Is Columbia University Ivy League?

There are only 8 Ivy League schools out of the thousands of universities in the United States — and Columbia University is one of them.
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Published on December 19, 2023
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  • Columbia University is one of the eight Ivy League schools in the U.S. and the only Ivy in NYC.
  • Columbia is highly competitive, admitting only 4% of applicants in 2023.
  • The university was first established before America's independence and was originally chartered by King George II.
  • Columbia graduates have gone on to become world-renowned political leaders, scientists, and artists.

Some of the most coveted universities in the world are the Ivy League schools located in the Northeastern region of the United States.

These schools are known as leading research institutions with world-class faculty and an impressive list of notable alumni — including former presidents, Nobel prize winners, and award-winning actors.

Being an Ivy League school carries considerable distinction. Only eight universities are members of the Ivy League. Among them is Columbia University located in New York City.

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History of Columbia in the Ivy League

Columbia University was first established in 1754, before the founding of the United States. Formerly an all-male university called King's College, the academic institution was first established by a royal charter issued by England's King George II.

Instruction at Columbia was suspended during the American Revolution and didn't reopen until 1784. Given the nation's new found independence from King George II, the university dropped the name of “King's College” and chose Columbia University as its new name.

Columbia University had two homes before its current location in the iconic neighborhood of Morningside Heights. Originally, its campus was located in the now-financial district of lower Manhattan. In 1857, the college relocated to midtown Manhattan, where it remained for the next 50 years until it found its current home on the Upper West Side.

The Ivy League originated as an athletic conference in 1954, with Columbia University as one of its founding members.

School Profile: Five Facts About Columbia University

  1. 1

    High retention and graduation rates

    Columbia boasts an impressive 98% retention rate among full-time students and an overall graduation rate of 95%.

  2. 2

    Columbia is the 5th oldest university in the U.S.

    The founding of the university predates the Revolutionary War. Columbia was originally known as King's College (after King George II).

  3. 3

    Guaranteed undergraduate housing

    About 90% of Columbia students live on campus. With over 30 resident halls, undergraduate students can live on campus all four years.

  4. 4

    Columbia had a presidential president

    Before becoming President of the United States in 1953, Dwight D. Eisenhower served as Columbia University's 13th President.

  5. 5

    MGM Studios' iconic lion was inspired by Columbia's mascot

    But the connections to the movie industry don't stop there. Columbia is also home to Havemeyer 309, the lecture hall most frequently used by Hollywood movies, including Mona Lisa Smiles, Spiderman, and Ghostbusters.

The Only Ivy in New York City

While all eight Ivy League schools are located in the Northeast, Columbia is the only one in a major metropolitan city.

Being in New York City provides a unique appeal. Its NYC location sets Columbia apart by providing students with cultural and extracurricular opportunities unavailable at other Ivies.

Cornell University, another one of the eight Ivies, is also located in New York State, but it is about four hours northwest of New York City.

Columbia University Acceptance Rate

Ivy League colleges are undoubtedly some of the most difficult schools to get into. This is due to the combination of a large number of applicants and low admission rates.

That's not to say that Ivy League schools are the hardest to get into. There are many prestigious schools with low admission rates that aren't a part of the Ivy League — think MIT and Stanford. But Ivies have historically kept their admissions rates lower than average.

Each fall, the Ivies admit less than 10% of their total applicants. For the 2022-2023 academic year, applicant admission rates among the Ivies were between 3 and 7%, with Harvard admitting the lowest percentage of applicants, at just 3%. That same year, Columbia admitted 4% of its applicants.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Ivy League

How many Ivy League schools are there?

There are a total of eight Ivy League schools. They are all considered some of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the nation. In addition to Columbia University, the Ivy League schools are Princeton, Harvard, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Brown and Cornell.

Which is the easiest Ivy to get into?

While none of the Ivy's are easy to get into, Cornell University had the highest acceptance rate amongst all the Ivy schools in 2022, with 7% of students admitted.

How much is Columbia University tuition?

Columbia's tuition for the 2022-2023 academic year was $66,139. Additional fees associated with attending college, including books and supplies and room and board, were estimated to be an additional $4,000-$20,000 per year, depending on each student's circumstances.

What is Columbia University known for?

Beyond its location in New York City and being known as one of the oldest universities in the United States, Columbia is renowned for the caliber of faculty, scholars, and researchers it attracts and retains.

It is also known for its high-profile alumni and being home to some famous awards, such as the Pulitzer Prize.

Does Columbia University have notable alumni?

Columbia's notable alumni span a wide range of time and industries. They include former presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Barack Obama, singers Art Garfunkel and Alicia Keys, actors Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal and Julia Stiles, and even founding father Alexander Hamilton (when Columbia University was still known as King's College). is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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