AUGUST 11, 1939
HYDE PARK, Thursday—I had an interesting visit a short time ago from Dr. George S. Benson and Dean Sears of Harding College. I wonder how some of our Eastern Universities would handle the problems which come to the small colleges in some of the Southern and Southwestern States? In the first place, the faculty in these smaller colleges may have great rewards of accomplishment with young people, but actual cash returns are small in Harding College at Searcy, Arkansas. Professors with Ph. D. degrees get $85 a month, and teachers with M.A. degrees $75 a month. Throughout the history of the institution they have frequently taught for whatever the institution was able to pay, and before the close of the school year this has occasionally been as low as $25 a month.
There are thirteen buildings on the campus worth about $600,011. Eighteen different major subjects are offered. There is no endowment and the college has never received large contributions and it receives no regular support from any religious denomination, so it is operated mainly on its own income from tuition and fees and through minor industries under the management of the college. These industries are a laundry plant serving the college and the town, a plant for cleaning, pressing and dyeing; a print shop equipped with linotype, job presses, etc.; a small farm which produces fruit and vegetables and maintains a small herd of Jersey cows for the benefit of the boarding club and the college cafeteria, which provides board for students and teachers.
Two hundred dollars in cash is needed by the college for every student, but many of those applying come from small mountain homes and share-cropper's families and cannot even pay this much. Scholarships of $120 and $150 a year have to be given by interested people so that the students will only need to supply $50 to $80 throughout the year besides their travelling expenses and their clothes. Each student can carry about three hours of actual work outside of the college curriculum.
More than 50 percent of the total student body of Harding College does some work under the direction of the institution to reduce college expenses, and a limited number succeeed in working out all their expenses.
I think you will be interested in one or two of the stories about the students which have come to me inconnection with the college. One boy lived twelve miles from Harding and he walked that each morning and evening and made his grades through a full school year. Another boy travelled sixty miles with two cows, which were all his family could spare for his education. The college helped him to find pasture for his cows and sale for their milk. He milked the cows every morning and night and made his deliveries. He was on the honor roll as an "A" student and finished the school year without any indebtedness to the college.
It is hard to make an evaluation of an education, but sometimes I think that this kind of education is more valuable to youth than the kind which is acquired by young people whose parents can afford to pay for the time spent at the university.