Women in Higher Education

By W. Todd Furniss; Patricia Albjerg Graham | Go to book overview

JULIAN H. LEVI


Issues of Accountability

In a recent report, Harold Howe II commented that "about every five years, education in the United States finds a new rallying cry." That practice is a little like the parlor game of cliché, in which players are scored according to their cliché's triteness.

This is the year of accountability: "Accountability is an idea whose time has come." It may be helpful to consider the occasion for this current vogue and then, first, question the subject matter of the accounting, and, second, question to whom the accounting should be made.

It is in no sense surprising that the various publics who view themselves as contributors to higher education, either by voluntary act or forced support through taxation, now inquire about the results they have "purchased." Some reasons for the pressure of their interest are immediately apparent from the sheer immensity of the increases in higher education's enrollments and expenditures and the amount of public support that goes into the enterprise.

In 1939-40, the total undergraduate enrollment in four-year institutions, junior colleges, and graduate schools was 1,494,200. The comparable figure for fall 1970 was 7,920,000, and the projected figure for fall 1971 was 8,475,000.1 And in 1939-40, expenditures of public and private institutions of higher education for educational and noneducational purposes totaled $762.4 million; in 1964- 65, the comparable total was $15.7 billions; for 1971-72 it was estimated at $28.4 billions.2 Between 1960 and 1971, federal funding to institutions of higher education increased from $1.2 billion to $5.4 billions per annum.3 In fiscal 1971, the estimated federal obligation to universities and colleges for research and development

____________________
1
A Fact Book on Higher Education ( Washington: American Council on Education), March 1972, p. 2.
2
Ibid, Second issue, 1971, p. 71.106.
3
U.S. Office of Education, Digest of Educational Statistics, 1963 ( Washington: Government Printing Office), p. 73; ibid., 1970, p. 19.

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