Nation's Colleges Report Financial Troubles; 250,000 Fewer Register

American universities and colleges are playing host to 250,000 less students and are complaining of serious financial difficulties, the New York Times reported yesterday.

The drop in population at most universities was not so severe as anticipated early last spring and was felt mostly in the smaller colleges.

University officials here confirmed the general report of severe financial trouble for most private institutions. Last year, for the first time in many years, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences suffered a deficit because the H.A.A. went $200,000 in the red.

This year officials again expect a deficit since the athletics problems still isn't solved. Endowments, they explain, are often nullified by the inflation spiral.

Half of the independent liberal arts colleges in the country reported that they were operating on a deficit and said they are worse off this year than last, according to the Times.

Many colleges reported they feared they would have to lower standards just to keep going and said they already had reduced faculties.

Student fees, the colleges said, are almost double what they were ten years ago. Administrators feared they would price students right out of the classrooms if they went higher.

At Harvard standards have been kept up without quite so great an increase in student fees by digging into capital, but Provost Buck recently repeated his warning that "this can't go on forever."