The thirty second annual report of the Carnegie Foundation sharply condemned the "unfair recruiting" of students by colleges, and stated that "many institutions of higher learning operate today in constant fear of losing tuition-paying students." The report revealed that almost all colleges claimed to have a "new education," a "new plan" and even a "new deal" for education. One high school in the middle west reported that over eighty-five public-relations officers, for as many colleges, had paid visits to the school, and endeavoured to persuade students to go to the college which they happened to represent.
This unfortunate situation reveals two fundamental weaknesses in our American educational set up, which tend to destroy the effectiveness of our universities and lower their scholastic standings. First is that there are not enough young men in the country who can afford to pay for a college education, although there are many who have the ability. Second is that there are too many sub-marginal institutions which cannot operate at a profit, and thus are unable to keep up their scholastic requirements and standards. The result is that many institutions practically guarantee a degree to any student who can pay four years tuition. Thus students, who can pay the price, go to college because it is the thing to do, or because it seems to hold the key to financial success in later life, and they spend four aimless years wasting their own and the college's time.
Just as a sub-marginal industrial firm is forced out of business when a depression comes, so should sub-marginal colleges go by the board in these days when a sound education and well-developed minds are at a premium. Institutions which maintain a high standard should receive state and federal aid in the form of scholarships for young men who have the intellectual capacity to benefit from such education.
In this way those men deserving of an education would be able to obtain one, and at the same time the intellectual requiremnts could be kept at a level sufficiently high so that the "aimless" student, or the individual who does not possess the intellectual calibre for university work, would be excluded. This latter category often has fine abilities along different lines, other than the academic, and should not be allowed to waste their ability in work for which they are not suited. Universities which must lower their academic standards, in order to cater to as large a group of tuition-paying students as possible, harm the best interests of education and their country's welfare.