Funding Insights

Land Grant Universities in the USA in 2024

Are you interested in exploring the history and significance of land grant universities in the USA? Discover the pioneers, key institutions like Cornell and MIT, and the lasting influence of the Morrill Acts 1862. Dive into the educational landscape shaped by these institutions, providing valuable insights into American agriculture, research, and education.

Land Grant Universities in the USA

In the United States, land-grant universities are a unique category of higher education institutions established through a series of federal laws, starting with the Morrill Act of 1862. These acts granted states public lands or funds they could sell to establish and endow colleges focused on practical agriculture, science, military science, engineering, and traditional liberal arts studies.

What Are Land-Grant Institutions?

Originally, land-grant universities were established with a dual focus, incorporating specialized education in agriculture, military tactics, and mechanical arts alongside a traditional liberal arts curriculum. These institutions aimed to cater to individuals in the agricultural and industrial sectors with limited access to higher education, providing them with a practical and comprehensive educational experience.

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities defines a Land-Grant University (LGU) as a higher education institution that a state or federal legislature designates to receive funding through the Morrill Acts of 1862, 1890, and 1994.

The inaugural Morrill Act, championed by U.S. Sen. Justin Smith Morrill of Vermont, paved the way for establishing the first class of LGUs. Subsequently, states utilized the second Morrill Act to create colleges and universities specifically for Black students, known as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

In line with the USDA, the Equity in Educational Land-Grant Status Act led to the formation of Native American tribal colleges and universities, commonly called “1994 land grants.”

Every state boasts at least one 1862 LGU and certain states have institutions falling under multiple designations, including 1862 LGUs, HBCUs, and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs).

The Hatch Act of 1887 played a pivotal role by providing states with federal funding for agricultural experiment stations that collaborate with the respective land-grant institutions in the state. The allocated funding fluctuates annually, contingent on the number of small farmers in the state, with the state being required to contribute a substantial matching portion of the budget.

What Are 1890 Land-Grant Institutions?

Under the provisions of the second Morrill Act of 1890, there are currently 19 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

The original Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862 laid the foundation for establishing agricultural and mechanical arts colleges. In 1889, the federal government mandated these institutions to integrate to be eligible for federal funding, as outlined by the 1890 Foundation.

According to the Foundation, most states created new agricultural and mechanical arts colleges for this demographic rather than incorporating Black citizens into existing programs.

While states had the option to escape this requirement by maintaining separate institutions and distributing funds in a fair, though not necessarily equal, manner, the Foundation highlights that the 1890 act ultimately contributed to the formation of dedicated land-grant institutions for African Americans.

USDA Programs at 1890 Land-Grant Institutions

The USDA administers various programs to support the historically underfunded Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) established under the 1890 Land-Grant Institution designation. These programs aim to bolster teaching, research, extension, and infrastructure, contributing to the advancement of agricultural and food sciences. Here are some key USDA initiatives:

1. 1890 Institution Teaching, Research, and Extension Capacity Building Grants (CBG) Program:

Purpose: Supports projects advancing fundamental sciences, translational research, and agricultural development.

Funding: The estimated total program funding is $28 million, with awards ranging from $150,000 to $750,000.

2. 1890 Extension Formula:

Purpose: Assists diverse audiences with limited social and economic resources through outreach education.

Focus Areas: Enhancing marketing skills, adopting new technologies, and utilizing estate planning and tax incentives for small to medium family farms.

Budget: The grant program’s budget was $62.4 million in 2022.

3. 1890 Facilities Grant:

Purpose: Provides funding for developing and improving agricultural and food sciences facilities and equipment.

Funding: The estimated total program funding is slightly over $20 million, with individual awards ranging from $750,000 to $1.65 million.

Additionally, the USDA extends scholarships to outstanding students at 1890 institutions, enabling them to pursue bachelor’s degrees in food and agricultural sciences. The Centers of Excellence program is also in place to establish centers that enhance rural prosperity, international training, and development while fostering diversity in science, technology, engineering, agriculture, and mathematics.

Land Grant Universities in the USA

Land-Grant Colleges and Universities with State, District, or Territory Name and List of Institutions


1. Alabama A&M University, Normal

2. Auburn University, Auburn

3. Tuskegee University, Tuskegee


1. Ilisagvik College, Barrow

2. University of Alaska, Fairbanks


1. American Samoa Community College, Pago Pago


1. Diné College, Tsaile

2. University of Arizona, Tucson

3. Tohono O’odham Community College, Sells


1. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

2. University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Pine Bluff


1. D-Q University (Davis vicinity)

2. University of California System-Oakland as Headquarters, Oakland


1. Colorado State University, Fort Collins


1. University of Connecticut, Storrs


1. Delaware State University, Dover

2. University of Delaware, Newark


1. University of the District of Columbia, Washington


1. Florida A&M University, Tallahassee

2. University of Florida, Gainesville


1. Fort Valley State University, Fort Valley

2. University of Georgia, Athens


1. University of Guam, Mangilao


1. University of Hawaii, Honolulu


1. University of Idaho, Moscow


1. University of Illinois, Urbana


1. Purdue University, West Lafayette


1. Iowa State University, Ames


1. Haskell Indian Nations University, Lawrence

2. Kansas State University, Manhattan


1. Kentucky State University, Frankfort

2. University of Kentucky, Lexington


1. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

2. Southern University and A&M College, Baton Rouge


1. University of Maine, Orono


1. University of Maryland, College Park

2. University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne


1. University of Massachusetts, Amherst


1. Bay Mills Community College, Brimley

2. Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College, Baraga

3. Michigan State University, East Lansing

4. Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College, Mount Pleasant


1. College of Micronesia, Kolonia, Pohnpei


1. Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College, Cloquet

2. Leech Lake Tribal College, Cass Lake

3. Red Lake Nation College, Red Lake

4. University of Minnesota, St. Paul

5. White Earth Tribal and Community College, Mahnomen


1. Alcorn State University, Lorman

2. Mississippi State University, Starkville


1. Lincoln University, Jefferson City

2. University of Missouri, Columbia


1. Blackfeet Community College, Browning

2. Chief Dull Knife College, Lame Deer

3. Aaniiih Nakoda College, Harlem

4. Fort Peck Community College, Poplar

5. Little Big Horn College, Crow Agency

6. Montana State University, Bozeman

7. Salish Kootenai College, Pablo

8. Stone Child College, Box Elder


1. Little Priest Tribal College, Winnebago

2. Nebraska Indian Community College, Winnebago

3. University of Nebraska, Lincoln


1. University of Nevada, Reno


1. University of New Hampshire, Durham


1. Rutgers University, New Brunswick


1. Navajo Technical University, Crownpoint

2. Institute of American Indian and Alaska Native Culture and Arts Development, Santa Fe

3. New Mexico State University, Las Cruces

4. Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, Albuquerque


1. Cornell University, Ithaca


1. North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro

2. North Carolina State University, Raleigh


1. Cankdeska Cikana Community College, Fort Totten

2. Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College, New Town

3. North Dakota State University, Fargo

4. Sitting Bull College, Fort Yates

5. Turtle Mountain Community College, Belcourt


1. Saipan, Northern Marianas College


1. Wilberforce, Central State University

2. Columbus, Ohio State University


1. Okmulgee, College of the Muscogee Nation

2. Langston, Langston University

3. Stillwater, Oklahoma State University


1. Corvallis, Oregon State University


1. University Park, Pennsylvania State University


1. Mayaguez, University of Puerto Rico


1. Kingston, University of Rhode Island


1. Clemson, Clemson University

2. Orangeburg, South Carolina State University


1. Kyle, Oglala Lakota College

2. Rosebud, Sinte Gleska University

3. Sisseton, Sisseton Wahpeton Community College

4. Brookings, South Dakota State University


1. Nashville, Tennessee State University

2. Knoxville, University of Tennessee


1. Prairie View, Prairie View A&M University

2. College Station, Texas A&M University


1. Logan, Utah State University


1. Burlington, University of Vermont


1. St. Croix, University of the Virgin Islands


1. Blacksburg, Virginia Tech

2. Petersburg, Virginia State University


1. Bellingham, Northwest Indian College

2. Pullman, Washington State University


1. Institute, West Virginia State University

2. Morgantown, West Virginia University


1. Keshena, College of Menominee Nation

2. Hayward, Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College

3. Madison, University of Wisconsin


1. Laramie, University of Wyoming

Advantages of a Land-Grant University

Land-grant universities offer numerous advantages to individuals, families, and entire communities, encompassing:

1. Diverse Educational Opportunities:

– In-person and online educational courses cater to various preferences and learning styles.

– Both paid and free courses contribute to accessible education for many individuals.

2. Informative Resources:

– Free tips and insights are disseminated through various channels such as emails, social media, websites, video tutorials, and more.

– Accessible information helps individuals stay informed on many subjects, fostering continuous learning.

3. Engaging Events:

– Free in-person and virtual events provide networking, skill-building, and community engagement opportunities.

– Events contribute to community and shared knowledge among diverse people.

4. Practical Research:

– Land-grant universities conduct readily available and practical research across various fields.

– Research outcomes contribute to problem-solving, innovation, and improved practices in various sectors.

5. Expert Assistance:

– Experts are available to assist each county, offering guidance and support to individuals and communities.

– The presence of caring experts enhances the learning experience and facilitates the application of knowledge in real-world scenarios.

The benefits of a Land-Grant University extend beyond traditional education, encompassing a holistic approach that includes accessible resources, community engagement, practical research, and expert support. These advantages contribute to the overall development and well-being of individuals and communities associated with these institutions.

Conclusion on Land Grant Universities in the USA

The history and significance of land-grant universities in the United States constitute a rich tapestry woven through federal legislation, visionary pioneers, and key institutions like Cornell and MIT. The enduring influence of the Morrill Acts of 1862 shaped an educational landscape that prioritized practical agriculture, science, and engineering and embraced a commitment to inclusive, comprehensive learning.

Land-grant universities, established under the Morrill Acts, were designed to serve individuals in agriculture and industry, offering a unique blend of specialized education and traditional liberal arts studies. Over time, these institutions have evolved and expanded, reflecting the dynamic needs of American society.

The 1890 Land-Grant Institutions, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and the 1994 land grants for Native American tribal colleges further enriched the tapestry of land-grant education. The USDA’s programs, such as the 1890 Institution Teaching, Research, and Extension Capacity Building Grants, demonstrate a commitment to supporting historically underfunded institutions fostering advancements in agricultural and food sciences.

The advantages of land-grant universities extend far beyond traditional education, offering diverse educational opportunities, informative resources, engaging events, practical research, and expert assistance. These institutions are pivotal in shaping the nation’s progress by providing accessible education, fostering community engagement, and contributing to innovative research and practices.

The story of land-grant universities is one of adaptability, inclusivity, and a commitment to the practical needs of communities. As we journey through the essence of land-grant colleges, it becomes evident that their role remains integral to the ongoing development and prosperity of the United States.


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