The East coast universities are some of the best types of colleges in the U.S. Besides a collection of Ivy League programs at any of the East coast colleges, you will find these schools are the most prestigious. From medical science to law or business, these types of programs at East coast universities are some of the best in graduation rates, academics and higher education standards.

Although the Northeast part of the country has the majority of the Ivy League schools, Florida colleges in the Southeast have gained popularity in the Ivy League arena. Many of these universities are well-known not only throughout the United States but all around the world.

Top East Coast Universities

The top East coast universities are:

  • Yale
  • Princeton
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Harvard
  • Dartmouth
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Cornell
  • Columbia 
  • Brown University

Aside from being known for showing the best academic and sports performances, these schools established their prestigious standard as early as the 1600s. One of the first institutions to form a foundation of prestige and academic excellence was Harvard in 1636.

Harvard University is one of the oldest East coast colleges in the country. With more than 12 schools, ten hospitals, clinics, libraries, two theaters, five museums and three athletic centers, Harvard is the center of the Ivy League schools. The student population is about 28,000 students and 10,000 undergraduates.

MIT, founded in 1861, generated 76 Nobel Prize winners. With a total of five schools and 30 programs, MIT offers free college classes through the OpenCourseWare project as part of an online educational outreach program. The student body consists of about 11,000 enrolled students and 4,000 undergraduates.

Coastal Schools in the Northeast

Another prestigious college on the East coast is the University of Pennsylvania. Founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1740, the college has a unique study abroad program in 36 countries. Along with 100 higher education programs, the University of Pennsylvania has four Nobel Prize winners and five Pulitzer recipients. The institution has a student population of approximately 24,000 students and about 11,000 undergraduates.

Established in 1701, Yale University is part of the East coast schools with 240 student organizations and 159 educational programs. The student population at Yale is made up of about 12,000 students and 5,000 undergraduates. These higher education institutions are the best in the country not only for academics and sports excellence, but the graduation rates are above 50 percent.

The schools with high graduation rates above 60 percent are:

  • MIT
  • Harvard
  • Yale 
  • University of Pennsylvania

Recognized as the best East coast colleges, these schools established the familiar term Ivy League colleges.

Ivy League List of Universities

Remarkably, the term Ivy League originated during the National Collegiate Athletic Association or the NCAA athletic conference of Division I in 1954. As expected, the best basketball players made the team and played on the court. So the top colleges like the East coast schools decided that to be part of the best teams, you need to excel in academics and athletics. Hence, the term Ivy League colleges started the movement of academic and sports prestige.

As far back as 1636, when Harvard University established the first prestigious educational program, other colleges began to take part in the movement. Later, Yale, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, Dartmouth, Columbia and Cornell established the foundation of excellence expected from students attending the institutions. This list of universities continues today.

This competition between colleges happened not only in the academics arena but in sports, too. Rivalries continued between sports teams among these East coast schools throughout the late 1900s. Some of the most prestigious programs from Ivy League colleges are the medical and law programs.

Ivy League Colleges in the Southeast

The Northeast is not the only part of the country with Ivy League colleges. Florida has two colleges with Ivy League standards. The University of Florida, founded in 1853, has popular programs in engineering, medical science, law and business. Ranking at number nine in the public school system and 42 as a university of choice, the University of Florida has 16 colleges and 150 research centers.

Another school that is part of the list of universities beyond the Northeast Ivy League predominance is the New College of Florida. Established in 1964, the New College of Florida, as a liberal arts college, offers less traditional approaches to learning. The institution administers specialized learning to individual needs where students must pass a set of contracts conveyed before the grading period begins. The college enrolls less than 900 students and ranks sixth as a public school.

State College Tuition

Unless you attend college with a scholarship or student loan, you always want to seek the best tuition options available. Tuition rates play an important role in determining college enrollment.

  • For instance, tuition rates at Harvard University cost about $45,000 per year for undergraduate programs and approximately $42,000 for graduate programs in addition to $1,000 in fees. 
  • Also, tuition at MIT is roughly $46,000 for undergraduates and graduates per year. A graduate student has an additional $2,000 in fees. 
  • The undergraduate students at the University of Pennsylvania pay about $49,000 per year while graduate students pay about $31,000 per year with an additional $3,000 in fees. 
  • The tuition cost at Yale University is about $47,000 for undergraduates per year and $38,000 for graduate students. 
  • While these East coast schools range in tuition costs, Florida has the lowest tuition rates of about $21,000 per year. 
  • One of the main differences between private institutions and state-funded colleges is in-state and out-of-state rates.

In-State and Out-State Tuition Differences

Of course, students benefit from in-state tuition as residents of the state. What happens when you want to attend colleges outside of your state? Different states require various residency policies and carefully study how you can qualify.

One particular state-to-state program is the Western Undergraduate Exchange. For instance, students who reside in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Utah, Washington and Wyoming receive in-state tuition as a member of the exchange program. However, scrutinize the residency policies and tuition rates as many students apply to this program every year.

Another way to receive in-state tuition as an out-of-state student is through specific alumni programs. If your parents attended certain colleges that you would like to attend, then consider the scholarship options or special in-state rates available. In addition to alumni special tuition rates, specific colleges have in-state tuition rates for residents of individual states. For instance, Georgia Southern University awards special in-state tuition rates to residents of Alabama, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Ivy League Excellence College Choice

East coast colleges include the most prestigious schools in the Northeast part of the country. However, the University of Florida and the New College of Florida take part in the Ivy League movement. Both colleges in the Southeast have distinguished educational programs and graduation rates.

While studying at an Ivy League college indicates academic excellence, many of the students from these schools also excel in sports. Higher education at these institutions comes with high tuition rates. For many students, student loans and scholarships are ways to pay for college. In particular, students prefer in-state tuition as a money-saving option. In many cases, states collaborate with other states to offer special student exchange in-state tuition rates.

Related Articles

About the Author

Barbara earned a B. S. in Biochemistry and Chemistry from the Univ. of Houston and the Univ. of Central Florida, respectively. Besides working as a chemist for the pharmaceutical and water industry, she pursued her degree in secondary science teaching. Barbara now writes and researches educational content for blogs and higher-ed sites.