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What college was like the year you were born

  • 1951: For-profit colleges exploit G.I. Bill

    - Total enrollment: 2.1 million (66.2% male; 33.8% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 1.0 million (49.4% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 1.1 million (50.6% of total)

    A 1951 investigation by the Government Accounting Office found evidence of widespread malfeasance among for-profit institutions of higher education that accepted funding for students through the G.I. Bill. The report noted that 65% of participating schools had questionable practices such as “overstating costs, inflating enrollment figures, and recruiting students who had little chance of graduating,” per William Beaver of the American Association of University Professors.

  • 1952: NCAA regulates TV coverage of college football

    - Total enrollment: 2.1 million (64.7% male; 35.3% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 1.1 million (51.6% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 1.0 million (48.4% of total)

    The National Collegiate Athletic Association implemented regulations on television broadcasts of college football games in 1952. The move was an effort to maintain attendance of the live events at stadiums.

  • 1953: President Eisenhower praises Dartmouth’s natural beauty

    - Total enrollment: 2.2 million (63.8% male; 36.2% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 1.2 million (53.2% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 1.0 million (46.8% of total)

    On a visit to Dartmouth in 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared, “This is what a college should look like.” The famous statement reflected how Americans felt about the ideal college experience at the time—a sentiment that still resonates at bucolic campuses across the country today.

  • 1954: Ivy League becomes official

    - Total enrollment: 2.4 million (63.9% male; 36.1% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 1.4 million (55.3% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 1.1 million (44.7% of total)

    The Ivy League became official when eight university presidents created an athletic agreement in 1954. Participating universities included Cornell, Brown, Harvard, Columbia, Yale, Dartmouth, Princeton, and the University of Pennsylvania.

  • 1955: Student athlete enters the lexicon

    - Total enrollment: 2.7 million (65.3% male; 34.7% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 1.5 million (55.6% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 1.2 million (44.4% of total)

    The term “student athlete” entered the mainstream lexicon in 1955 after Ray Dennison, a football player at Fort Lewis A&M, suffered a fatal head injury at the beginning of a game against Trinidad Junior College, according to The Daily Tar Heel. His wife was denied workers’ compensation benefits because Dennison was not considered an employee but rather a “student athlete.” The NCAA has since used the term to make a distinction between players and employees.

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  • 1956: Indiana University establishes first coed dorm

    - Total enrollment: 2.9 million (65.5% male; 34.5% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 1.7 million (56.8% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 1.3 million (43.2% of total)

    Indiana University allowed male and female students to reside together at Teter Quadrangle in 1956. The residence hall is believed to be the first coed college dorm in the country, per Rogers Worthington of the Chicago Tribune.

  • 1957: Journal publishes first study on sexual assault at college

    - Total enrollment: 3.3 million (65.3% male; 34.7% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 2.0 million (59.4% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 1.4 million (40.6% of total)

    The American Sociological Review published one of the first studies focused on sexual assault on college campuses in February 1957. “Male Sex Aggression on University Campus” looked at how “men used secrecy and stigma to pressure and exploit” female students, according to Anya Kamenetz of NPR.

  • 1958: Eisenhower signs National Defense Education Act

    President Dwight D. Eisenhower enacted the National Defense Education Act in 1958. It would provide federal assistance to engineering students and foreign-language scholars, as well as new loans for growing numbers of people pursuing higher education.

  • 1959: ACT competes with the SAT

    - Total enrollment: 3.6 million (64.1% male; 35.9% female)
    --- Total public enrollment: 2.2 million (59.9% of total)
    --- Total private enrollment: 1.5 million (40.1% of total)

    Prospective college students had their choice of standardized tests to use on their applications in 1995, when the ACT test was first offered. It was created as a competitor to the SAT.

  • 1960: Kennedy proposes Peace Corps at University of Michigan

    While campaigning for president at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1960, John F. Kennedy made a speech that would be considered the founding moment of the Peace Corps. He encouraged college students to get involved in public service. The Peace Corps now works closely with universities to recruit volunteers to serve while pursuing higher education.

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