What is the history of private colleges and universities?

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Higher education in North America began not long after European colonists arrived. In 1636, Harvard College (now called Harvard University) was founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts as a center to train new ministers. Not long afterward, other similar schools such as Yale, Princeton, Rutgers, and the College of William and Mary were founded for similar purposes. While these schools offered a range of studies, they tended to focus on religious and ministerial training until the American Revolution. With the founding of a new country, most universities broadened their courses of study so as to provide an educated elite to run the functions of a new nation. These include schools of law, medicine, engineering, and commerce.

The rise of public universities began in 1862 with the Land-Grant College Act, or Morrill Act. This act gave each state land to be sold for the purpose of funding higher education. These colleges were specifically run with a focus on practical education in agriculture,...

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