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CollegeA college is an educational institution. However, the exact meaning of the term varies among English-speaking countries.
The definitions of different names vary between the states, each of which operates its own institutions, and licenses private ones. In 1996 for example, Georgia changed all of its four-year colleges to universities, and all of its vocational technology schools to technical colleges. (Previously, only the four research institutions were called universities.) Other states have changed names of individual colleges, many having started as a teachers college or vocational school (such as an A&M agricultural and mechanical school), and ended up as a full-fledged state university.
A college or (school) may also be a semi-autonomous part of a university, such as the College of Engineering at Anywhere State University, as an example. These are not fully autonomous however, as in the U.K. Other names used for full college institutions include "academy" and "institute", as in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology , or United States Military Academy at West Point .
In certain universities in the United Kingdom (Cambridge, Oxford, and Durham), a college comprises both a hall of residence and an independent part of a university. Colleges admit their own students, provide accommodation, meals, common rooms, libraries, sports and social facilities. Through the tutorial system they also teach students. The New Universities of Kent, Lancaster and York have also adopted this "collegiate" system, although their colleges do not enjoy financial independence from their universities.
Officially, the University of London consists of a number of colleges. However, each of these "colleges" is now essentially an independent university-level institution. In the University of Wales, colleges are the lower tier of institutional membership, below constituent institutions, following the reorganisation of the University in 1996. Prior to this, the member institutions were all colleges. There are not currently any colleges in the University of Wales (although some of the constituent institutions have 'college' in their name), but this is likely to change in the future.
The constituent colleges of the former University of New Zealand (such as Canterbury University College) have become independent universities.
Some halls of residence associated with New Zealand universities retain the name of "college" - particularly at the University of Otago. Official tutoring does not figure largely in their activities.
The institutions formerly known as "Teacher-training colleges" now style themselves "College of education".
In Sweden the term "university college" is used for independent educational institutions providing tertiary, but not quaternary education. Similarly to the situation in Germany, the Swedish term högskola means "high school". That term is also used for a number of institutions which function as specialized universities rather than as university colleges, providing quaternary education and conducting research.
In Japan, colleges and universities are collectively called daigaku, from an old Chinese word.
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