25 facts about the Ivy League

The following information is provided by Graphiq and StartClass.

by Nick Selbe

Jim Rogash/Getty Images

In today’s climate of college athletics, the term “student-athlete” is often criticized as antiquated. With so much money generated by college sports, many believe the title has its true priorities reversed — collegiate athletes often behave as athletes first, students second.

If there’s any place where amateurism still rings true, though, it’s the Ivy League. The conference made up of some of the nation’s most prestigious schools — Harvard, Princeton and Yale among them — does not award athletic scholarships, instead offering only need-based financial aid. This preserves the universities’ core values — that receiving a first-class education is the main goal of each institution, and fielding competitive teams is secondary.

With this in mind, StartClass has compiled 25 facts about the Ivy League colleges using data from the National Center for Education Statistics for the 2014-15 academic year. Though the numbers don’t tell the full story, they paint a picture of how the league’s schools perform in the classroom and on the field.

#25. 3 Colors-Based Nicknames

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

There are plenty of interesting college mascots out there — the Banana Slugs of UC Santa Cruz and the Poets of Whittier College come to mind — but sometimes, simplicity is key. That’s the case for three Ivy League schools who opted for simple colors as their nicknames: the Harvard Crimson, the Dartmouth Big Green and the Cornell Big Red.

#24. 8 Member Schools

The Ivy League has had eight member schools since its inception. The conference considered adding two schools in 1982, with Army, Navy and Northwestern considered the most likely candidates, but the expansion never materialized.  

#23. 9.1 Percent Acceptance Rate


On average, Ivy League schools accepted 9.1 percent of all applicants for the 2014-15 school year. Five of the conference’s eight schools had acceptance rates under 10 percent, with Harvard, Yale and Columbia all accepting fewer than 7 percent of applicants.

#22. 15 U.S. Presidents

Let’s just say if you attend an Ivy League school, you’re in good company. Of the 44 people who have served as U.S. President, 15 attended an Ivy League school. John Adams (Harvard) was the first to ascend to the Oval Office, and we’re currently on a streak of four straight Ivy League alumni: George H.W. Bush (Yale), Bill Clinton (Yale Law School), George W. Bush (Yale, Harvard Business School) and Barack Obama (Columbia, Harvard Law School).  

#21. 32 Average ACT Score


Three of the eight Ivy League schools have average ACT scores of 33. Only three schools reported higher average scores for 2014-15: the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvey Mudd College and the California Institute of Technology.

#20. 43 Points

In one of the greatest upsets in NCAA Tournament history, the Princeton men’s basketball team knocked off UCLA, the defending national champions, in 1996 by a final score of 43-41. Head coach Bill Carmody utilized the Princeton offense to compensate for the talent discrepancy between the two schools. Princeton lost to Mississippi State, 63-41, in the second round, but the team lives on in March Madness lore.

#19. 44 NBA Players

Though not known for its hardwood glory, the Ivy League has sent 44 players to the NBA over the years. The lone active player is Charlotte Hornets guard Jeremy Lin, who starred at Harvard from 2006 to 2010 and averaged 12.9 points per game for his career.  

#18. 47 NCAA Team Championships

Justin K. Aller Ivy League schools have won 47 NCAA team championships since the conference’s formation. Princeton leads the way with 12, followed by Columbia (10) and Brown (seven).  

#17. 53 Sports Illustrated Covers

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images The Ivy League has been featured on 53 different Sports Illustrated covers, most recently on the Feb. 27, 2012 issue, which marked the second consecutive week Jeremy Lin received the honor. That was during the height of “Linsantiy,” in which Lin took the NBA by storm as a member of the New York Knicks.  

#16. 121 Rhodes Scholars

User:Stannered/Wikimedia Commons There have been 121 Ivy League student-athletes to be named Rhodes Scholars — 97 men and 24 women. It is considered one of the most distinguished scholarships awarded, and honorees are given the chance to study at the University of Oxford.  

#15. 200 NCAA Individual Championships

Hunter Martin/Getty Images In addition to the Ivy League’s 47 team NCAA championships, the conference has won 200 individual NCAA titles. Dartmouth leads the pack with 38, followed by Yale (34), Columbia (27) and Harvard (26).  

#14. 451 Ivy League Championships

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images With 451 conference titles, Princeton can call itself the King of the Ivies. The Tigers have won 15 conference championships in two different academic years: 2000-01 and 2010-11.  

#13. 490 Olympic Medals

Martin Rose/Getty Images Athletes from Ivy League schools have won a combined 490 Olympic medals. In the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, 24 athletes and one coach won a combined six medals — one gold, two silver and three bronze.  

#12. 1636: Harvard’s Founding Year


As the nation’s oldest institution of higher education, Harvard’s founding in 1636 marked a momentous occasion for what would become the United States. The school started intercollegiate athletics on 1852 with a rowing race against Yale, which the Crimson won.

#11. 1869: Year of First College Football Game

Wikimedia Commons

Baseball might be America’s past time, but football long ago surpassed it as America’s passion. The country’s most popular sport originated on Northeast college campuses, and the first official college football game was held on Nov. 6, 1869, between Princeton and Rutgers. Rutgers won that game, 6-4, but lost the rematch a week later.

#10. 1935: Year of First Use of “Ivy League”


Despite not becoming an official conference for nearly another two decades, the term “Ivy League” was first used on Feb. 8, 1935, by Associated Press sports editor Alan Gould.

#9. 1954: Ivy League is Founded

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The first “Ivy Group Agreement” was signed in 1945, but applied only to football. In February 1954, the Ivy Presidents extended the agreement to all sports, with the first year of competition beginning in the 1955-56 school year.

#8. 1974: Ivy League Begins Women’s Sports Championships

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Women were allowed to participate in athletics beginning in December 1971, but it wasn’t until May 1974 that they were given the right to play for league championships. The Harvard women’s crew team claimed the first official women’s Ivy League title.

#7. 2209 Average SAT Score

Unsurprisingly, Ivy League students perform exceptionally well on the SAT. The average score across the eight universities is 2209. Harvard has the highest average score (2265), while Cornell (2130) has the lowest.  

#6. 14,114 Total Freshmen Enrolled


Over 14,000 freshmen enrolled at Ivy League schools for the 2014-15 school year. Cornell (3,225) and Penn (2,425) were the only schools with over 2,000 freshmen enrolled. Dartmouth (1,152) had the lowest freshmen enrollment for this year.

#5. 22,973 Total Admissions

The eight Ivy League universities sent out a combined 22,973 acceptance letters this year, which sounds like a lot until you consider the schools’ combined 9.1 acceptance rate mentioned earlier. Cornell’s 6,105 acceptances were more than double Brown’s (2,661), which was third on the list.  

#4. $46,633 Average Cost of Tuition


No one said a first-class education was cheap. The average cost of tuition for the eight colleges is $46,633. Princeton is the biggest bargain among the group, with a tuition of $41,820, while Columbia ($51,008) is the only school higher than $50,000.

#3. 138,768 Total Students

There are 138,768 total students at Ivy League universities — 52.5 percent are graduate students, while 47.5 percent are undergrads. Harvard has the most total students (28,791), while Dartmouth (6,298) has the fewest.  

#2. 253,466 Total Applicants


With a reputation like the Ivy League’s, it’s no wonder interest among high school students is so high. The eight schools received a combined 253,466 applicants for the 2014-15 school year. Cornell received 43,037 applications alone, the most among all Ivy League schools.

#1. $111.78B Combined Endowment

With eight of the most prestigious, accomplished alumni groups in the world, it’s no wonder Ivy League schools are popular among big-time donors. Six Ivy League colleges ranked among the top 20 in fundraising in 2015, with Harvard receiving over $1 billion. As long as these schools continue to produce successful students, the donation money will continue to come in.

Learn More About Colleges at StartClass

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