Higher Education: Resources and Finance

By Seymour E. Harris | Go to book overview

low tuition is nevertheless being undermined as costs rise and philanthropy and taxes are not equal to carrying the full burden of these higher costs. It is not necessary, because of other sources of income, for tuition to cover the full amount; and the real burden to the student of the higher tuition that will be necessary diminishes continually as incomes rise. To this matter I turn in the next chapter.


CONCLUSION

This country has had a long tradition of low tuition rates. But with increased enrollments and rising costs, the pressures to increase tuition are mounting--more in private IHL, where the traditions are less strong and financial strain greater, than in the public IHL. But even the latter, pressed by rebellious taxpayers, are being forced to yield. In fact, as we have seen, public fees had risen relatively more than private in the 1940s.

A case can be made out for higher fees as we shall see. But full-cost financing is out of the question. It is in fact not necessary. At present the 3½ million students pay in tuition an amount equal roughly only to the capital costs, and none of the operating costs. Given the great wealth, income, and growth of the nation and the tens of billions spent on such items as alcohol, cosmetics, pleasure driving, etc., a case could be made out for low tuition. The resources are clearly there. It would require only about 2 per cent of the expected growth of our GNP by 1970 to stabilize tuition fees at their present levels. But it will take a vigorous campaign to convince taxpayers in many states and Federal taxpayers of the wisdom of stabilized tuition. The tremendous contribution of education to our economy would easily justify such diversions of tax money. What, more than education, accounts for a rise of our output three times as large as our input of labor, capital, and management since the Civil War?


FOOTNOTES
1
This and preceding quotations from J. T. Cavan, "The Student and the Financing of the College: A Study of Student Fees, Students and Faculty, Affecting the Proportion of the Cost of Higher Education Borne by the Student," thesis deposited in the University of Chicago library, 1935.
2
Ibid.
3
President's Commission on Higher Education in American Democracy, 1947, I, pp. 27-28 and II, pp. 11-13; and Report of the Commission on Financing Higher Education, 1952, especially p. 138.
4
David Riesman, "Essay Review: Who Will and Who Should Pay for Higher Education?" The School Review, the University of Chicago, Summer, 1958, p. 218; The New York Times, Feb. 26, 1961, Mar. 12, 1961 (my comment), Jan. 3, 1961 (my letter), and Jan. 10, 1961 (dean's reply).
5
R. H. Ostheimer, Student Charges and Financing Higher Education, a staff study

-128-

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