Higher Education: Resources and Finance

By Seymour E. Harris | Go to book overview

Chapter 4
THE TUITION PROBLEM

SOME INTRODUCTORY REMARKS

A writer comes to certain conclusions and then writes his book. He can proceed by working on his own, using printed materials for the most part. He is likely to end up with a program, after several years, not unlike one that might have been forecast almost at the beginning.

My experience has been somewhat different. In 1957 I was convinced, in fact because of theoretical and practical experience with state government, that the solution for the problems of both public and private IHL was large increases in fees. This position troubled me, because my general ideological position was favorable toward public aid and equality of opportunity. Yet high tuition would discourage the underprivileged.

In a period of three years my views underwent considerable change. In this period I visited 120 IHL and attended at least 10 conferences on higher education. For example: I spent several days with a group of university presidents under the auspices of the American Council of Education; spent three weeks at Southampton ( Merrill Center) at two higher- education conferences of educators and others, one sponsored by the McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc.;1 spent a week at a conference sponsored by the Manpower Commission of Columbia University; attended a conference on Federal Aid to Higher Education by the American Assembly;2 and, most important, spent a few days with the state university presidents at their annual meeting in May, 1960.3

In addition there were several conferences, sponsored by the Ford Foundation, with college administrators, and nine days at a seminar on the economics of higher education,4 and visits to 120 colleges and universities, generally with the head of the institution, the treasurer and the academic dean. These lasted from a few hours to a few days. In all I estimate about one hundred forty days spent on visits and conferences.

These meetings considerably affected my views on the financing of higher education. My general position had been strongly in favor of sub-

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