Higher Education in a Decade of Decision

Higher Education in a Decade of Decision

Higher Education in a Decade of Decision

Higher Education in a Decade of Decision

Excerpt

The American enterprise in higher education is unique. Born of the long tradition of European and British universities, it has been nurtured by more than three hundred years of native American development. Its functions and forms are educational outcroppings of the bedrock of American culture. Its borrowings, largely from Great Britain and Germany, have been altered profoundly since their trans-Atlantic crossing. American higher education can be described and understood only in terms of the aspirations and values and achievements of the generations which produced it. Its future will be determined by the same forces.

The 1955-1956 Directory of the United States Office of Education lists 1855 colleges and universities. In 1956 more than 540 of these institutions had fewer than 250 students each; at the other end of the scale were 24 institutions enrolling more than 15,000 students each. Some of the institutions are poverty- stricken, others comparatively wealthy. Some are located in metropolitan centers, others in rural settings. In 1956 over $12 billion was invested in their plants, with installations including cyclotrons and college unions, libraries and laboratories, dormitories and classrooms, observatories and weather stations, parking lots and television studios.

This volume deals primarily with such institutions as are recognized by the Office of Education as devoted to higher education. The focus is on institutions beyond the high school which require general and liberal studies as essential to their programs. Many post-high-school institutes and trade schools, not ordinarily called a part of higher education, are now growing in number and importance. Their relationship to higher education will be dealt with in various phases of this report.

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