Education: Hope for Privates

Private colleges have been pleading poverty in recent years—most eloquently in fund-raising letters mailed out to alumni. Some of the larger, research-oriented universities like Harvard, Columbia, Stanford and Chicago have reason to complain; lately their federal research grants, which represent much of their funding, have been drastically cut. But the case for most of the smaller colleges may well have been overdramatized. Last week the Association of American Colleges, which represents 886 of the smaller private institutions, reported that most of these schools are financially solvent and academically strong—perhaps even stronger than...

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