Depression, Recovery and Higher Education: A Report by Committee Y of the American Association of University Professors. The Draft of This Report Was Prepared by Malcolm M. Willey

By Malcolm M. Willey; American Association of University Professors | Go to book overview

CHAPRER XIII
STUDENT FINANCIAL PROBLEMS AND THE DEPRESSION

THE present chapter is devoted to a consideration of some of the financial problems that faced the students at institutions of higher education during the depression years. A general discussion is difficult because, it is recognized, selective factors produce wide variations in the types of student bodies. As a group, students at some of the endowed, eastern colleges are different from those found at a land-grant institution of the Middle West. Yet these differences must not be allowed to conceal the fact that students generally did find themselves facing difficult problems created by the prevailing economic conditions. These problems as they related to the classroom, to extra-curricula activity, and to purely personal matters would, if studied in detail, require elaborate and extensive analysis. This cannot be undertaken here, but the present report would lose balance if some aspects of the depression, as it influenced students, were not called to attention. Accordingly, various points will be introduced although there is no thought that the treatment is definitive or all-inclusive. What is said should be regarded as the starting point for further discussion and investigation.

The Costs of a College Education. Some of the costs of education pertain directly to the support of the academic institutions: buildings must be maintained, heat and light must be provided, faculties must be employed, books must be purchased, and service staffs must be hired. It is only as a popular saying that the best college is a log on which the instructor and the student sit. The budgets of a medium- sized institution will run into hundreds of thousands of dollars; for the larger institutions millions of dollars are received and spent annually, as the financial analysis has already shown. What may be termed the strictly academic costs of higher education--the costs of maintenance and operation--are met from various sources: endowment, taxes, gifts, tuition, fees, etc. In general the part of the total education bill paid by the student is smaller in public institutions than in private colleges and universities, yet, as has been shown elsewhere, the portion of total income chargeable against the students has tended to mount, and did so noticeably during the depression years.1

____________________
1
Chaps. VIII and IX.

-281-

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