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United States, Higher Education in

Higher education in the United States includes a number of types of postsecondary institutions, including community colleges (usually 2-year programs leading to the associate degree), colleges (usually 4-year programs leading to the bachelor’s degree and sometimes master’s degrees), and universities (usually offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees). These include both private and public nonprofit institutions and private for-profit institutions.

The history of U.S. education has included differing ideas about the purposes of education. From Thomas Jefferson’s founding of the University of Virginia in 1819 based on his philosophy of the general diffusion of knowledge through education, through the Morrill Act of 1862 to found public land-grant colleges and universities, to John Dewey’s argument in the early 20th century that education needed to be democratic, to the ...

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