The Bill on Aid to Higher Education has gone into effect and should bring Harvard more money for scholarship students as well as unrestricted funds from the government for the first time if Congress budgets the necessary funds.
The Bill passed both the House and the Senate last fall, but was held up in conference several months over a controversial school busing amendment.
The part of the bill concerning college scholarships--the Basic Opportunity Grant--continues a 1965 program which subsidizes college education expenses for "needy" students, but also relaxes the old definition of "needy" to include more people. Seamus P. Malin '62, director of the Financial Aid Office, said yesterday.
The new bill gives colleges $1400 or half the basic expenses--whichever is less--minus what the government figures the family can pay determined by a formula based on adjusted family income.
"The new formula gets outside the realm of low-income families," Malin said.
However, the more generous grants called for in the new bill depend upon action from the House Appropriations Committee.
"The Committee should act on it this summer, but I have real doubts that they will appropriate the money," Malin said.
Although the size of the grant depends mostly on the number of students from low-income families enrolled at the school, the money carries no stipulations for its use.
This is the first time the government has given colleges unrestricted funds "The government likes to dictate how we spend their money," Malin commented.
The recent reports from most colleges that they are in tight financial straits may be responsible for Congress unrestricted grant.
Malin said the University had not decided whether it would use the unrestricted government funds to cover scholarships. "Any money from outside eases the financial pressures." Malin said.
When asked whether the bill would encourage Harvard to accept more poor students, Malin said. "We're recruiting them anyhow. The government aid is just a nice reward for our efforts."
Actually Lose Money
Malin added that the University would actually lose money if it recruited poor students just to get more Federal money under this bill.
"For every low income student brought in with government aid, the dollars we must offer him on top is phenomenal." Malin said. Even if the government gives us the maximum grant, we must put on $3000 more, he added.
An amendment to this bill, proposed by Rep Edith Greene last fall would have made it illegal for private coeducational colleges probably including Harvard to set quotas for women. After extensive lobbying by Harvard and other Ivy League and Seven Sister Schools, the proposal to strike Greene's amendment passed by four votes.
The present version of the bill empowers the Federal Government to withhold funds from public colleges and universities which discriminate on the basis of sex on the graduate or undergraduate level. Private institutions like Harvard may not discriminate on the graduate level, but may set undergraduate admissions quotas.