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March 26, 1938


Author Affiliations

Visiting Professor of Education, Smith College NORTHAMPTON, MASS.

JAMA. 1938;110(13):941-944. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.02790130001001

The latest report of the president of Harvard University to the Board of Overseers has caused a considerable stir among educators, professional men and women and in the general public. One of the passages most frequently quoted reads that "we are in danger of reaching the condition already so acute on the continent of Europe, where the problem of unemployment in the learned professions demands attention even in countries wracked by political and economic trouble." President Conant by implication ascribes this state of affairs to excessive student enrolments. "No one knows," he says, "how serious is the unemployment of university men, but it seems to me highly probable that a diminution in the total number of students in the universities of this country is desirable."

These statements contain a most timely warning, but the suggestion that student enrolments should be diminished requires further careful analysis. There can be no doubt