What Are Ivy League Schools and Which are the Cheapest? (2023)

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.

What Are Ivy League Schools and Which are the Cheapest? (1)

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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.

(Video) Every Ivy League School Explained in 8 Minutes

List of Ivy League Schools

Princeton University

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

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

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.

» MORE: Princeton University Review: Princeton Rankings, Admissions, Academics, Cost, and More

Graduates from Columbia can count among their peers former President Barack Obama.

Yale University

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.

(Video) Everything You Need to Know About Ivy League Schools

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

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

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 University

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%
Princeton University $57,690 $48,502 98%
Dartmouth College $58,953 $58,953 95%
Yale University $59,950 $59,950 96%
Cornell University $60,286 (Endowed Colleges)
$40,382 (State Contract Colleges)
$60,286 (State Contract Colleges) 95%
Brown University $60,944 $60,944 95%
Columbia University in the City of New York $61,671 $61,671 96%
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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.

Harvard University

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.

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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

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.

Dartmouth College

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.

What Are Ivy League Schools and Which are the Cheapest? (2)

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Yale University

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.

(Video) Was Harvard Worth It? The Hidden Cost of Attending an Ivy League College

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.

Cornell University

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

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.

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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.

(Video) The 8 IVY League Universities in USA


What is the easiest Ivy League to get into? ›

1. What's the easiest Ivy League school to get into? While all Ivy League schools have a low acceptance rate, Cornell University has the highest acceptance rate among them. Cornell's acceptance rate is 11%, but try not to get too hung up on the numbers.

What is the most expensive Ivy League? ›

In the academic year of 2022/2023, tuition at Columbia University cost 60,420 U.S. dollars, and room and board amounted to 27,860 U.S. dollars, making it the most expensive school in the Ivy League.
CharacteristicTuitionRoom & board
7 more rows
Oct 27, 2022

What is the cheapest prestigious college? ›

Top 100 - Most Affordable Mid-size to Large Colleges and Universities in 2023
RankSchool NameNet Price
1California State University–Dominquez Hills Carson, CA$1,640
2University of Texas–Pan American Edinburg, TX$2,500
3California State University–Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA$2,735
4CUNY Leman College Bronx, New York$2,327
6 more rows

How much does a 4 year Ivy League cost? ›

Tuition and fees at an Ivy League school will typically be close to $60,000 a year, while costs for other public and private universities in the US are between the $30,000 and $40,000-a-year.

What GPA is needed for Ivy? ›

If you're aiming for a top university such as one in the Ivy League, Stanford, MIT, or others of the same caliber, a 4.0 GPA — or close to it — is expected.

What is the hardest Ivy? ›

Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the US and consistently ranks #1 hardest Ivy League to get into. Founded in 1636, Harvard offers students a world-class education from some of the most brilliant professors in the world.

What is the toughest school to get into? ›

  1. Harvard University — 3.19% Total Number of Applicants (Class of 2026): 61,220. ...
  2. Columbia University — 3.73% Total Number of Applicants (Class of 2026): 60,377. ...
  3. California Institute of Technology — 3.92% ...
  4. Stanford University — 3.95% ...
  5. MIT — 3.96% ...
  6. Princeton University — 4.38% ...
  7. Yale University — 4.47% ...
  8. Brown University — 5.03%

What is the lowest Ivy League? ›

What Are the Cheapest Ivy League Schools? The cheapest Ivy League schools include The University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, Dartmouth College, and Princeton University.

What is a hidden Ivy League school? ›

The Hidden Ivies include many small colleges, such as Davidson College, Pomona College, Carleton College, and Oberlin College, as well as some large research universities, like Georgetown University, Vanderbilt University, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Southern California.

What is the rarest college to get into? ›

Stanford University has the lowest acceptance rate of all universities on this list. Its admission rate for 2021 was 3.9%. Academic achievement is one of the main factors Stanford uses in their admissions process.

What college is most worth the money? ›

Here are the best value schools
  • Harvard University.
  • Princeton University.
  • Yale University.
  • Stanford University.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Rice University.
  • Dartmouth College.
  • Vanderbilt University.

Is going to an Ivy worth it? ›

On average, Ivy League graduates earn substantially more than graduates from other four-year universities, according to the most recent data from PayScale for more than 1,500 schools.

What is the easiest prestigious school to get into? ›

Based on the information provided above, you probably noticed that Cornell University has the highest acceptance rates out of all the Ivy League schools and can therefore be classified as the easiest Ivy league school to get into.

How do people afford Ivy Leagues? ›

Applying for financial aid at ivy league schools

In order to qualify for financial aid at an Ivy League school, you need to be admitted to the college and also apply for financial aid. The good news is that all of the Ivy League schools are need-blind for students from the United States.

What GPA does Harvard except? ›

To have the best shot of getting in, you should aim for the 75th percentile, with a 1580 SAT or a 35 ACT. 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.

What is the lowest GPA admitted to Harvard? ›

Continue to work hard, take difficult classes, and show your passions outside of school! 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 .

Can I get into Harvard with 2 B's? ›

Can I get into Harvard with 2 BS? Does Harvard Accept B Students? Yes, just like I mentioned above, it's completely possible to get admitted into Harvard University with B grades. Admissions are not reserved only for straight-A students.

What is the whitest ivy? ›

New data confirms what you've probably already guessed: Princeton is the whitest Ivy in the League.

Which is the most fun ivy? ›

#1: Dartmouth College

Dartmouth brings home the award for the frattiest Ivy League school.

What is the smartest Ivy League? ›

The best Ivy League school in 2022 is Harvard, followed by Princeton and Yale based on this ranking method.

What is the #1 party school in America? ›

UC Santa Barbara

What school is #1 in the world? ›

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

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.

What is the lowest Ivy League school? ›

What Are the Cheapest Ivy League Schools? The cheapest Ivy League schools include The University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, Dartmouth College, and Princeton University.

What is the most accepting Ivy League school? ›

Recent data shows Cornell University is the Ivy League school with the highest acceptance rate.

Can a 3.7 GPA get you into Ivy League? ›

Yes, you can get into an Ivy League with a 3.7 GPA. Though, the lower your grade, the less your chances of getting into an Ivy League, but with a strong personal statement and a properly packaged application, you can get in with a grade even less than 3.7 GPA.


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