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10 Amusing Facts You Did Not Know About Higher Education

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Higher education is an integral part of the U.S. education system, which is essential to the nation’s economic prosperity and social well-being. The formation of the U.S. higher education system can be traced back to the colonial times when the first educated European settlers came to America.

Today we are going to look closer at some higher education-related facts you might not know.

1. While many of us think that Harvard was the first American college founded in 1638, it is not exactly true, for at that time the colonists who founded it were officially British subjects and it was in fact a British college located in America. Besides, under the auspices of Charles V of Spain the National University of Mexico was established in 1551, which is believed to be the very first institution of higher education in North America.

2. The first colleges in America were opened to serve the needs of clergymen and ministers; and the number of majors was pretty limited at that time. Harvard was the first such institution focused on religious training; however Yale soon became its arch-rival founded by colonists who disapproved of Harvard’s theology teaching.

3. The first person who offered to add new subjects to the curriculum was Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He advocated the importance of shifting towards liberal arts education, and teaching students practical skills that would help them to earn their living.

4. Another Founding Father and a highly-educated person, Thomas Jefferson believed that education had to be equally accessible for all students. He was the first to suggest that the state was responsible for providing more educational opportunities for talented students whose parents were poor and could not afford to send them to colleges.

5. College students used to be much younger at that time. Since as a rule it took a student much less time to complete their school education, the average age of college freshmen was around 13-14.

6. In the most financially challenging times early U.S. colleges had to accept payments like cattle, wool, wool and food in the absence of hard money.

7. The first three Ph.D.’s in chemistry in the U.S. were earned at Yale in 1861. Until that time there had not been solid graduate education in the country. This was soon followed by Harvard, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania.

8. Oberlin Collegiate Institute in Oberlin, Ohio, was the first American Institution of higher education to accept women and black students and grant them degrees.

9. College admission has never been a fair game. Scandal seems to be incorporated into the very idea of higher education. Universities like Harvard and Princeton introduced their own admission requirements that were designed to make it easier for the sons of reach people to get enrolled. These requirements included letters of personal recommendation, interviews, social class-based selection and, of course, large donations.

10. As for now, only 0.4% of all college students go to the Ivy League schools and about 9% of all students attend top research led universities nationwide.



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