TUITION INCREASE: Cornell trustees discover brilliant solution to budget deficit


Ezra Cornell

Reads the headline in the Cornell Sun.  The article reports on how the members of the Board of Trustees made this remarkable discovery in a meeting held at the ultra-posh Waldorf-Astoria Hotel:

It was felt necessary to in some way make up the annual deficit in running expenses.   Last June the retiring Alumni Trustees . . . made a report covering the question of this deficit.  Only three methods of meeting the difficulty seemed feasible — cutting down the registration, getting more endowments, or raising the tuition. The report said: “Of these three methods, the first is objectionable, because it must be at once arbitrary and it is in direct opposition to the declared wish of the Founder. The second, for the present, at least, is an uncertain method of replenishment. The third would seem to be the logical and dependable method.”

Apparently a fourth method, cutting spending on administrative bloat and unnecessary faculty (perhaps by requiring faculty members to teach more) did not seem feasible.  Indeed, the trustees favor a tuition hike because it will allow them to increase spending:

Such increase would enable the University to pay better salaries and it would allow an increase in the number of. full professors in lieu of the too great number of instructors. The present increase is expected to a little more than cover the average annual deficit at the present time.

One wonders what Ezra Cornell would think of the trustees’ management of the university, especially given the hope he expressed in his speech to the first entering class that it would “prove highly beneficial to the poor young men and the poor young women of our country.” One wonders where this brilliant idea of increasing tuition to fund ever-higher spending on faculty and administration might ultimately lead . . . .

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