Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6


Low Tuitions

In some of our schools the price of tuitions has been too low. This has in many ways been detrimental to the educational work. It has brought discouraging debt; it has thrown upon the management a continual suspicion of miscalculation, want of economy, and wrong planning; it has been very discouraging to the teachers; and it leads the people to demand correspondingly low prices in other schools. Whatever may have been the object in placing the tuition at less than a living rate, the fact that a school has been running behind heavily is sufficient reason for reconsidering the plans and arranging its charges so that in the future its showing may be different. The amount charged for tuition, board, and residence should be sufficient to pay the salaries of the faculty, to supply the table with an abundance of healthful, nourishing food, to maintain the furnishing of the rooms, to keep the buildings in repair, and to meet other necessary running expenses. This is an important matter and calls for no narrow calculation, but for a thorough investigation. The counsel of the Lord is needed. The school should have a sufficient income not only to pay the necessary running expenses, but to be able to furnish the students during the school term with some things essential for their work. 6T 210.3

Debts must not be allowed to accumulate term after term. The very highest kind of education that could be given is to shun the incurring of debt as you would shun disease. When one year after another passes, and there is no sign of diminishing the debt, but it is rather increased, a halt should be called. Let the managers say: “We refuse to run the school any longer unless some sure system is devised.” It would be better, far better, to close the school until the managers learn the science of conducting it on a paying basis. For Christ's sake, as the chosen people of God, call yourselves to task and inaugurate a sound financial system in our schools. 6T 211.1

Whenever it becomes necessary to raise the prices at any school, let the matter first be laid before the patrons of the institution, showing them that the fees have been placed at too low a figure and that, as a result, debts are accumulating upon the school, thus crippling and hindering its work. Properly increasing the tuitions may cause a decrease in the attendance, but a large attendance should not be so much a matter of rejoicing as freedom from debt. 6T 211.2

One of the results of low tuition at Battle Creek has been the gathering together in one place of a larger number of students and a larger number of families than was wise. If two thirds of the people in Battle Creek were plants of the Lord in other localities, they would have room to grow. Greater results would have appeared if a portion of the time and energy bestowed on the large school in Battle Creek to keep it in a healthy condition had been used for schools in other localities where there is room for agricultural pursuits to be carried on as a part of the education. Had there been a willingness to follow the Lord's ways and His plans, many plants would now be growing in other places. Over and over again the word of the Lord has come to us that plants both of churches and of schools should be made in other localities, that there were too many weighty responsibilities in one place. Get the people out of the large centers and establish interests in other places, is the instruction given. Had this instruction been heeded, had there been a distribution of means and facilities, the money expended on the extra college buildings at Battle Creek would have abundantly provided for two new plants in other localities, and the tree would have grown and borne such fruit as has not been seen, because men choose to follow their own wisdom. 6T 211.3

Our brethren say the plea comes from ministers and parents that there are scores of young people in our ranks who need the advantages of our training schools, who cannot attend unless tuitions are less. But those who plead for low tuitions should carefully weigh matters on all sides. If students cannot of themselves command sufficient means to pay the actual expense of good and faithful work in their education, is it not better that their parents, their friends, the churches to which they belong, or large-hearted, benevolent brethren in their conference, should assist them than that a burden of debt should be brought upon the school? It would be far better to let the many patrons of the institution share the expense than for the school to run in debt. 6T 212.1

Methods must be devised to prevent the accumulation of debt upon our institutions. The whole cause must not be made to suffer because of debt which will never be lifted unless there is an entire change and the work is carried forward on some different basis. Let all who have acted a part in allowing this cloud of debt to cover them now feel it their duty to do what they can to remove it. 6T 213.1