The Ivy League is an athletic conference composed of sports teams from eight private institutions of higher education in the Northeastern United States. The conference name is also commonly used to refer to those eight schools as a group. The eight institutions are Harvard University， Yale University， the University of Pennsylvania， Princeton University， Columbia University， Brown University， Dartmouth College and Cornell University. The term Ivy League also has connotations of academic excellence， selectivity in admissions， and social elitism.
The term became official after the formation of the NCAA Division I athletic conference in 1954. The use of the phrase is no longer limited to athletics， and now represents an educational philosophy inherent to the nation’s oldest schools. Seven of the eight schools were founded during the United States colonial period； the exception is Cornell， which was founded in 1865. Ivy League institutions， therefore， account for seven of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution.
The Ivies are all in the Northeast geographic region of the United States. Each school receives millions of dollars in research grants and other subsidies from federal and state government.
Undergraduate enrollments among the Ivy League schools range from about 4，000 to 14，000， making them larger than those of a typical private liberal arts college and smaller than a typical public state university. Overall enrollments range from approximately 6，100 in the case of Dartmouth to over 20，000 in the case of Columbia， Cornell， Harvard， and Penn.