I am not even close to an Oxford authority, but the institution’s history is worth sharing. As some of you may know, Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. According to their “About” website, there is no formal foundation date but teaching, in some form, has existed at Oxford since 1096. To put that date into context…1096 was the year of the First Crusade. Those in higher education will find this fascinating-40% of Oxford’s total income comes from external research funding and only 22% comes from student fees. In terms of endowment, or finances that have been inherited or bequeathed to Oxford, the total amount (from all Oxford colleges…more on that in a moment) is over 4.5 billion (with a “b”).
Currently Oxford consists of 38 “colleges”. Here’s how it works (according to Oxford…so, obviously, they would know).
The collegiate system is at the heart of the University’s success, giving students an academics the benefits of belonging to both a large, internationally renowned institution and to a smaller, multidisciplinary, academic college community. Colleges and halls enable leading academics and students across subjects and year groups, and from different cultures and countries, to come together and share ideas.
These colleges make up the “University” system. In 2017, Oxford had almost 12,000 undergraduate students and almost 12,000 graduate students. They also had another 541 visiting scholars. Total student population in 2017: 23, 975. Does this number seem low? High? No matter what end of the spectrum you are on-I had similar thoughts.
All told, Oxford is an impressive, to say the least, academic institution. While U.S. colleges and universities continue to strive for “cutting edge” instruction, most Oxford colleges remain tied to “archaic” methods, like lecture…yet, it works.
Photo courtesy of "Time"