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Notes on History of Higher Ed

I’m taking a course in History of Higher Education in the US. So far, we’ve read about Higher Ed from the foundation of the Colonial Colleges (beginning with Harvard in 1636) to the end of the 19th century. Some things that stand out:

  1. Most colleges in that period, even state colleges, started as religious institutions. Their main purpose was to educate clergymen and political leaders.
  2. The US had an inordinate amount of colleges and university per capita, when compared to European countries.
  3. Until late in the 19th century, college was free to the students. The state, private donations, community/congregational support, and the faculty (yes! The faculty!) financed the schools.
  4. As I wrote previously, for a time higher education wasn’t considered a noble or practical pursuit.
  5. Other than students seeking professional degrees (i.e. doctors and lawyers), students took the same curriculum: the classics (Greek, Latin, philosophy, etc.) Not very practical for an expanding country was it? That could explain #3 and #4, right?

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