The College of Charleston is a public, sea-grant and space-grant university located in historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina, United States. The college was founded in 1770 and chartered in 1785, making it the oldest college or university in South Carolina, the 13th oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the oldest municipal college in the country. The founders of the College include three future signers of the Declaration of Independence and three future signers of the United States Constitution. It is said that the college was founded to "encourage and institute youth in the several branches of liberal education." The college is in company with the Colonial Colleges as one of the oldest schools in the United States. It is a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.