1938 Alumni Association Report

Mar 15, 2015

From several hundred dollars and a log cabin in 1842 to the present University of Notre Dame is a story that can only conclude with a tribute to the administration of those first meager resources and the additions which time, not without tribulation, has brought.  No one, therefore, has ever questioned the business policies of Notre Dame. No one has doubted the foresight and the acumen of those in whose hands these policies have rested through the years. This universal respect has resulted however, in a lack of knowledge of conditions which transition has created,

particularly in recent years. Through the pages of the ALUMNUS, we hope to clarify Notre Dame's position so that alumni and, through them, friends of Notre Dame, may have a more vivid picture of the needs of the University in its modem status. We hope to present Notre Dame in such a way that none of its past laurels are lost, but in such a way that the laurels of new victories may continue to be the mark of a march of progress that so richly deserves  perpetuation. The University's fiscal year of 1936-37 seems most logical as Exhibit "A."

Endowment Income

First of all, and very significant in a presentation of needs, is the fact that only 2% of the University's income is derived from its permanent endowment.  So that 98% of the annual income is derived from sources that are subject to considerable fluctuation — enrollment, athletics, and miscellaneous sources such as gifts and bequests. This situation does not make for stability of personnel, or those extracurricular projects of research and broad academic significance whichare the marks of the great universities. Students Pay 64% Alumni, and present students, who have attributed the rapid growth of the University to a more than adequate compensation from student fees, may be surprised to learn that theNotre Dame student pays only 64% of the amouint required to give him his education. In spite of its needs, and in spite of its growth with resulting improvement in educational facilities, the present student costs at Notre Dame compare most favorably with institutions offering comparable advantages. And, from the total income of the University from all sources, 8% is returned to the student in student aid, and 4% in scholarships and prizes. Nor does that 12% include 545,000 in NYA funds which were distributed among the Notre Dame students last year.

Athletics Return 18%

Very fortunately, in recent years, fortune has not only smiled on Notre Dame athletics, but has risen substantially from them. While maintaining a broad physical program in keeping with general student welfare, and the best academictraditions of American colleges, Notre Dame's spirit has caught the fancy of an American public which is willing to pay for its pleasure, so that the University's competitive, intercollegiate program has returned revenues equalling 18% of the annual income. We believe that, in the absence of an alumni body rich in material resources, Notre Dame men should lean backward to facilitate conditions which, in exchange for a sound program of athletics for all, have enabled the University to enjoy low student fees and a continuing program of intellectual and physical  progress not otherwise possible.

Miscellaneous Income Totals 16%

Income from miscellaneous sources, the bookstore, candy store and other campus facilities, interest on investments other than permanent endowment, and gifts and bequests, totaled 16% of the annual income. We do not believe that public interest in Notre Dame athletics will fade. We subscribe to the theory that Notre Dame spirit produces winning teams, and not that winning teams produce Notre Dame spirit. But there is always the possibility that public interest in athletics generally may fluctuate under changes in economic and social conditions. Similarly, in another great source of income, student enrollment may respond to conditions beyond the University's control. The last five have witnessed a 22% drop in student enrollment from the peak figure. Happily this has been largely restored to what is now arbitrary capacity, but the experience confirms the possibility of income recession from this source. And in the third source of income other than permanent endowment, namely the miscellaneous gifts and bequests, unless there is a continuous program and a constant effort on the part of alumni and friends to strengthen this supplementing of the University's resources, there is a hazard to the progress of the University which the administration is bound to face with increasing qualms. Boarding, housing, laundry and infirmary demand 45% of the annual expenditures. Instructional costs require 21%.  Administration and maintenance now total 16%. The athletics-for-all program, much of it non-revenue activity, uses up 12% of all expenditures. Scholarships and prizes exhaust 4% (the 8% student aid is included in these general expenditure percentages and is distributed among them). The libraries alone cost 2% of the total yearly outlay. And last year 16% of the annual income was made available for new buildings.

Complexities Require Aid

It is obvious, in considering the above figures, that Notre Dame is no longer a simple institution where unpaid teachers provide education; where a college-owned farm feeds the personnel; where the plans and labor of modest buildings come from the members of the Community; in short where the Notre Dame man in all walks can continue to capitalize on the vow of poverty of the Congregation of Holy Cross, freely and wholeheartedly as this service was given. Logically, Notre Dame must and can look for aid to those men, alumni and present students, who in the past, as well as today, have been the beneficiaries of those contributions which have enabled Notre Dame to offer a thorough Catholic education at muchless than actual cost. The Notre Dame student now receives his education at a cost from $100 to |500 less than at most of the institutions comparable to Notre Dame.

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