Universities turn to graduate programmes to balance their books

As the number of undergraduates steadily declines in seeming direct proportion to rising costs, debt and the many other obstacles faced by college students in the United States, graduate enrolment is quietly on the upswing, driven by the better job prospects and higher salaries people think it will bring them – and by a conscious strategy among universities to add graduate programmes that produce much-needed revenue, writes Jon Marcus for The Hechinger Report.

While undergraduates get much of the attention, students who pursued graduate and professional degrees now account for 40% of the notorious US$1.5 trillion worth of outstanding national student loan debt, the College Board reports; each owes three times more, on average, than an undergraduate, according to the Urban Institute.

“There’s a lot of frustration,” said Kristofferson Culmer, a doctoral student at the University of Missouri and former president of the National Association of Graduate-Professional Students, for which he’s now the spokesman. “Graduate education is being used to subsidise undergraduate education. Graduate students feel like they’re just a cog in the machine.”
Full report on The Hechinger Report site