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Top 10 oldest universities in the United States

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Top 10 oldest universities in the United States

 

While higher education often follows secondary education, the concept of university is surprisingly young. The first institution arose in the 17th century, catering specifically to students pursuing religious vocations. Over time, however, the scope of these institutions broadened considerably. This list explores the Top 10 oldest universities in the United States.

Harvard University

Founded in 1636, Harvard stands as the first official college in the U.S., boasting both prestige and popularity. John Havard’s generous gift of money and books cemented its early legacy.

The College of William & Mary

Home to America’s second-oldest college, Williamsburg, Virginia holds a treasure trove of history within its walls. Founded in 1693, the college proudly traces its lineage back to even earlier plans laid in 1618.

St. John’s College

Steeped in history, St. John’s College traces its roots back to 1696, when it first opened its doors as a prep school in Annapolis, Maryland. A century later, it embarked on a new chapter as a full-fledged college.

Yale University

Nestled in the charming New England town of New Haven, Connecticut, Yale University stands as a beacon of academic excellence, its impressive lineage stretching back to 1701. As one of the oldest and most selective universities in the United States, Yale has attracted brilliant minds and pioneering spirits for centuries, shaping countless leaders and innovators across diverse fields.

University of Pennsylvania

In the heart of colonial America, a young university dreamt of providing education to all. Founded in 1740 as a charity school by a passionate evangelist, the fledgling institution faced a stark reality: empty coffers. Yet, a decade later, a guiding hand reached out. Benjamin Franklin, a champion of knowledge and progress, stepped in, securing funding and transforming the school into the Academy and Charitable School in the Province of Pennsylvania. This pivotal moment marked the beginning of a remarkable ascent, laying the foundation for the university’s future as a cornerstone of American education.

Moravian College

Imagine a 16-year-old girl, Benigna von Zinzendorf, with a dream as vast as the American colonies themselves. In 1742, her vision bloomed into reality – the first boarding school for young women in the colonies, nestled in the charming town of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. This wasn’t just any school; it was Moravian College, a pioneer in female education.

But Benigna’s ambition didn’t stop there. The same year, she founded a separate school for boys, fueled by the belief that knowledge should be accessible to all. Several years later, she took a revolutionary step, merging the two schools into one, creating a truly inclusive institution.

University of Delaware

In the idyllic countryside of New London, Pennsylvania, a seed of education was planted in 1743. Reverend Dr. Francis Alison, captivated by a petition calling for an educated clergy, embarked on a remarkable journey. He founded a school dedicated to nurturing minds and fostering faith, laying the foundation for what would become the University of Delaware.

Alison’s school resonated with the community, attracting bright minds eager to delve into the realms of knowledge. Students learned not just Latin and Greek, but also the values of critical thinking, leadership, and service. This focus on both academic rigor and character development resonated deeply, propelling the school’s influence and growth.

By 1765, the vibrant intellectual buzz of Alison’s school echoed beyond the borders of New London. To accommodate its thriving student body and ambitious vision, the institution relocated to Newark, Delaware. It was a pivotal moment, marking the birth of Newark College, the predecessor to the esteemed University of Delaware we know today.

Princeton University

Princeton University, another beacon of academic excellence in the U.S., boasts a history deeply entwined with the birth of our nation. Established in 1746 as the College of New Jersey, it predates even the Declaration of Independence!

Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University isn’t just a place of learning; it’s a living, breathing testament to American history. Its roots stretch back to 1749, making it one of the nation’s oldest universities and a cherished landmark in Lexington, Virginia.

Columbia University

Imagine stepping back in time to 1754, to a bustling New York City under British rule. This was the year a crown jewel was placed in the city’s cultural landscape: King’s College.

King’s College was more than just a place of learning – it was a symbol of British authority and ambition. Its halls echoed with Latin lessons and discussions on Enlightenment principles, shaping the minds of future leaders like Alexander Hamilton and John Jay.

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Why People Are Leaving Ireland World’s Richest Country

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Why People Are Leaving Ireland World's Richest Country

In recent years, Ireland, once one of the poorest countries in Europe, has surpassed wealthy nations like the USA, UK, Kuwait, and even Qatar in terms of wealth. However, it’s curious to note that despite its riches, about 70% of its population no longer desires to live there. To understand why the urban population of one of the world’s richest countries is reluctant to reside there, we must first explore how Ireland became so affluent.

Merely 150 years ago, during the catastrophic Irish Potato Famine, also known as the Great Hunger, which spanned from 1845 to 1852, Ireland was in dire straits. The famine claimed the lives of approximately 1 million people and decimated about 11% of the population. This disaster was so severe that to this day, Ireland’s population has not fully recovered, making it the only country in Europe, and indeed the world, whose current population is less than it was in 1840.

Ireland gained independence from British control in 1922, but it wasn’t until it joined the European Economic Community in 1973 that it saw a real opportunity to amend its fortunes. This membership meant that Ireland could trade freely within the member states while being subject to only one tax jurisdiction. Seizing this advantage, Ireland announced favorable conditions for businesses establishing operations within Europe, which spurred significant economic activity and growth. The country’s economy began growing at a pace comparable to that of Singapore and South Korea and was soon dubbed the “Celtic Tiger.” Despite the global financial crisis of 2008, Ireland responded by eliminating certain tax rates, which further attracted high levels of foreign direct investment, transforming it into the “Silicon Valley of Europe.”

Read More: 5 Tips To Creating An Successful Savings Plan

However, today, a vast majority of young Irish people between the ages of 18 and 24 wish to leave Ireland permanently. There are several reasons for this dissatisfaction. First, the reality of Ireland’s wealth does not match its GDP figures. While Ireland boasts one of the highest GDP per capita ratings globally, other statistics reveal a different story. For example, the average annual salary in Ireland is lower than that in all Scandinavian countries and is on par with nations like Belgium and Austria, whose GDPs are significantly lower than Ireland’s. Additionally, the household disposable income statistics place Ireland at a mere 177th globally, indicating a substantial disparity between the perceived economic success and the standard of living experienced by its citizens.

A second significant issue is the housing crisis. Like Canada and Australia, Ireland is experiencing a severe shortage of affordable housing due to unfavorable policies for real estate developers. This shortage has driven housing prices sky-high, and in cities like Dublin, long lines of people waiting to view rental properties are a common sight.

Lastly, the healthcare system in Ireland is overwhelmed. Many Irish doctors move abroad in search of better salaries, leaving those who remain to face excessive workloads. This results in long waiting lists for patients.

Overall, Ireland’s apparent economic success heavily depends on an artificially inflated GDP figure. If Ireland reverts from its zero-taxation policy, it may lose its unique advantage, prompting many foreign companies to relocate back to their home countries. This would severely expose Ireland’s economic progress as unsustainable. For long-term success, it is crucial for Ireland to strengthen its domestic industries rather than relying solely on foreign investment, as economic figures may improve but not the ground-level progress.

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Biden’s plan to forgive student loan

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Biden's plan to forgive student loan

The Biden administration is expanding its efforts to cancel student debt. Recently, the White House revealed that an additional 277,000 borrowers will have their student loans erased, totaling approximately $7.4 billion in forgiven debt. These borrowers qualify for relief because they participated in one of the administration’s loan repayment or forgiveness initiatives, which were established or revised alongside the original broad loan cancellation proposal.

This announcement follows President Biden’s recent unveiling of more details regarding Plan B for student loan forgiveness, nearly a year after the Supreme Court, led by a conservative majority, invalidated their initial attempt.

Although Plan B is narrower in scope compared to the initial proposal, which aimed to forgive up to $10,000 in debt for most borrowers, it remains ambitious. Plan B utilizes a different legal basis from the one employed in 2022, builds upon existing programs that have not encountered significant legal opposition, and is more precisely targeted. These adjustments are aimed at avoiding the legal challenges that the first loan forgiveness plan encountered in the Supreme Court.

The Biden administration may encounter opposition from Republicans and conservative critics, who could seek to challenge the plan through the federal court system once again. It remains uncertain whether voters, particularly younger demographics, will perceive Biden’s efforts positively, given that the plan primarily benefits borrowers who have carried debt for an extended period, such as millennials and Gen X-ers.

In conjunction with other loan forgiveness initiatives implemented during President Joe Biden’s tenure, Plan B is expected to alleviate debt for over 30 million Americans, as stated by the White House. Under this new proposal, over 4 million individuals would have their entire debt forgiven, while an additional 10 million would receive at least $5,000 in relief. Furthermore, 23 million borrowers would have their accrued interest wiped away, which represents the additional debt accumulated on top of the principal amount.

However, any relief is likely several months away. The plan announced on Monday is the outcome of a regulatory process initiated a month after the Supreme Court invalidated the initial plan. It still necessitates a public comment period before implementation, meaning that the earliest commencement of debt relief would likely be in the fall.

Who would benefit from Biden’s planned student loan forgiveness?

This plan would cater to five categories of borrowers, with most not needing to complete an application process; instead, the Education Department would utilize existing data to implement forgiveness once the plans are finalized.

1. Borrowers who currently owe more than their original loan amount would have up to $20,000 of interest erased, irrespective of their income. They would still be responsible for repaying the initial loan amount.

2. Individuals earning less than $120,000 annually, or couples earning less than $240,000 annually, would be eligible for full forgiveness of their interest.

3. Borrowers who have been carrying loan debt for at least 20 years would qualify for complete forgiveness. This applies to those who commenced repayment of undergraduate debt 20 years ago or more, and for graduate school debt, 25 years ago or more.

This plan also targets individuals who took out loans for academic programs classified as “low-value” by the federal government. These borrowers attended institutions or programs deemed to have low financial worth, defined by the White House as those losing eligibility for federal student aid participation, engaging in student deception, or leaving graduates with earnings after school no better than high school diploma holders.

Additionally, those eligible for existing loan forgiveness programs but not currently enrolled would be automatically included under this plan. This provision aims to enroll borrowers qualified for forgiveness through revamped income-driven or public service forgiveness programs.

Furthermore, individuals facing financial hardships, including medical debt or expensive childcare costs, who do not qualify for other forgiveness or repayment programs would be considered. This category encompasses borrowers at risk of default.

What distinguishes this approach to student loans is its focus on accrued interest, referred to as “runaway interest” by both the White House and the Department of Education. Similar to all loans, student loan debt comprises a principal amount (the initially borrowed sum) and interest. When the interest costs surpass the payments made, the interest is appended to the loan balance, resulting in a continually escalating owed amount over time, even with regular payments.

This accumulated interest often merges with the principal, amplifying future interest charges. The White House has already initiated alterations to the capitalization of interest—its addition to the principal balance, further generating interest—and this plan expands upon those regulatory adjustments by wholly forgiving interest.

On Monday, Biden and his administration are promoting this new plan in crucial cities, including swing states. The president is currently in Madison, Wisconsin, while Vice President Kamala Harris is en route to Philadelphia. Meanwhile, her husband is traveling to Phoenix, and Miguel Cardona, the Secretary of Education, is meeting with borrowers in New York City.

More: Employee Layoffs at University of Texas Due to State DEI Ban

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Employee Layoffs at University of Texas Due to State DEI Ban

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Employee Layoffs at University of Texas Due to State DEI Ban

 

The University of Texas at Austin initiated extensive staff layoffs shortly after a statewide prohibition on diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in public colleges was implemented. As per a report, the university terminated numerous employees involved in their DEI programs to adhere to the new state legislation.

On Tuesday, April 2, 2024, University of Texas President Jay Hartzell declared that the institution will disband the Division of Campus and Community Engagement and reassign programs and funding to alternative divisions.

This decision arises as the university endeavors to adhere to a recent Texas statute enacted on January 1. Senate Bill 17 effectively dissolved DEI entities at public colleges and universities across the state. An insider informed the Austin American-Statesman that the university eradicated 60 positions associated with DEI endeavors.

The legislation requires all governing boards of public colleges and universities to ensure that their institutions forbid the establishment and operation of a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) office and the issuance of “DEI Statements.” Additionally, hiring practices and training are no longer permitted to utilize DEI statements.

Regarding the new law, Hartzell remarked, “I acknowledge that SB 17 has evoked strong emotions from the outset and will influence the perceptions of many Longhorns about these measures.” He further stated, “It is crucial that our community remains inclusive and supportive to all.”

This decision marks another escalation in the increasing attacks on programs benefiting marginalized groups within higher education. In conservative states like Texas and Florida, anti-DEI legislation has previously led to the closure of safe spaces for LGBTQ students in the past year.

However, concerns arose that professors and students might relocate to more liberal states as a result. The University of Texas has not officially disclosed the number of staff positions and employees facing layoffs. Nevertheless, sources indicated that at least 60 individuals were let go on Tuesday afternoon. Among them, 40 belonged to the Division of Campus and Community Engagement.

The University of Texas, however, has not responded to these assertions. In his communication, Hartzell assured that student-facing roles would remain intact for the remainder of the semester. He also mentioned that dismissed employees would have the opportunity to apply for other positions within the university.

These terminations followed state Sen. Brandon Creighton, a Republican, outlining the anticipated compliance expectations for universities. Creighton conveyed the gravity of the legislation in a letter, emphasizing that the measure “mandates a fundamental shift in the operation of our higher education institutions.”

Additionally, he emphasized the importance of fostering a “merit-based environment” within universities. Moreover, the Senator elaborated that the Texas Senate Committee on Education will convene a hearing in May. This hearing will scrutinize higher education institutions’ chancellors and “general counselors” to demonstrate their compliance with the law.

Creighton cautioned that failure to adhere to the state law could result in funding cuts for the universities. Apart from the layoffs, the law also had repercussions on cultural graduation ceremonies, sparking outrage among certain students. The closure of the university’s Multicultural Engagement Center (MEC) in compliance with the state law affected cultural graduations. This impact was observed in ceremonies such as Black Graduation, Latinx Graduation, and GraduAsian ceremonies. Similar to the University of Texas, the University of Florida terminated all its DEI employees to comply with state regulations.

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