Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, more widely known as Virginia Tech, is a large public university with a main campus in Blacksburg, Virginia, and a multitude of educational centers located throughout the commonwealth. The university was founded in 1872 as an agricultural and mechanical land-grant college, and has grown into an institution with the largest full-time student population in Virginia. VT also is one of the few public universities in the country to maintain a corp of cadets, and offers the largest number of degree programs in the region. Student living currently extends to about 23,600 undergraduates and and 7,200 postgraduates, who reside in student housing in the Blacksburg area. Blacksburg is a town of about 43,000 residents that provides arts, entertainment and many options for convenient off campus housing.
Academically, Virginia Tech University has slowly risen in the ranks, reaching a placement of 69th in the U.S. News & World Report’s 2011 rankings of national universities, and a placement of 30th among public universities. The university offers about 65 bachelor’s degrees through seven undergraduate colleges, 145 master’s and doctoral degrees through the Graduate School, and a professional degree through the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Many of the school’s programs have received special acclaim, with programs in aerospace engineering, civil engineering, agriculture and life science ranking within the top 10 programs nationally in their field.
Currently, fewer than one-third of VT students reside on campus, the rest renting university apartments and off campus housing near the campus. Residing in Blacksburg, students gain access to a comfortable and manageable town near the Jefferson National Forest. The town runs annual events including the International Street Fair and Parade each April, and Steppin’ Out, a summer festival that features artists, crafts and music in the streets.
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