Universities in Puerto Rico

Universities in Puerto Rico by City:

BayamónMayaguezPonceSan Juan

About universities in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico, one of the larger islands in the Caribbean and a U.S. territory with an independent government, has an excellent education system, including its offerings in higher education. The country’s high literacy rate (94%) and the fact that one in five Puerto Ricans have college degrees or higher are a testament to the ability of the Puerto Rican higher education system to serve the needs of the population. It also reflects Puerto Rican culture, which places a high value on getting a good education. Throughout their history, the people of Puerto Rico have seen education as one of the best ways to solve social, political, and economic problems; as a result, higher education has been a priority for government spending and has seen a dramatic and steady rise since independence in 1952.
Today, the country has more than 50 institutions of higher learning, of which by far the largest is the University of Puerto Rico. University of Puerto Rico has several campuses around the island, and its services are provided at low tuition rates so that poor families have an opportunity to send their children to college. Unlike many of the private universities in Puerto Rico, which have historically catered to the needs and financial means of political and economic elites, the University of Puerto Rico adopted an “education for all” attitude that has made it popular among working-class students.
The government of Puerto Rico has a dedicated agency, the Council on Higher Education of Puerto Rico or CHE-PR, which oversees all matters pertaining to public post-secondary education. The duties of CHE-PR are broad, and include accreditation, reviewing and evaluating the performance of institutions and students, regulating curricular standards for accredited degrees, overseeing financial aid, and establishing educational policy with regard to colleges and universities.
Recently, in Spring of 2010, higher education was a front-page issue in Puerto Rico, as a wave of strikes went around the country to protest a proposed raise in tuition at the University of Puerto Rico. At the time, fiscal constraints on the government had led political leaders to propose tuition increases, cost-saving measures, and other actions to save money at the expense of the University. The protestors, who were mostly workers and students, pointed out that social elites who could afford other schools had always had the option of going to one of Puerto Rico’s expensive private colleges or going all the way to the United States, where many of the world’s best universities could be found. The pressure applied by protesters was effective in that the measures have been stalled, but it is unclear what the long-term effects of this political controversy will be for Puerto Rico’s native system of higher education.

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