Colleges and universities are undergoing significant changes: like improvement of research facilities and introduction of technological innovations in the process of education. Today the main goal of colleges and universities is determined in the light of constantly progressing science, where all colleges and universities strive to prepare future leaders who will be able to contribute to the world's well-being and prosperity.
A university is usually a higher structural unit as compared to a college. It may contain several colleges for undergraduate students who seek a Bachelor's degree and several graduate schools for students who continue in specialized studies beyond the Bachelor's degree level in hopes of obtaining a Master's or Doctoral degree. Depending on the source of their funding; colleges and universities may be either private or public. Today, the largest endowed university is Harvard. As of 2005 its endowments totaled $26 billion, which is the largest donation of any academic institution.
The academic ranking of world colleges and universities is usually based on indicators of research and academic performance, including the number of Nobel laureates, prominent researchers, articles published in the fields of science and nature and academic performance per faculty.
Some higher educational institutions have gained reputations for offering challenging courses and providing a higher quality of education. The ranking of academic institutions has been calculated by various institutes of higher education. The majority of them agree that the top ten world colleges and universities are Harvard University, Yale University, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, University of California at Berkeley, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, Columbia University, the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge.
Eight out of ten top world universities are located in the United States, which is the world leader in technological progress of its time. The most selective and prestigious colleges and universities of the United States are those belonging to the Ivy League, including Columbia College, University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, Yale, Princeton University, Brown University, Cornell University and Dartmouth College. Due to their traditions and long established reputations they attract students from all over the world.
Oxford and Cambridge are the two historic universities of England, both founded in the first half oft the XIII century and regarded as the oldest institutions of higher learning in the English-speaking world. Throughout its history the University of Oxford produced 47 Nobel Prize winners, presidents, 25 British Prime ministers, 28 foreign prime ministers and presidents in addition to a great number of archbishops, saints, cardinals, scientists and artists. Cambridge and Oxford attract scholars from all over the world to join their research and teaching stuff.
The universities and colleges in Asia occupy prominent positions among the top world universities. The most notable of them are members of Asia Pacific University Consortium, established to provide educational opportunities for corporations located in the Asia-Pacific region.