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A recent national survey linked a decline in college enrollment to the end of the Vietnam war but several officials here said yesterday Harvard's matriculation patterns do not follow the national trend.
A Census Bureau survey tied the seven-year decline in enrollment with the end of the war. Fewer men are becoming eligible for G.I. benefits and draft deferments are no longer necessary.
David Riesman '31, Ford Professor of Social Sciences Emeritus, said yesterday he "wouldn't overemphasize the Vietnam war." An increase in females returning to school, a loss of adult authority over youth, peer pressure and the "insouciant" attitudes of men in today's society all contribute to the decline, he said.
"Men don't like school--it's a Huck Finn syndrome, they want to light out for the territory," he added.
Harvard and other Ivies have not experienced this decline because if "you are going to pay a Harvard-sized tuition you want to pay for the brand name," he said.
Equal access admissions, which began here with the Class of '80, increased the proportion of women in the College but both male and female applicant pools have continued to grow.
James W. Wickenden, director of student and alumni services at the School of Education, said yesterday that the Vietnam war had little effect on the Harvard undergraduate applicant pool.
There will always be a demand for such prestigious institutions as Harvard, he said.
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