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must establish its own moral standards and follow them or not, as it desires. Who am I to say that I know what those standards should be? The basis for my worry was economic rather than moral; or, if you wish, an economic morality.

Personally, I hate summer hotels or camps or vacational institutions, with their enforced idleness. Others may like them better. But, after all, it is understood that a vacation is only a vacation. It is a break in the regular necessary productive routine of life. It may be a very pleasant break for two or three weeks when one is tired out, but as a permanent diet, or for four years at least, what effect must it have on the formative period of life, on the process of preparation for active life?

'But this is unfair,' argues my daughter. 'You have been here only during leisure hours. Our classes meet in the daytime, you know.'

Of course. And I do not want to be unfair to the young generation - that is the surest sign of approaching old age. But let us see. The average requirements of a college are about fifteen hours per week. Laboratory work, which is much more arduous than simply listening to an old fogy of a professor talking, for some mysterious reason usually counts as half time; so the average working hours of undergraduate students may be twenty hours per week within the class. If the students put in an extra hour of reading and study for every classroom hour, they may and should do more, but few do, that means a working week of thirty to thirty-five hours, including extra reading. Pretty easy, I call that, as compared with the working hours of some millions of young persons of the same age who have entered productive occupations and are partly or wholly making their own living.

Shall I be told that I have under

estimated the necessary effort of undergraduate study? I don't think so. Look at the time that is left for all other

extracurricular, I believe they call them - 'activities' and pleasures. The average undergraduate student finds sufficient time to indulge in amateur dramatics, amateur journalism, amateur politics, clubs, fraternities, social life, and at least the normal amount of amateur or serious love-making. In addition or as a substitute manage to work at various occupations, and thus partly or entirely pay their way through college. If some do this, the others must have a lot of time to waste.

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That is the régime of life through the college year, eight or nine months or so. Even that year is interrupted by prolonged vacations: at midyear, Christmas, and Easter. The calendar of one large university tells me that the college term begins on September 24. The Thanksgiving recess lasts five days (my clerical staff gets one day, no more: girls all of college age); the Christmas recess from December 22 to January 4, or two weeks; the term-end recess, from February 1 to 8, or a full week; Easter recess, four days - altogether more than four weeks. And the classes all end some time between May 24 and June 1. Some twenty-one to twentytwo weeks of leisure out of the year. So upon the partial idleness — or leisure, a more euphemistic expression of the school year there is superimposed the total leisure of the numerous and prolonged vacations. Many students try to utilize these, but of course no regular occupation can be pursued for two or three months with an interval of nine or ten, so the labor market is flooded every summer with young folks looking for temporary jobs. To some it makes no difference what the work is, so long as an opportunity to earn presents itself: waiting, summer

hotel clerking, door-to-door selling; occasionally, for the more adventurous, manual labor. I have read of two students making a success at bricklaying at ten dollars a day. To others the prime consideration is how to occupy the summer. It may be a summer school, or counseling at camps, or anything, so long as the work is not too strenuous. Others, more girls than boys, languish at home, bored to death with the monotony of private family life as compared with the stimulus of group life, and create problems for their parents and siblings. What very few of them do or can do is to train themselves for their life work, for their chosen profession. Exciting as bricklaying may be as an experience for the future physician, college professor, or bond salesman, it is n't exactly a preparation for his profession. And yet, the college years are years of preparation.


I am afraid that I am giving the reader an altogether unfavorable impression of myself. Here, you will say, is a very grouchy, selfish old man who begrudges his children the privileges of the college education which, for some reason or other, perhaps out of sheer regard for convention, he is paying for. I must insist, therefore, not only in selfdefense, but for a better evaluation of the argument which follows, that I am a college man myself; not only that, but possessor of a Ph.D., an academic man by disposition, author of half a dozen serious books, and a member of the W. W. A. fraternity (Who's Who in America). So that's that.

And secondly, I look on myself as a kind, easy-going, indulgent, and loving father. I believe my children endorse that description. I have assumed the duty of seeing three children through college. I found soon that the least that

will take a modern youth through college comfortably is $1500 a year. Three times four times $1500 makes all of $18,000. (And I never had the $18,000.) Into this went almost all the savings of a lifetime, and most of the income during their college years. It has meant a sacrifice, many sacrifices for my wife and myself. I do not run a car not even a Ford. We have sacrificed many opportunities for vacation and travel; opportunities for saving for our old age, which is not so very far off. All of this we have done cheerfully, but the question will not down: Was it necessary? Was it wise? Was it fair to us? And was it worth while for them?

Were ours an isolated case, then this article might be considered a presumption. But obviously it is not an isolated case. It may be somewhat unusual to carry the burden of three children in college simultaneously. Wise spacing of children might have prevented that. But a family of three children is, after all, not an unusual one, and college education within the last thirty or forty years has changed from a luxury to a seeming necessity, from an exception to a tradition, not only for the rich and the near rich, or the middle class to which I belong, but even for many a worker's family as well. It is no more a question as to whether one can afford to see his children through college, but whether one can afford not to do so.

The total number of students in colleges and universities, exclusive of professional schools, in 1873 — the earliest year for which these data are available

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man. Hence the emphasis upon decorative subjects such as classical languages. Hence, we might add, the absurd objective of a college education, the Bachelor of Arts diploma - of which more later.

Rather suddenly there came the rush of thousands into colleges. In 1870 only one out of 150 youths was in college. In 1880, one out of 100. In 1890, one out of 75. In 1900, one out of 50. In 1910, one out of 40. In 1920, one out of 20. And in the year of our Lord 1927 the proportion is probably near to one out of 12.

A college student is, therefore, no more rara avis, no more necessarily a son or a daughter of the classes. upper The great democratic American masses are looking to sending their children to college — or, at least, their children are looking to going there, as naturally as they looked to high school ten or twenty years ago. Of course, even one in twelve is only one in twelve; there are eleven others who do not go; but the proportion is sure to increase. Whatever the proportion, they are a privileged group, against the remaining eleven twelfths or five sixths or even two thirds, who are deprived of college for economic or other reasons, and who enter productive life without waiting until twenty-two to do so.

In the appraisal of value of any property, service, or institution, a sound system of accounting is imperative. The balance sheet is not only a business concept. It is, or ought to be, if not the true measure, at least one of the measures for the evaluation of any social effort.

What the individual cost is I know, and so do many other parents. From my varied experience I know that it cannot be done comfortably for less than the $1500 per annum I have named. And, moreover, the costs are constantly rising.

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Few luxuries are here included. The clothing allowance certainly does not allow a girl in college to dress better than does a New York stenographer there is no reason why she should, except that she wants to or as well as many of her college friends dress, much to her and her mother's distress and mental anguish. Nor does the minimum budget provide for the maintenance of even the little roadster which many a college boy expects. It provides for pocket expenses, but not for hip-pocket expenses and the appurtenances thereto. Finally, it does n't provide for railroad trips to college and home at least two of them and a summer vacation.

So let us accept the figure of $1500 as reasonable. Four years of that is $6000. We know that there are to-day some 600,000 students in colleges, and some 600,000 pairs of parents making this sacrifice to send them through.

A few years ago the National Bureau of Economic Research published a most painstaking investigation of 'Income in the United States: Its Amount and Distribution.' While the data refer to 1918, the situation probably has not changed materially during the last few years. The conclusions are based partly upon careful study of income tax statistics and partly upon estimates. In all, 37,569,060 incomes are considered. Let me inject this brief statistical

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With all the display of wealth in our midst, with all our lavish expenditures, it is significant that the incomes of $10,000 and over number a little more than a quarter of a million (254,634), representing only about two thirds of one per cent of the total. Even if all incomes of $6000 or over are included, they number only about 600,000 and represent only 13 per cent. You can't deduct $1500 from $6000 without creating some disturbance in the family budget. And yet we have 600,000 college students to-day. We shall have many more to-morrow a round million, if students in professional and normal schools are included.

And what about the collective social cost? It has become a somewhat hackneyed observation of American students of European conditions before the war that Europe was being driven into bankruptcy by its standing armies. The same reason is often given in explanation of the financial difficulties which France or Poland or Central Europe is going through to-day. Comparisons are made to show the enormous cost of maintaining a million able-bodied men in idleness, and an expensive apparatus to keep them busy besides for, paradoxical as it may sound, even idle men must be kept busy at something. Mutatis mutandis, does n't this describe at least one aspect of the American college problem? If my estimate of $1500 per

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annum is correct, what is the cost of 600,000 students? Is not $900,000,000 per annum a substantial amount? But is that the entire cost? We are frequently told that, no matter how high the tuition fees, no student pays more than twenty or twenty-five per cent of what it costs the college to instruct him. The expenditures of college over and above the income from college fees must be added. They may amount to some $300,000,000 or $400,000,000 per annum. And what about the loss of income from capital investments? What about the continuous capital outlays which are required to meet the demands of a constantly increasing student population? Is there a college or a college president who is not continuously soliciting funds?

Limiting the number of students, selection on psychological, financial, or any other grounds, all this may help to save an individual institution, but it only aggravates the problem, for it strengthens the illusion of those great advantages which may be derived from a college education. In the final analysis it is the wishes of the people, not the decision of the college authorities, that will decide the size of the student population in this country.

Let us say that the college bill amounts to nearly $2,000,000,000, a respectable amount for even this rich country. Added to this is the enforced idleness, the nonproductive existence,

of an army of 600,000 young men and women. And the army is rapidly growing, and the cost figures are increasing even more rapidly than the army.

Now it would seem to be good social ethics, or common sense, that a privileged standing ought to have some justification. Surely that should hold true in an ideal democracy such as ours. The privilege of a college education, the privilege of postponing entrance upon one's life's duties in this workaday world until the age of twenty-two or twenty-three, ought to be worthy of some justification to the other social groups not so privileged; to the other age groups within its own social class; and to college youth itself.


The extension of the schooling period from fourteen to eighteen, through the democratization of the high schools, corresponds with the views held by an increasing number of physiologists, psychologists, educators, and students of social conditions, that it is wise and useful to postpone entrance into modern productive industry to fourteen, or sixteen, and for many industries to eighteen, years of age. If this prolonged childhood will give children a better chance in later life, surely modern American society can afford it. Whatever the fiscal arrangements, whatever the shifting of cost depending upon distribution of wealth and income and our system of taxation, society can well afford to say: 'We, the grown-up people, young as well as middle-aged, are willing to carry the burden, individually for the good of our children, collectively for the good of the next generation and of the country at large. It is up to us to do the world's work while the old folks rest and young folks are getting ready.'

that group which makes up the student body of our colleges? The college period extends from the age of eighteen to twenty-three or more. Physically our students are grown up. They are able to do the work that has to be done: athletic feats would seem to demonstrate that. Their health is usually above the average. For physiological reasons they have an oversupply of energy, which they should dispose of in order not to get into mischief. A very expensive apparatus must be furnished to meet that need in a wasteful way. Not so very long ago persons at their age were the fathers and mothers of the race. Surely they are or ought to be self-supporting-not in positions of leadership, of course, but in the rank and file. Even now the other eleven out of twelve, those who are not in college, are employed in industry, commerce, arts, in every line of endeavor except science and the learned professions. Surely even we complacent middleaged Americans do not mean to say, 'Let the middle-aged and the old folks, those of fifty years and over, work more and harder, so that our boys and girls between eighteen and twenty-four may have more time to play while they are studying a little.' But that is exactly what we are doing.

Is this policy justified? If so, what is the justification?

The traditional reply is obvious: 'You are paying for the education of the children. Do you question the value of education?'

I do not. But I am beginning to question the meaning of the word in its application to a present-day college.

In whatever I have said, and will say presently, I am not referring to professional and technical education. But college, undergraduate college, is not vocational. It deals with that ill-defined entity often described as 'culture' or

But is the situation at all similar for general education. Far be it from me

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