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October 15, 1921

Blanche Ferry Hooker ’94, chairman of the New York metropolitan district committee for the college’s $3 million faculty salary endowment campaign, explained in The New York Times both why Vassar needed to double the endowment fund and why suggestions that it meet its needs by raising tuition were wrongheaded. Citing the “loyalty and self-sacrifice” of a faculty that had stayed at Vassar while all other comparable institutions had raised compensation well above pre-war levels, she said that under a new salary scale, competitive with the other colleges, “professors will be paid not less than $4,000 nor more than $5,000 [annually], and other teachers will share in like proportion.”

As to why the college wasn’t raising tuition to meet the need, she said “Only those familiar with Vassar can answer this. The reason is that with an increased tuition Vassar would soon become a college filled only with the daughters of wealthy parents…. This is absolutely contrary to the principles upon which Matthew Vassar founded the institution. Although limited to 1,000 students each year, wealth plays no part in the scholastic life. The girl in moderate circumstances is upon an absolutely equal footing with the millionaire’s daughter, and receives exactly the same benefits. There never can be any class distinction of wealth at Vassar.”

The Years