« PreviousContinue »
Statement of DR. THOMAS F. JONES, PRESIDENT, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA For some time now a number of institutions of higher learning in the South have been disturbed about the allocation of fellowships under Title IV of the National Defense Education Act of 1958. There can be little doubt that the more prestigious institutions of our nation have beent favored. The recently announced allocations for the academic year 1967-68 indicate some evidence of a trend away from the imbalance in the awards, but it is apparent that unless corrective measures are taken, the more prestigious institutions will continue to be favored at the expense of those of us who are striving to develop into graduate schools which meet the needs of the regions we serve.
According to the U.S. Office of Education, the objectives of the National Defense Graduate Fellowship Program are to increase the numbers of wellqualified college and university teachers and to develop and expand the capacity of doctoral studies nationwide. Admittedly, the program has increased the nationwide output of well-qualified college and university teachers and helped to develop and expand the nationwide capacity of doctoral studies. It is doubtful, however, that the current methods of administering the Act are the best and most appropriate for the purpose of promoting a wide geographical distribution of doctoral programs, a purpose which is notably absent from the Office of Education's statement of purposes and objectives in its correspondence regarding these fellowships of this past year.
The major cause for concern is the disparity between the relative output of baccalaureate degrees in each state and the percentage of total NDEA Fellowships awarded. The attached tables illustrate both this disparity and the gap between the percentage of awards and the percentage of population by state. It is apparent that the awards are not being made in an effort to achieve the wide geographic distribution as originally intended by the legislation. In fact, for the academic year 1966-67, 25 of the institutions ranked top in terms of size and prestige each received 95 fellowships, or about 50 per cent of the total awards. This year, these same institutions will be receiving a total of 2,064 fellowships, or 34.4 per cent of the total. In addition to the stipends paid directly to NDEA fellows, it is worthy of note that support money in the amount of $2,500 is provided for each student. While we are delighted to see graduate education as a whole supported, we must note that the distribution of fellowships and support funds in such a disproportionate manner cannot help but make these already prestigious institutions larger (but not necessarily better) and further aggravate the already undesirable gap between them and those of us historically in less fortunate circumstances.
One of the most alarming indications is that at least until 1969-70 all institutions will receive "not less than 75 per cent of the number of fellowships allocated for initial use in 1966. Such additional allocations will be made on the basis of each institution's application for 1966 fellowships and will not require a new application." (The underlining is mine.) The big question, of course, is in what manner the Director's Office of NDEA Title IV makes free use of "not less than 75 per cent." This year's awards indicate strict adherence to this clause. Administration of the Act under these conditions inevitably has the tendency to enlarge the strong institutions instead of developing the less strong. It would be unrealistic, indeed, to make too much of comparisons in this manner. However, the question is not whether we are as strong as so-and-so, but more importantly, are we or are we not worthy of support?
We are not only worthy of support, but we, the rapidly emerging institutions, must be supported in developing our graduate schools. We, most of us, are removed geographically from the prestigious institutions. Because there is no strong positive witness of record to graduate study, our young people think in terms of completing the baccalaureate and taking a job, instead of going on to graduate study. The percentage of those who continue to graduate school is far below national averages. Furthermore, those who go away tend to stay away and thereby do not contribute to the development of our backward economy. Strengthening of our graduate schools will rapidly correct both of these regional problems. Our schools and colleges will be better staffed and our economy will have a fighting chance to move into the national mainstream.
The next question, then, is whether the existing method of distribution is fulfilling the original purposes of increasing the number of persons preparing for and entering professional careers as college or university teachers and to expedite their training, encouraging the development and full utilization of the
capacities of graduate programs leading to the doctorate and promoting a wider geographical distribution of such programs and, by means of these fellowships, strengthening and expanding the nation's doctoral study programs.
With respect to the attachments to this letter, we should like to point out the following for your consideration:
1. The original language of the National Defense Education Act of 1958 in Title IV Section 403 (a) had this to say about the awards:
SEC. 403 (a) The Commissioner shall award fellowships under this title to individuals accepted for study in graduate programs approved by him under this section. The Commissioner shall approve a graduate program of an institution of higher education only upon application by the institution and only upon his finding:
(1) that such program is a new program or an existing program which has been expanded,
(2) that such new program or expansion of an existing program will substantially further the objective of increasing the facilities available in the Nation for the graduate training of college or university level teachers and of promoting a wider geographical distribution of such facilities throughout the Nation, and
(3) that in the acceptance of persons for study in such programs preference will be given to persons interested in teaching in institutions of higher education.
2. Public Law 88-665 made the following amendments to the original act: SEC. 402 (a) The first sentence of subsection (a) of Section 403 of the National Defense Education Act of 1958 is amended to read as follows:
"Of the total number of fellowships authorized by Section 402 (a) to be awarded during a fiscal year (1) not less than one thousand five hundred of such fellowships awarded during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1965, and not less than one-third of such fellowships awarded during the three succeeding fiscal years shall be awarded to individuals accepted for study in graduate programs approved by the Commissioner under this section, and (2) the remainder shall be awarded on such bases as he may determine, subject to the the provisions of subsection (c)." The second sentence of subsection (a) of such section is amended by striking out ", and" at the end of clause (2) and inserting in lieu thereof a period, and by striking out clause (3) thereof.
(b) Section 403 (b) of such Act is amended by striking out "under this title" and inserting in lieu thereof “as described in clause (1) of subsection (a)," and by inserting before the period at the end thereof the following: ", and the Commissioner shall give consideration to such objective attendance at any one institution of higher education."
(c) Section 403 of such Act is further amended by adding at the end thereof the following new subsections:
"(c) Recipients of fellowships under this title shall be persons who are interested in teaching, or continuing to teach, in institutions of higher education and are pursuing, or intend to pursue, a course of study leading to a degree of doctor of philosophy or an equivalent degree." Please note that the amendments as contained in 88-665 provided that not less than one-third of the fellowships awarded should be made on the basis of the original language of the National Defense Education Act as passed in 1958, but then permitted the remainder to be made on such bases as the Commissioner may determine. Exhibit 3 is a good example of what happened under this determination. Harvard went from 0 to 95, Yale from 0 to 95, Columbia from 6 to 95, and most of the other "top 25" from less than a dozen to 95. At the same time, the smaller institutions, which had been most encouraged at the outset of the program, went from 12-15 awards out of 1,000 fellowships to a dozen or less out of 6,000 fellowships.
Although going through many amendments (86-70, 86-624, 87-293, 87-344, 87-400, 87-835, 88-210, 88-665, 89-253, and 89-329) the basic purpose is still expressed in Section 403, section (a) of the original language. By the insertion of a single sentence as an amendment (Section 402 (c) in 1964), the basic objectives as outlined above have largely been nullified. This is readily apparent from Exhibit 3, which lists the awards made over the years to those institutions which received 95 fellowships to be awarded in the fall of 1966.
If the basic intent of the law is as stated in Section 403 (a) and is not to give the Commissioner more or less "carte blanche" in "providing opportunities for the growth and development of graduate study programs of excellence," it appears that it may be desirable for the Congress to give serious consideration to revision of the Act. Accordingly, we have enclosed suggested corrective legislation as Exhibit 4 for your consideration.
2 Table 72, Digest of Educational Statistics, OE-10024-65.
NOTE.-Puerto Rico, which received 4 fellowships in both years, has been deleted for ease of calculation.
Distribution of awards for institutions receiving 95 awards for 1966-671
The numbers of awards for the years 1967-68, 1966-67, 1963-64, 1962-63, and 1961-62 were taken from compilations sent out by the Office of Education. The numbers of awards for the other years were compiled by this office from lists of awards by fields published by the Office of Education.
2 Figures are not available for 1959-60.
NDEA, TITLE IV-PROPOSED CORRECTIVE LEGISLATION
In order to achieve more effectively the purposes of the Act, it is recommended that it be amended to require the Office of Education to follow the procedure set out below in allocating and approving fellowships to institutions:
1. The total number of fellowships for the year would be allocated among states according to a two-criteria formula. This formula should reflect the need, state by state, for training college teachers; so, the two criteria would be:
First, the number of bachelor degrees awarded by all higher institutions in the state in the most recent year for which data are available, since this reflects the flow of students who need teachers.
Second, the per cent of the state's college teachers in bachelor degree institutions who do not have the Ph.D., or appropriate terminal degree, since this reflects the need to upgrade the training of teachers now in college positions.
Using this formula a figure would be determined for each state which would be announced as the maximum number of fellowships that could be allocated. 2. The maximum number of fellowships that any single institution could receive would be announced as a single figure, which would be no more than one per cent of the total number of national fellowships.
3. Institutions would be invited (as at present) to submit proposals by academic department or program. These proposals would be evaluated by panels selected from the appropriate fields as at present. The Office of Education would then determine the number of proposals to accept with the total number of fellowships kept within the maximum by state and by institution. Because of the maximum and the possible failure of institutions to propose a sufficient number of approved programs it might be provided that the office of Education should carry over to the following year any unused funds for fellowships. For example, if fellowships fall 300 short of the allocation for the year the total available for all states in the following year would be increased by 300.