The University has asked for a large increase in its share of federal funds under the student loan program of the National Defense Education Act.
Peter K. Gunness, acting director of the financial aid office, said in an interview last night that Harvard has requested more than half a million dollars in federal loans to eligible students for next year.
The amount is more than a 50 per cent increase over the $320,000 Harvard asked for this year. It is also more than double the current NDEA limit of $250,000 on loans to any one institution.
President Kennedy asked for the elimination of the limit in his message on education delivered to Congress last Tuesday. But Gunness said the University's request was not made on the assumption that the limit would be abolished.
"We made our request even before Kennedy spoke," Gunness said. "Our request represents the amount of money we could give away in loans if we had it. I think last year's figure was extremely conservative; this year's is a better picture of the our needs. But we could have reasonably asked for a good deal more."
The College and the School of Education will draw the largest share of NDEA loan funds, Gunness said. He also called the Divinity School and the School of Design likely recipients of sizable amounts of aid.
Though Harvard's total NDEA appropriation for 1962-63 is not yet known, it cannot have been more than $250,000 in view of the limit on aid to individual institution.
But more money will be available to the loan program this year if President Kennedy's proposal succeeds. The President called for an increase in the NDEA appropriation form #90 million to $135 million as part of the mammoth education bill he sent to a reluctant Congress last week.
The bill called for federal programs to help students find term-time jobs, to insure bank loans to needy students, to undertake a study of the need for further scholarships, and to increase the number of graduate students receiving NDEA loans.
But these proposals, and other calling for aid to secondary schools, met a frosty reception in Congress.
Both Rep. Edith Green (D-Ore.) who co-sponsored the bill, and Rep. Adam Clayton Powell (D-N.Y.), whose committee will consider it, have indicated they feel the bill's chances for passage are dim.