A college (Latin: collegium) is an educational institution or a constituent part of one. A college may be a degree-awarding tertiary educational institution, a part of a collegiate or federal university, an institution offering vocational education or a secondary school.
In the United States, "college" may refer to a constituent part of a university or to a degree-awarding tertiary educational institution, but generally "college" and "university" are used interchangeably, whereas in the United Kingdom, Oceania, South Asia, Southern Africa and Canada, "college" may refer to a secondary or high school, a college of further education, a training institution that awards trade qualifications, a higher education provider that does not have university status (often without its own degree-awarding powers), or a constituent part of a university (See this comparison of British and American English educational terminology for further information).
There has also been a recent trend to rename or create government secondary schools as "colleges". In the state of Victoria, some state high schools are referred to as secondary colleges, although the pre-eminent government secondary school for boys in Melbourne is still named Melbourne High School. In Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory, "college" is used in the name of all state high schools built since the late 1990s, and also some older ones. In New South Wales, some high schools, especially multi-campus schools resulting from mergers, are known as "secondary colleges". In Queensland some newer schools which accept primary and high school students are styled state college, but state schools offering only secondary education are called "State High School". In Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory, "college" refers to the final two years of high school (years 11 and 12), and the institutions which provide this. In this context, "college" is a system independent of the other years of high school. Here, the expression is a shorter version of matriculation college.
The constituent colleges of the former University of New Zealand (such as Canterbury University College) have become independent universities. Some halls of residence associated with New Zealand universities retain the name of "college", particularly at the University of Otago (which although brought under the umbrella of the University of New Zealand, already possessed university status and degree awarding powers). The institutions formerly known as "Teacher-training colleges" now style themselves "College of education".
Further education (FE) colleges and sixth form colleges are institutions providing further education to students over 16. Some of these also provide higher education courses (see below). In the context of secondary education, 'college' is used in the names of some private schools, e.g. Eton College and Winchester College.
In England, as of August 2016, over 60% of the higher education providers directly funded by HEFCE (208/340) are sixth-form or further education colleges, often termed colleges of further and higher education, along with 17 colleges of the University of London, one university college, 100 universities, and 14 other providers (six of which use 'college' in their name). Overall, this means over two thirds of state-supported higher education providers in England are colleges of one form or another. Many private providers are also called colleges, e.g. the New College of the Humanities and St Patrick's College, London.
Colleges within universities vary immensely in their responsibilities. The large constituent colleges of the University of London are effectively universities in their own right; colleges in some universities, including those of the University of the Arts London and smaller colleges of the University of London, run their own degree courses but do not award degrees; those at the University of Roehampton provide accommodation and pastoral care as well as delivering the teaching on university courses; those at Oxford and Cambridge deliver some teaching on university courses as well as providing accommodation and pastoral care; and those in Durham, Kent, Lancaster and York provide accommodation and pastoral care but do not normally participate in formal teaching. The legal status of these colleges also varies widely, with University of London colleges being independent corporations and recognised bodies, Oxbridge colleges, colleges of the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and some Durham colleges being independent corporations and listed bodies, most Durham colleges being owned by the university but still listed bodies, and those of other collegiate universities not having formal recognition. When applying for undergraduate courses through UCAS, University of London colleges are treated as independent providers, colleges of Oxford, Cambridge, Durham and UHI are treated as locations within the universities that can be selected by specifying a 'campus code' in addition to selecting the university, and colleges of other universities are not recognised.