The University of San Carlos (USC) in Cebu City is considered as the oldest school in the country and in Asia. Formerly known as the Colegio de San Ildefonso, it was founded by the Spanish Jesuits on August 1, 1595. This makes the Cebu-based university older than the University of Santo Tomas (1611) in Manila and Harvard University (1636) in the United States.
The University of Santo Tomas, however, contests this title. Formerly known as the Colegio de Nuestra Señora del Rosario, UST was the first school, which got a university status in 1645. USC became a university in 1948. UST also claimed that the original USC was closed in 1769 as a result of the expulsion of the Jesuits. It reopened in 1783 under a new name and ownership. But the USC officials stick to their claim. The university observed its 400th foundation day on August 21, 1995.