Higher Education: Resources and Finance

By Seymour E. Harris | Go to book overview

than between a random selection of the nondenominational colleges in a given area: a small number of institutions which were reluctant to increase their tuitions, appropriately distributed by affiliation, would thus constitute a stronger stabilizing force than would an equivalent number of nondenominational colleges and universities. The reasons why such institutions show reluctance to increase their tuitions need not be--and a reading of their responses to the questionnaire indicates they are not--substantively different from those of other colleges and universities. The restraints on tuition increases are simply stronger. Undoubtedly a downward trend in their relative command of the market is also relevant here. Second, the existence of a religious affiliation constitutes an effective medium through which institutions so situated can appeal for current gifts. Undoubtedly, not all denominational schools are equally successful in such appeals, but it is true that since they are on the whole less well endowed than the nondenominational colleges and universities (in our sample), they are more dependent than the latter on current gifts as a source of income.7 In general IHL with low tuition and small endowment tend to rely more heavily on current gifts, though the evidence is a little mixed on this point.

It only remains to append a final word of caution concerning the interpretation of the results of the latter part of this study. The analysis of variance and the other statistical techniques employed have treated the 85 sets of responses as a sample from the population of private colleges and universities in the United States. Thus, on purely technical grounds it would appear to be valid to draw inferences from the sample to the entire population. However, on equally technical grounds, the nonrandom character of the sample would inveigh against such a procedure. There is, on the other hand, a counterargument to the last point which does carry some force. While the sample of 85 is admittedly not a random one, with respect to the entire population, it is quite representative of the upper echelons of IHL in America. To the extent that one believes that the type of IHL not adequately represented in the sample strive to emulate those which are, and in so far as it is with reference to the behavior of the latter group that policy recommendations are framed, the pertinence of whatever conclusions have emerged from this study does extend beyond the scope of the limited sample of colleges and universities upon which it is based.


FOOTNOTES
1
I am greatly indebted to an unusually able research assistant, Paul David, now Assistant Professor at Stanford, who compiled the results of the questionnaires upon which this chapter is based and analyzed them.
2
Cf. earlier discussion.
3
Further, could such a measure be established, it would be questionable to assume that a given "degree of competitive pressure" imposed a uniform constraint

-99-

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