The U.S. Educational System

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The U.S. Educational System

The U.S. Educational System

One of the most attractive features of the U.S. higher education system is the flexibility it provides through the number and diversity of institution types it encompasses.

This diversity offers students options to specialize in a variety of academic disciplines and even gain employment training.

More than 4,500 accredited institutions make up U.S. higher education in the United States. Unlike many countries, U.S. higher education institutions are not centrally organized or managed, but are accredited on a national or regional level by independent accrediting bodies.

A variety of institution types offer higher-education degrees. Liberal arts institutions, for example, offer courses in the arts, humanities, languages, and social and physical sciences. The majority of liberal arts institutions are private. Private colleges and universities are funded by a combination of endowments, gifts from alumni, research grants, and tuition fees. Private colleges and universities are usually smaller than public institutions and can have a religious affiliation or be single-sex schools.

Community colleges are another option and provide two-year associate degree programs to prepare students to continue studies for an undergraduate degree or help them gain occupational skills for immediate employment. State colleges and universities, also called “public universities,” were founded and subsidized by U.S. state governments to provide a low-cost education to residents of that state. Public universities generally offer access to research opportunities and classes in a wide variety of fields of study. These universities tend to be very large and generally admit a wider range of students than private universities. Each student’s interests will guide his/her choice among the many possibilities.

 

The United States U.S. Educational System

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