The three students were reported missing Friday night when they didn't meet a group of fellow graduate students for a weekend gathering in Big Sur, according to the university.
Monterey County search-and-rescue crews found their car below Highway 1, north of Big Sur, Saturday morning, the university reported.
Stanford University officials identified the victims as Viet Nguyen, 28, of Raleigh, N.C., Chris Sahm, 29, of Long Island, N.Y., and Micah Springer, 23, of Columbus, Ohio.
The three men were students in the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
"This is a tragic loss for the Stanford community of three brilliant and promising students who had so much to contribute to the world, and lost their lives too suddenly and too soon," university President John Hennessy said in a prepared statement.
"To the families, friends and graduate business colleagues of Viet, Chris, and Micah, and all those who are also grieving at this shocking news, we send our deepest sympathies from the entire university community," he said.
The California Highway Patrol reported being notified around 11 a.m. Saturday morning of three "overdue college students" who had last been seen traveling toward Big Sur.
About an hour later, the CHP located three victims in a Jeep Cherokee several hundred feet down from the highway.
According to the CHP, the vehicle had been traveling south on state Highway 1 toward Big Sur around 7:45 p.m. Friday when the driver lost control near Hurricane Point, landing near the edge of the Pacific Ocean.