land-grant colleges and universities, U.S. institutions benefiting from the provisions of the Morrill Act (1862), which gave to the states federal lands for the establishment of colleges offering programs in agriculture, engineering, and home economics as well as in the traditional academic subjects. Another provision of the Morrill Act called for the establishment of a military training program, now part of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC), at every land-grant college. Although the act itself did not stipulate that the training be compulsory, nearly every state had made it so by the 1920s. After World War II, however, ROTC was generally put on an elective basis. The Hatch Act (1887) expanded the land-grant program by providing federal funds for research and experiment stations; the Smith-Lever Act (1914) granted federal support for extension work in agriculture and home economics (see Cooperative Extension Service). Because of the Morrill Act's stress on the practical arts, the land-grant system has come to include most of the nation's agricultural colleges and a large number of its engineering schools. In 1994, 29 Native American tribal colleges gained land-grant status, bringing the total number of land-grant institutions to 105.
See E. D. Ross, Democracy's College (1942); A. Nevins, The State Universities and Democracy (1962); H. R. Allen, Open Door to Learning (1963).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.