The United States is the world's third largest country by total area, and the third largest by land area alone, after Russia and Canada. The United States of America is a country in North America that extends from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and shares land borders with Canada and Mexico. The United States is a federal constitutional republic, with its capital in Washington, D.C.
There are fifty (50) states and Washington D.C. The last two states to join the Union were Alaska (49th) and Hawaii (50th). Both joined in 1959.
The Statue of Liberty National Monument has stood proudly in New York Harbor for almost 120 years (her official 120th birthday will be on October 28, 2006). The statue was a gift to the people of the United States from the people of France in recognition of the friendship established during the American Revolution. Over the last 120 years, the Statue of Liberty has become an internationally-recognized symbol of freedom and democracy.
Education in USA
Education in the United States has been a state or local, not federal, responsibility. The Department of Education of the federal government, however, exerts some influence through its ability to control funding. Students are generally obliged to attend school starting with kindergarten, and ending with the 12th grade, which is normally completed at age 18, but many states may allow students to drop out as early as age 16. Besides public schools, parents may also choose to educate their own children at home or to send their children to parochial or private schools. After high school, students may choose to attend universities, either public or private. Public universities receive funding from the federal and state governments, as well as from other sources, but most students still have to pay student loans after graduation. Tuition at private universities is generally much higher than at public universities.
There are many competitive institutions of higher education in the United States, both private and public. The United States has 168 universities in the world's top 500, 17 of which are in the top 20. There are also many smaller universities and liberal arts colleges, and local community colleges of varying quality across the country with open admission policies.