very high GPAs, ranging from 3.8 to 4.0, with an average GPA of 3.9.
You should also have a 4.14 GPA or higher. If your GPA is lower than this, you need to compensate with a higher SAT/ACT score. For a school as selective as Yale, you'll also need to impress them with the rest of your application.How much GPA do you need to get into Yale? ›
In truth, you need close to a 4.0 unweighted GPA to get into Yale. That means nearly straight As in every class.What GPA is too low for Ivy League? ›
Any lower than 3.5, however, you'll have to either have an impressive, relevant achievement or pray for a miracle to get an offer. Therefore, it is best to aspire for the maximum 4.0 to play it safe. But as long as you have at least a 3.7 GPA, you can still get a serious chance at consideration for an offer.What is the easiest ivy to get into? ›
Cornell's acceptance rate is approximately 7%, making it the easiest Ivy League school to get into.What is the lowest GPA ever accepted Ivy League? ›
And maybe, you can get into a top tier college with a low GPA. We've always stated that the lowest GPA student we've ever helped get into an Ivy League school had a 3.3 unweighted GPA. And we're not saying that we could get anyone in with a 3.3 GPA. But it has happened before – and the student was Asian American too.What is the lowest GPA an Ivy League will accept? ›
None of the Ivy League schools have a minimum GPA requirement for applications, which means anyone can apply regardless of their GPA.
Yale University had a 4.35% acceptance rate, its lowest in history. Yale admitted 2,275 students for the class of 2027 from its largest-ever pool of 52,250 applicants.What is the hardest non Ivy League school to get into? ›
Considered the preeminent institution among the Claremont Consortium, Pomona College in Claremont, California, is much like the elite liberal arts schools of the Northeast. If you are one of the rare individuals capable of gaining entrance, you won't find a better or more rigorous liberal arts education anywhere.Can I get into Harvard with a 2.5 GPA? ›
No, you cannot get into Harvard University with a 2.5 GPA. The minimum GPA for admission into Harvard is 4.18 on a 4.0 scale on your official high school transcript. This means that you have to be an advanced placement student to stand a chance of getting admitted to Harvard University.What is the lowest GPA for Yale? ›
What is the minimum GPA required for admission? We do not set a minimum GPA, nor do we attempt to re-weight GPA's to any standard other than what a school provides. An applicant's complete secondary school transcript (not just the GPA or class rank, if they are provided) is evaluated during the admissions process.Is a 4.7 GPA good for Harvard? ›
Average GPA: 4.18
(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA. With a GPA of 4.18, Harvard requires you to be at the top of your class. You'll need nearly straight A's in all your classes to compete with other applicants.
The most challenging Ivy League school to get into is Harvard, established in 1636 and based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. According to Harvard Admissions, only 2,008 out of 43,330 candidates were accepted to the college.
Going into high school, many students hear that freshman year is the “easiest” year. Some think that colleges don't consider it as much as they do one's sophomore, junior, and senior years. While this is typically true, it doesn't mean that students should entirely dismiss the importance of their freshman year.Is a B bad for Ivy League? ›
Can you get into the Ivy League with mostly A's and a couple of B's? Yes, you can get into top schools with some B's, but it depends on the rest of your academic profile.Which year of high school is the hardest? ›
While each year of high school will have its own stressors, many will say junior year is the most challenging. Junior year can be the hardest for several reasons, but with the right prep and expectations, high school students can make the hardest year just a little easier.What is the smartest Ivy League school? ›
Ivy League Schools Ranked 2023.
|US News National||3|
|QS World Ranking||5|
|THE World Rankings||2|
1. Harvard University. Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S. Harvard University is the standard by which all other research universities are measured.