Grad School No Longer Guarantees Great Job, Survey Shows

Monday, 07 May 2012 02:22 PM

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The number of people with master’s and doctorate degrees collecting food stamps and other government assistance has more than doubled between 2007 and 2010, The Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

More than 300,000 of the 22 million people with a master’s degree or higher were receiving some public assistance in 2010, according to the Current Population Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau. Some 44 million Americans, overall, are collecting public assistance, and those numbers are dominated by those with less education.

However, between 2007 and 2010, the number of people with master's degrees who received food stamps and other aid climbed from 101,682 to 293,029. Those with Ph.D. degrees who received assistance rose from 9,776 to 33,655. The Chronicle reported the figures were based on research by the Urban Institute’s Austin Nichols and based on the 2008 and 2011 Current Population Surveys by the Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The numbers could even be worse. Karen Kelsky, a former tenured professor who now runs The Professor Is In, an academic-career consulting business, told the Chronicle that “people don't want their faces and names associated with this experience."

"It's gone beyond the joke of the impoverished grad student to becoming something really dire and urgent," she added. "When I was a tenured professor I had no idea that the Ph.D. was a path to food stamps."


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