The interplay of local, state, and national programs and policies is particularly evident in the field of education. Historically, education has been considered the province of the state and local governments. Of the more than 3,000 colleges and universities, the academies of the armed services are among the few federal institutions. (The federal government also adminis¬ters, among others, the College of the Virgin Islands.) For years, however, the federal government has been involved in education at all levels, beginning in 1862 with the grant of public lands to the states for the purpose of establishing colleges of agricultural and mechanical arts. Additionally, the federal government supports school lunch programs, administers Indian education, makes research grants to universities, underwrites loans to college students, and finances education for veterans.