Presentation on theme: "KELLY RELLER BARNARD FINANCIAL AID: 1889-1899. From the very start, Barnard College’s funding trickled in primarily from the tuition paid by its small."— Presentation transcript:
From the very start, Barnard College’s funding trickled in primarily from the tuition paid by its small pool of students. While opening an institution and running on $150 per pupil, the endeavor that was Barnard could be seen as a risky one, especially with a nearly nonexistent donor list and endowment. Based on the trying circumstances that surrounded Barnard’s early years, I wanted to explore what all of this meant for the Barnard student at this time. Though the college was relying mainly on the tuition of students early on, was there any reliance on the college by the student for tuition assistance? Were there established scholarships? Was there a financial aid system? If so, how was it distributed amongst the college’s first students? From whom did Barnard financial aid spring?
When I started researching Barnard’s early scholarship and financial aid scene, I quickly realized that this story is one that cannot be adequately described in a thirty-year span, or even one of twenty years for that matter. The rapid growth of the college’s financial aid presence deserves to be highlighted by looking at steps of this process, rather than the ambiguous “big picture.” With that, I decided to place my focus on the first decade of the college’s existence, and I soon found that Barnard’s archives are adequately stocked with enough material to reveal trends in this area of the then-new college’s existence. Through the information given in this presentation, I hope to give an answer to the question of who early financial aid was for, and by whom it was granted.
NOVEMBER 18, 1889 The earliest recorded minutes of the Students’ Committee are found within the Barnard College Executive Committee Minutes collection (Sep. 27, 1889 - May 26, 1890). Original members of the Students’ Committee: Frances Fisher Wood B.A., Vassar ’74 33 West 47 th Street New York, NY Alice Williams Michigan ’76 (unmarried) Weedsport, NY Helen Dawes Brown (Chairwoman) B.A., M.A., Vassar ’78, ’90 22 West 60 th Street New York, NY
MAY 12, 1893 * Since the initial founding of the Students’ Committee, the committee’s purpose has evolved into one that solely focuses on the raising and distribution of scholarship funds. The Committee’s report of the 1892-1893 academic year reveals that special events have been hosted to raise funds. This included a lecture by Mrs. Elizabeth B. Custer (wife of General George Custer), which raised $260 in ticket sales. According to the report*, all money raised by fundraising goes into the treasury for tuition scholarships. *Student Scholarship Committee, 1892-1893, Box 6, Board of Trustees—Committees Folder, Barnard College Archives, New York.
1892-1893 SCHOLARSHIP FUNDS Mary Billings: $50 Elizabeth Billings: $50 Mrs. James Talcott: $50 Mrs. James P. Kimball: $50 Smaller donor amounts total: $50 Total funds raised (after event expenses): $448 “The experience of three years shows that the Students’ Committee is able to take the responsibility of about three scholarships, or the payment of tuition for three students, but not more.” –1892-93 Report Two $150 scholarships (full tuition) were awarded to students, while one senior received $150 to “defray fees and private expenses.”
STUDENTS’ COMMITTEE 1893-1894 “…with the growth of the College, one other duty has constantly increased in importance, --that of providing financial aid for needy Students. The Students’ Committee, in reality, has become a Scholarship Committee.” At this point in the Committee’s development, it has become apparent that the need for student financial support at Barnard is strong—and growing. The tuition of six students was supported by the committee in this academic year’s report*. *Student Scholarship Committee, 1893-1894, Box 6, Board of Trustees—Committees Folder, Barnard College Archives, New York.
1893-1894 SCHOLARSHIP FUNDS “The Committee renews it plea for scholarships. We need preferably, of course, full scholarships… …but formulations much smaller would be most gratefully received. And every dollar could be made double in preparing girls for life… …No words are needed to prove how lasting and beautiful a benefaction is the gift of an education to generation after generation of girls—for all the future.” -1893 – 1894 Report This year, a lecture by Mr. F. Edwin Elwell provided a full $150 tuition, in addition to a $150 donation by Emily D. Gibbs. However, the expressed need for aid left the Committee calling for increased offerings. The Committee’s burden is lessened that same academic year, however, when Barnard’s Executive Committee introduced a scholarship of $100 for an incoming student with the best entrance exam score. Additionally, a $150 annual memorial scholarship was established by the pupils of Ella Weed. This was to become available within the next year.
JANUARY 27, 1894, COMMITTEE UPDATE “The committee feels strongly the need for established scholarships. This hand-to-mouth way of raising money from year to year makes us very uncertain of what we can promise, and wearies givers who might be helping the college in some larger way… …Barnard College scholarships, of larger or smaller amount, permanently established in preparatory schools of New York or the suburbs, would have an excellent influence, we think. Such a scholarship is to be offered in the Jersey City High School this year, through the efforts of a number of last year’s class.”
1894-1895 SCHOLARSHIP REPORT* The number of students requiring aid has averaged out to around five or six. Even though the sharp increase has plateaued, the Committee still expresses concern over funds, especially as its top donors are members of the board itself. “With the wider future to which we look so confidently for Barnard College, we may hope to increase our means of helping young women of ability and ambition, who lack merely the money for an education. Yet the proportion of those who receive aid, to the whole number of students, is at present as large as one would be healthy or desirable at any time—so the Scholarship Committee feel.” -1894 – 1895 Report *Student Scholarship Committee, 1894-1895, Box 6, Board of Trustees—Committees Folder, Barnard College Archives, New York.
1894-1895 SCHOLARSHIP FUNDS Donations (verbatim) Miss Billings: $150 Mrs. Moir: $100 Mrs. Talcott: $50 Miss Williams: $50 Miss Farrant: $45 Mrs. Holt: $10 Mrs. Kimball: $10 Mrs. J.S. Pyle: $10 Mrs. Dodge: $5 Miss Benedict: $5 Mrs. Charles Stewart Smith: $10 TOTAL: $445 Update Committee Roster Helen Dawes Brown (chairwoman) Mrs. James Talcott Alice Williams Mary Billings Mrs. William Moir Mrs. Francis P. Kinnicutt Mrs. Mary Mapes Dodge Mrs. C.A. Ruckle
MAY 8, 1896 SCHOLARSHIP REPORT* “has been almost entirely provided by members of the Committee, for whose generous and loyal cooperation the chair[wo]man is most grateful.” Five students received financial aid in the 1895-1896 year. However, despite having a managed number of pupils requiring assistance, the Committee lacks outside support, as the $450 granted in this academic year “has been almost entirely provided by members of the Committee, for whose generous and loyal cooperation the chair[wo]man is most grateful.” The annual Ella Weed Scholarship of $150 (full tuition) is in effect, but remains the only established scholarship. *Student Scholarship Committee, 1895-1896, Box 6, Board of Trustees—Committees Folder, Barnard College Archives, New York.
1895-1896 SCHOLARSHIP REPORT Within the Executive Board minutes of November 15, 1985, the earlier suggestion of a “loan fund” as an option for financial aid is rejected. The Students’ Committee (still going under this name despite its direct work with scholarships) rules “in favor of making assistance to students as a gift rather than a loan.” Seemingly committed to the idea of providing “needy” students with loan-free aid, the Committee—mainly self-supported at this point—will soon see the institution of established scholarships.
NEW FUNDS By the fall of 1896, the Students’ Committee saw five established scholarships (in addition to Ella Weed): Fiske Scholarship Curtis Scholarship Jennie B. Clarkson Scholarship Veltin Scholarship Hermann Botanical Scholarship And by October of 1897, a letter arrived to the Executive Committee from Olivia E. Phelps Stokes of Switzerland. Enclosed was a check for $5,000, which was to become the basis for the Arthur Brooks Fund, named after longtime Board of Trustees Chairman.
NEW FUNDS, CONT. By September of 1899, $6,000 was gifted to the college by Emily H. Bourne for the establishment of two annual $150 scholarships. They were dubbed the Emily James Smith Scholarship (after the then-dean) and the Anna E. Barnard Scholarship “in honor of Mrs. General G. Barnard.”
By the onset of the twentieth century, the number of outside scholarship donations had begun increasing rapidly. No longer did the Students’ Committee fully rely on itself to provide scholarships to incoming Barnard students. “BARNARD COLLEGE CLASS OF 1899 GRADUATION PORTRAIT.” 1899. PHOTOGRAPHS – CLASS PORTRAITS. BARNARD DIGITAL COLLECTIONS.
There is much more information on the topic of Barnard financial aid and scholarships that I want to explore. Just over a decade after the school’s opening, the number of scholarships available for Barnard students skyrocketed, along with the monetary value of each. While the information I uncovered here is interesting in itself, it will be further complemented by later comparison to the financial aid data of the college's following decades. I hope to carry this theme into my next project by delving into the early decades of twentieth-century Barnard financial aid and scholarships, along with the donors that made them possible.