DURING the past year the cost of instruction at Harvard has been so much discussed that the President has been to some trouble to get at an accurate statement of college expenses. As the result of a large number of inquiries, he found that the smallest annual expenditure was $471, and the largest $2,500. Since this wide range of expenditure gave insufficient data from which to make fair estimates, the President has prepared a table to exhibit four scales of annual expenditure. This table is restricted to the nine months of college life, and is, we think, a very fair estimate of college expenses: -
Least. Economical. Moderate. Ample.
Tuition, $150 $150 $150 $150
Books, 20 25 30 35
Stationery, 8 10 15 26
Clothing, 70 120 150 300
Room, 30 30 100 175
Furniture (annual average), 10 15 25 50
Board, 140* 175- 175- 304-
Fuel and light, 11 15 30 45
Washing, 15 20 40 50
Car-fares, 15 15 30 50
Societies and subscription to
sports (annual average) 35 50
Sundries, 30 40 50 100
------ ------ ------ -------
Total, $499 $615 $830 $1,365
In the President's opinion, the critical experience which the Dining Association had during the year 1876 - 77 has tended to increase the popularity and stability of the Association. He regards the weak point in the organization to be the liberty of withdrawing from the Hall on a full week's notice, and he proposes as a check that any member who should withdraw at any time except the end of one of the three periods for which term bills are made out should be charged for the remaining time one third of the cost for board. Now what to the President seems weakness must seem to the students strength; and in the liberty to withdraw is the only check the student has on such board as was furnished during the first half of last year. Memorial Hall offers too many attractions to allow any considerable number of students to leave except for sufficient reasons; but, as experience has proved, nothing short of the actual desertion of the Hall is sufficient to secure necessary changes.
It is the aim of the Faculty to greatly enlarge and systematize the instruction given to postgraduates. In regard to this subject the President says : -
"For a few years to come it is to the improvement of this department of the University that the attention of the governing boards may be most profitably directed. In all probability it will ultimately be found desirable to organize a Department or Faculty of Philosophy, which shall bear to the College, as regards the age and standing of its students, the same relation which the professional schools of the University would bear to the College if (as will be the case at no very remote day) only Bachelors of Arts were admitted to them. It is not yet quite clear, however, of what elements such a body might best be composed, or what would be the best form of organization."
In the matter of voluntary attendance the Faculty are still divided in their opinions. After a very full discussion of the subject, the Dean comes to the following conclusions: Among good scholars the cases where the opportunity for irregularity of work has interfered with scholarship are comparatively few; while the fact that students are allowed to arrange their time in accordance with what they conceive to be their best interests bears upon the formation of character, and tends to the promotion of better culture. In regard to the opposite end of the class the Dean says : -
"The real question raised by the privilege of voluntary attendance, as it concerns the lowest scholars, does not relate to loss or gain in scholarship, but simply to the best means of securing a certain degree of routine, as a safeguard against the distractions and temptations which a great university necessarily presents. In short, if I may use the term without any invidious suggestion, the real question as regards them is a question of police regulation which can be provided for in more ways than one."
It is the medium scholars of the class on whom the privilege of voluntary recitations has the worst effect. The absence of strong purpose, which is the cause of their mediocrity, also prevents their making a valuable use of a liberty which they nevertheless eagerly welcome. In order to stimulate the middle part of the class, and at the same time allow a beneficial liberty to that part of the class who could use such a privilege, the present system of regulated voluntary attendance was decided upon; and the Dean thinks that an extension of this system to the Junior class might profitably be made. The system was adopted for a single year, however, and there is no surety that it will be continued.
The subject of elective studies may now be considered as settled. Says the Report : -
"In the College Faculty, and the other governing boards of the University, the elective system itself, in contrast with a uniform curriculum required of all students, is never so much as called in question : but there are minor details of the system which are still discussed; as, for example, whether this course or that be a desirable one; whether this system unduly favor the classics, the modern languages, philosophy, history, or science; whether the choice of the individual student be oftenest determined by sound or trivial consideration; and whether any general advice as to choice of studies could be profitably given by the Faculty. . . . . The average student, with the help of his instructors, friends, and natural advisers, makes a more judicious selection of studies for himself than the Faculty could make for him, with any knowledge which they are likely to have of his tastes, capacities, and purposes, - a much better selection, moreover, than the old prescribed curriculum of this College, or the present prescribed curriculum of any other college would be."
The most pressing needs of the College are new professorships in jurisprudence, American history, hygiene, and architecture; and it is desirable that the professorships of German, surgery, elocution, English, history of art, modern languages, political economy, and music should be permanently endowed.
The report of the Treasurer shows a real falling off in the rate of income this year, as compared with last, of about 28/100 of one per cent; and, until the value of money and the rental value of real estate shall increase, a still further falling off is to be expected. The amount of expenditure for 1877 was $224,575.07, of which $158,406.90 came from undergraduates. The total invested funds of the College amount to $3,678,595.10.
* Divinity Club. - Memorial Hall. - Private Club.