How Yale Meets the Deficit
President Lowell of Harvard University appears to have been driven by the increase in the university deficit for the year 1919-1920, which he expects will be doubled during the present university year, to the consideration of an increased tuition fee. The argument leading up to this conclusion is the familiar one of the higher cost of everything which enters into the manufacture of an educated young man, and the assumed inability of the trustees to increase the endowment of the university to a point where old value standards can be maintained.
Yale has already made a slight increase in the tuition fee, but has not solved her financial difficultits by that means. It still costs the institution twice as much to educate a student as the student pays for the instruction. Thus far the Yale Alumni Fund Association, which is the product of the enthusiasm of General W. W. Skiddy of the Class of 1865 S., has been able to make up the annual deficit, and, so far as we know, there is no indisposition on the part of the graduates to keep on attending to the job. On the contrary, there is a profound conviction among Yale men that they should continue to discharge this responsibility uncomplainingly out of love for their alma mater, on the one hand, and of a realization, on the other hand, that they can never fully pay for what their Yale association gives them. In this respect the Yale Alumni Fund Association has accomplished what the endowment policy of Harvard has failed to accomplish.
It is very hard to throw over a tradition which has been made sacred by long enforcement, and the tradition, that a college education shall be sold at the minimum cost and not on a commercial basis has prevailed so long that its possible abolishment raises many questions of a vexatious character, such as exemption from taxation, etc. Unless we are mistaken, those who have sought to find a key to this problem of increasing costs and deficits in the increased cost of tuition have been compelled in that connection to accompany the solution with the acknowledgement that the number of scholarships should be so far increased that all danger of reserving educational processes to those able to pay any price for them may be escaped. Here again they run into money requirements to their embarrassment which form the seriousness of the entire problem.
The other alternative, that of a State university, is one that easterners view with justified alarm. It would impose upon the state a burden in taxation that would add distressingly to the obligations of the citizens of a State the size of Connecticut on the one hand, and invite, on the other hand, a political oversight and supervision which might easily be turned into disrupting propaganda, the enforced assimilation of a curriculum that would serve the interests of a new and independent scholarship. New Haven Journal Courier