Getting Down To Business


In 1925, Calvin Coolidge, not reknowned for his economic acumen, said, "The business of America is business." Fifty-four years later, the Harvard Business School reports Coolidge's advice is taking hold: While the number of applicants to most Ivy League graduate schools declines, B-School applications soared 11 per cent.

With the single exception of the Medical School, which saw a slight increase in the number of applicants, other Harvard graduate schools admissions offices witnessed a national trend away from postgraduate education. The Law School suffered a decline of 7 per cent, and officials at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS)--who say they have been expecting a large drop in applicant numbers for several years--report a 15 per cent decline from last year.

"Fewer students have the money to make it all the way through a four-year doctorate program," a GSAS admissions officer said yesterday.

Unlike the GSAS and the Law School, the B-School's flexible, twoyear relatively inexpensive curriculum attracts future executives trying to wedge their way into a tight job market.

The increase in applicants at the Med School may add fuel to a Congressional debate next week on a Carter proposal to cut federal "capitation grants," funds awarded to U.S. medical schools in proportion to their enrollments.


The House of Representatives restored the grants earlier in the month, but the Senate voted Wednesday to trim the grants by about 20 per cent, meaning a collective loss of about $250,000 to the Med School, the Dental School and the school of Public Health. The final answer will come after a House-Senate conference committee meets next week.

And while Harvard says it has not lobbied for full restoration of the funds, government sources say Sen. Edward M. Kennedy '54 is masterminding the University's bidding for full funding. Kennedy's efforts to restore the funds in full failed on the Senate floor Wednesday, and the Med School officals are worried that the loss of funds may worsen a $1.5 million budget gap for next year.

Maybe Calvin Coolidge could help.

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