The Chronicle for Higher Education found that “new Ph.D.’s who graduate with debt are shouldering heavier burdens than ever before.” In an article in the Chronicle entitled, “Many New Ph.D.’s Emerge Deeper in Debt Than in the Past, Annual Survey Shows,” only 16% of doctoral recipients in 2012 used their own financial resources to pay their way through the Ph.D. program, down from 17.9% in 2010.
Also, the same survey found that in 2012, almost 18.5% of doctoral recipients had graduated with debt of $30,001 or more. A decade earlier, in 2002, 16% of doctoral recipients carried a similar burden. The article quoted National Science Foundation social-science analyst Mark Fiegener, who said that he could only hope that Ph.D. candidates understood the problems of going into debt for a Ph.D. program: “Everybody thinks they’re going to be the best…they don’t realize how few people get tenure-track jobs at the best schools.” Fiegener discovered that in 2011, only 65% of doctoral recipients had a job or planned to go to more schooling, the lowest number in a decade.
There were small increases of doctoral recipients in the humanities, the study found, and fewer Ph.D. recipients said they would pursue post-doctoral studies because of the job market. Fiegener contended that this showed an uptick in the academic job market because they could have found more long-term commitments or jobs. Also, the study noted that 54% of doctoral recipients were male, down from 55% in 2002 and 53% of doctoral recipients were white.
The data came from the Survey of Earned Doctorates.
Spencer Irvine is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.
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