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To the Editors of the CRIMSON:--
The current issue of the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine contains a proposal that men who are able to pay the full cost of a college education should be made to do so. The article goes on to say that "the exact measure of this contribution would be difficult to determine, but some notion of it may be gained at any great collegiate function that brings the parents and friends of college boys into the open together and enables them to display simultaneously their automotive opulence." The "Quadwrangler" in the Transcript of April 30 comments on this proposal favorably, but regards the whole project as "altogether too ideal."
Let us for the moment disregard the source of this suggestion, since any regard for it would elicit the inevitable cynicism: "Can any good come out of Nazareth?" Let us rather consider the applicability of the suggestion to our own, University. Is it certain that the project is too ideal? Is it certain that it would be difficult to determine the exact measure of the contribution? Surely the unit cost of a Bachelor's degree has been calculated by some one and is known to some one. It is not unreasonable to ask all who receive Bachelor's degrees to pay for what they get. Then let the endowment be used to permit deductions from the charges of those who can prove that they or their parents are unable to pay the full cost.
Such a procedure would have a effect. It would forever remove the modern reproach that an University that cannot support itself is not an economic utility, but merely a parasite. And it would reserve the advantage of the endowment to those for whom the endowment was intended, by the givers, namely students who could not afford a higher education, if they were dependent upon their own resources. Surely Harvard would have no endowment at all, had it been realized that it was to be used to pay the expenses of students with $500 apartments and a Locomobile in the garage. Yet so it is being used today.
There remains the difficulty of determining the manner of proof to be required of those who claimed a reduction. In these days of the ubiquitous income tax receipt, it is not hard to discover the average man's financial resources. But even in default of this, rebates might be made proportional to other college expenses. A combination of the two methods would certainly serve to prevent well-to-do boys "with the commercial instinct strong within them," as the "Quadwrangler" puts it, from trying to beat the college down.
At least, it would seem that the doctrine of keeping higher education within reach of the pocketbook of the poor has been reduced to an absurdity when its principal effect is the pauperizing of the rich. SUMMERFIELD BALDWIN, 3D, '17.
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