Research Paper on Higher Education
Higher education first existed to fulfill a need to train religious leaders. In “1636, the Massachusetts General Court enacted legislation which created Harvard College”. The establishment of state universities began during the 19th century with the University of Virginia in 1819.
By 1862 the federal government passed the Morrill Act which provided land for the establishment of colleges and universities for agriculture and industrial studies. The second Morrill Act was passed in 1890 to provide cash support for the land grant colleges and universities. New colleges and universities continued to be established throughout the 19th century. All levels of education, including higher education, were impacted by World War I and World War II. The Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of 1944, also known as the G.l. Bill, provided funds for veterans to attend college. This led to a period of growth for colleges and universities through the 1970s.
The rapid growth and expansion slowed during the 1980s when the “traditional” college-age student population decreased. During the 1980s and 1990s, nontraditional students began to attend colleges and universities. These populations included returning and working adults, women, and minorities. The community college system began in the early 20th century. During this time the educational system as a whole was being asked to provide more expansive education to the students. Less and less education was being provided by the families.
As the role of education expanded, so did the population. University leaders at this time, such as William Rainy Harper, President of Chicago University, recommended that another level of education provide the first two years of a university degree. If the university did not provide for the basics offered during the first two years, it could concentrate on its mission of conducting research and providing professional training.