This section is from the "The Subvention In The State Finances Of Pennsylvania" book, by Frederic B. Garver.
Accordingly, the state superintendent refused to pay the appropriation and the legislature apparently agreed, for thereafter no subvention was made to the school. This case is significant because it shows a tendency in two departments of the state administration to construe strictly those sections of the constitution prohibiting appropriations to sectarian institutions.
The Subventions for Higher Education The annual subvention to colleges, which had been abandoned when financial disaster overtook the state, in 1844, *156 has never been revived.
156 See fourth section of Chapter IV.
In recent years, however, large amounts have been appropriated, by special enactments, to assist colleges and universities. With the exception of occasional grants to the State College and the Philadelphia Polyclinic, the large grants of the present time date from 1887. Since that year the former institution has received a substantial appropriation annually. As Table III, Appendix, shows, the amount of the subvention to colleges and academies has fluctuated greatly. When the state treasury was in danger of a deficit during the years 1899 to 1901, the appropriations were reduced, in part by the legislature, and in part by the governor's veto.
No policy with respect to these grants to colleges has as yet been developed, except in the case of the State College. This institution is now governed by a board of trustees composed in part of certain state officers who serve ex-officio, in part of members representing the alumni association, and, in part, of the representatives of agricultural and kindred societies. The college is a land-grant school and in most respects is regarded as a state institution. It now receives the major part of its revenue from the state and from the federal government.
Although the state has appropriated liberally toward the support of both the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburg, it has no voice in their management. They receive aid both for maintenance and for building purposes.
The principal defect of the subventions to these two universities is that they are lacking in stability and system. The state is not bound to aid either institution and the amount that each receives is affected by all the uncertain conditions surrounding the passage of an extraordinary appropriation bill. It has also been urged that if the state gives the public funds to support these colleges, it should have a voice in their management. Assuming, however, that the money appropriated for their support would not be of more benefit if used for elementary or secondary education, or for other services, the grants cannot be seriously criticised.