There are some academic institutions and universities that are highly regarded and lauded, and none of them more so than the Ivy League colleges. Ivy League colleges are among the oldest and most prestigious universities in both the United States and around the globe, and they are certainly the wealthiest, with endowments in the billions of dollars. Here is a short overview of the Ivy League colleges.
There are officially eight Ivy League colleges, and the name literally comes from a conference or “league” that the universities are in for athletic competition. These eight Ivy League colleges are Harvard, which is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts (which is near Boston), Yale, in New Haven, Connecticut, Brown, in Providence, Rhode Island, Columbia, in New York City, Princeton, in Princeton, New Jersey (which is centrally located in New Jersey) University of Pennsylvania in Phildelphia, Cornell, in upstate New York, in the city of Utica, and Dartmouth, which is in New Hampshire. These colleges all date back to before 1865, and some of them actually were founded before the United States of America was even a country. Harvard is in fact the oldest university in the country, dating back to 1636.
Ivy League colleges, though they are consistently ranked as the top educational institutions in the world, also carry with them a certain social elitism. Ivy League has become synonymous with rich, snobbish, privileged, exclusive, and in some cases, cronyism. It harkens a sense of the “old boys club”, a WASP-y collection of elites. This stereotype still permeates today, though more and more diversity appears in the student body.
Ivy League colleges also own enormous sums of money in endowment funds. As one might expect, these institutions, which have a fervent and loyal alumni base that have often gone on, through either ability and talent, or connections and “who you know” favoritism, to make many fortunes. They often donate it back to the school where it started for many, and in that case, billions of dollars are now in these schools’ endowment funds. Harvard in particular has a whopping sum of twenty-eight billion dollars, certainly enough to cover tuition costs for their students for decades.
Ivy League schools still provide elite educations but the real value is in the worth and prestige of the degree. Ivy League colleges still can connect you to the financial, cultural and business elite in the country, but the value of the education can actually be found in numerous other private schools, and even some public and state universities.