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EDUCATION REPORT - February 13, 2003: Foreign Student Series #22 >Harvard University - 2003-02-13

This is the VOA Special English Education Report.

We continue our series of reports about how foreign students can study at an American college or university. Today, we tell about the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States, Harvard University.

Harvard University began in sixteen-thirty-six in Cambridge, Massachusetts, near Boston. The area was an English colony settled mainly by Puritans who did not agree with the Anglican Church in England. The university was named after a Puritan religious leader, John Harvard. He gave the college four-hundred books when he died.

Today, Harvard has more than ninety libraries containing more than twelve-million books. The university includes Harvard College, Radcliffe College, and ten graduate schools. Its medical college, law school and business school are among the best in the country. It also offers graduate programs in government, education, religion and science.

Many years ago, Harvard students were all white men. Most of them were from rich families from northeastern states. That has changed. This year, about thirty-three percent of the first-year students at Harvard are from minority groups. These include African Americans, Asian Americans and Hispanic Americans. Almost fifty percent of first-year students are women.

Today, most Harvard students are not rich, although it is very costly to study there. It costs more than thirty-five-thousand dollars for one year for tuition, room, food and personal expenses. Most of the students at Harvard have loans, financial aid or jobs that help pay for their education.

Many experts consider Harvard to be the best university in the United States. It is very difficult to be accepted to study there. More than nineteen-thousand high school students applied to attend Harvard as undergraduates last year. About one-thousand-six-hundred of them began studying there in September.

More than nineteen-thousand undergraduate and graduate students are studying at Harvard this year. More than three-thousand are from outside the United States. Most of the foreign students are from Asia or Europe. Most are studying for graduate degrees. The Harvard International Office helps meet the needs of foreign students.

To find out more about Harvard, you can go to the university’s Internet Web site. The address is w-w-w dot h-a-r-v-a-r-d dot e-d-u. (

This V-O-A Special English Education Report was written by Nancy Steinbach.