Most presidents of the United States received a college education, even most of the earliest. Of the first seven presidents, five were college graduates. College degrees have set the presidents apart from the general population, and presidents have held degrees even though it was quite rare and unnecessary for practicing most occupations, including law. Of the 45 individuals to have been the president, 25 of them graduated from a private undergraduate college, nine graduated from a public undergraduate college, and 12 held no degree. Every president since 1953 has had a bachelor's degree, reflecting the increasing importance of higher education in the United States.