Accessibility links

Breaking News

Part 21: Agricultural Schools - 2001-09-10


We continue now with our series of reports for foreign students who want to study in the United States. Today, we have some information about universities that teach agricultural science.


The United States Department of Education says there are more than two-thousand-three-hundred American colleges and universities. About one-hundred of these four-year schools began as public agricultural colleges, and continue to teach agriculture subjects today. They are called land grant colleges or universities. Federal land grants supported the building of most of the major state universities.

The idea of the land grant college was developed more than one-hundred years ago by Congressman James Smith Morrill. In Eighteen-Sixty-Two, he wrote legislation to create such a college in each state.

The name land grant came from the kind of aid provided by the federal government. It gave each state thousands of hectares of land. The money earned by the land was to be used to support the college.

The federal government wanted people in each state to learn better ways to farm. Senator Morrill and others saw a need for universities to teach agriculture science to improve what was then an important national industry. A later law helped agricultural colleges develop new ideas in farm science. It created an agriculture experiment center at each land grant college to help farmers solve problems.

One land-grant school is the Pennsylvania State University. More than three-thousand-six-hundred students from other countries are now attending Penn State. It costs each of them about twenty-five-thousand dollars a year. Officials say it is possible for graduate students to get financial aid by working for the university as a teaching or research assistant.

One-hundred-fifty-six international students are studying this year in the College of Agricultural Sciences. All but three are graduate students. University officials say most international students in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences are from Africa, Asia and Europe. Their major areas of study include animal science, plant science, forestry, economics, and food science.