a group of eight traditional universities in the eastern US with high academic standards and a high social status compare Oxbridge Culturethe Ivy LeagueUS universities and colleges organize themselves into conferences, groups of institutions that are near each other and do certain activities, such as sports, together. The most highly respected of these groups is the Ivy League in the north-eastern US. Its most famous members are Harvard and Yale Universities, whose fierce rivalry (= competition) in various sports is like that between Oxford and Cambridge Universities in Britain. The other members of the Ivy League are Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Brown University, Princeton University, and the University of Pennsylvania. The name Ivy League comes from the ivy (= a climbing plant) that grows on the old buildings of the colleges.Ivy League institutions have a very high academic reputation, and many more people want to attend them than are able to do so. They are very expensive, with high tuition fees, although scholarships are available to help students who cannot pay for themselves. People who are educated in the Ivy League have a good chance of finding a well-paid job, and many political leaders have been to Ivy League universities. Many other colleges and universities in the US offer a high standard of education but none has the status and prestige (= respect) of the Ivy League institutions. See related entries: Higher education institutions Word Originwith reference to the ivy traditionally growing over the walls of these establishments.