Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 59.djvu/187

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

Of 322 so-called colleges and universities:

206 had 0 to 10 in the faculty.
99 " 10 " 20   " "
17 " 20 or over   " "

If the statistics were forthcoming—and possibly they may exist— we might also get an idea of the standing of these institutions and their approach to the true university idea, by the average age of the scholars. Possibly also the ratio of number of scholars to teachers might be of some help. All these methods give an approximation to the present standing of the institutions. But there is another method of attacking the problem, which is very exact, but it only gives us the possibilities of which the institution is capable. I refer to the wealth of the institution. In estimating the wealth, I have not included the value of grounds and buildings, for this is of little importance, either to the present or future standing of the institution. As good work can be done in a hovel as in a palace. I have taken the productive funds of the institution as the basis of estimate. I find:

234 have below $500,000
8   "  between $500,000 and $1,000,000
8   "  over $1,000,000

There is no fact more firmly established, all over the world, than that the higher education can never be made to pay for itself. Usually the cost to a college, of educating a young man, very much exceeds what he pays for it, and is often three or four times as much. The higher the education, the greater this proportion will be; and a university of the highest class should anticipate only a small accession to its income from the fees of students. Hence the test I have applied must give a true representation of the possibilities in every case. According to the figures, only sixteen colleges and universities have $500,000 or over of invested funds, and only one-half of these have $1,000,000 and over. Now, even the latter sum is a very small endowment for a college; and to call any institution a university which has less than $1,000,000, is to render it absurd in the face of the world. And yet more than 100 of our institutions, many of them very respectable colleges, have abused the word 'university' in this manner. It is to be hoped that the endowment of the more respectable of these institutions may be increased, as many of them deserve it; and their unfortunate appellation has probably been repented of long since.

But what shall we think of a community that gives the charter of a university to an institution with a total of $20,000 endowment, two so-called professors, and eighteen students! or another with three professors, twelve students, and a total of $27,000 endowment, mostly