University of the State of New York
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:''Not to be confused with State University of New York. For other uses, see University of New York (disambiguation).
The University of the State of New York (USNY, ) is the state of New York's governmental umbrella organization for both public and private institutions, in New York State. The "university" is not an educational institution: it is, in fact, a licensing and accreditation body that sets standards for schools operating in New York State, from pre-kindergarten through professional and graduate school, as well as for the practice of a wide variety of professions. It is a synonym for the New York State Board of Regents. It should not be, though often is, confused with the State University of New York.
== History ==
The Board of Regents of the USNY was established by statute on May 1, 1784, to provide oversight to King's College – today known as Columbia University – a private institution, and other colleges and academies incorporated in the state thereafter. Originally the Board of Regents was to consist of the governor, the lieutenant governor, the secretary of state, the attorney general, the speaker of the state assembly, the mayors of New York City and Albany, two other persons from each one of the twelve counties, and one representative of each religious denomination in the state. No religious representatives were actually appointed, and the other members living all over the state, found themselves unable to meet with the necessary quorum. Thus, on November1 2, 1784, 33 additional members were appointed. Nevertheless, this arrangement proved too unwieldy for day-to-day administration of the university, and on April 13, 1787, the legislature enacted a law that allowed individual educational institutions to have their own trustees and gave the Regents broader responsibilities for overseeing education in New York. The new law empowered the Regents to "visit and inspect all the colleges, academies, and schools" in the state, award higher academic degrees, hold and distribute funds, and exercise other powers of a corporation. At the same time, the previous regents were legislated out of office, and a new set of regents was appointed: the governor and the lieutenant governor continued as ''ex officio'' members, and 19 regents were appointed for life. In 1842, the secretary of state was added as ''ex officio'' member, and in 1854 also the superintendent of public instruction. Vacancies were filled by joint ballot of the state legislature.〔(''The New York Civil List'' ) (1858; pg. 333–339)〕
Early in the 19th century, the Regents established standards for incorporating private academies and colleges, including specifying the texts or subjects that academies must teach to qualify for state aid. Aid was restricted to those students who had passed local entrance examinations. To combat the problem of academies lowering their standards in order to attract students and get state aid, during the later nineteenth century the Regents developed and instituted educational standards for high schools statewide, through use of the Regents examinations and syllabi.
The legislature gave the Regents responsibility for the New York State Library and New York State Museum in 1844 and 1845, respectively, and in 1889 and 1892 expanded the USNY's responsibilities significantly to include the incorporation and supervision of all libraries, museums, correspondence schools, and other educational institutions. An 1872 statute authorized the Regents to appoint examining and licensing boards in the state's medical schools, and in 1890 the Regents were given the exclusive power to license physicians. Also starting in 1890, the Secretary to the Board of Regents – then Melvil Dewey, also head of the State Library – supervised full-time inspectors of secondary schools, libraries, colleges, and other institutions reporting to the Regents. Starting in 1910 private trade schools were required to be licensed and inspected, and in 1923 licensing requirements were extended to correspondence schools operating in the state.
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