Danforth Foundation Cuts Fellowship Aid To Harvard Ed School

The Danforth Foundation last week announced that it is withdrawing the balance of a $1 million grant which backed the Ed School's Whitehead Fellowships.

This action, which probably means the suspension of the prestigious Whitehead program, came when budgetary belt-tightening forced the Ed School to cut back on the $1.5 million it had planned to add to the Danforth funds over a five-year program.

The Whitehead Fellowships, modeled after the Nieman Fellowships for journalists, is a one-year non-year non-degree program which brings educators and related professional men to study at Harvard. The three-year-old program has so far sponsored about 30 fellows, at an estimated maximum of $20,000 each.

The Herald Traveler yesterday reported that Gene L. Schwilek, an official of the Danforth Foundation, estimated that of the $1 million Danforth grant, the foundation has so far given the Ed School about $650,000.

"Although the school's deficit has never exceeded two per cent of the total budget, our money is tight," Theodore R. Sizer, dean of the Ed School, said last night. "Naturally, fellowships for degree candidates have higher priority."

Promises Promises

Sizer said that the current Whitehead program is a "very expensive first version" of a mid-career education program. He said that the Ed School established the Whitehead Fellowship in 1965-when Great Society legislation seemed to promise unprecedented billions to education.

When the Danforth Foundation (set up by the Ralston-Purina Company) offered to help fund the Whitehead Fellowships, the Ed School was confident of getting additional money from the Federal government, Sizer said.

High Hopes

Legislation such as the Education Professions Development Act of 1967 seemed good reason for optimism, he said. But much of the money that Congress authorized was never actually appropriated.

"Our school is still committed to midcareer education," Sizer said, adding that he hopes to replace the year-long fellowships with shorter-term programs which have a lower per capita cost.

The Business School sponsors several such short-term study programs, usually concentrated around a single issue. Last month the Ed School held a four-day Advanced Administrative Institute to discuss and investigate tuition vouchers.