Although the focus of the CGS International Graduate Admissions Survey is on the participation of international students in US graduate schools, the 2015 survey also asked respondents to provide preliminary data on the participation of US citizens and permanent residents. As this analysis will show, there was a 2% increase in first-time graduate enrollments among US citizens and permanent residents between Fall 2014 and Fall 2015.
Student debt has become a dominant topic of discussion in graduate education in recent years. The topic of graduate student financial support has also been consistently noted as one of the chief concerns among CGS member graduate deans (Allum, 2014); however, as the circumstances vary by each and every campus, there is no single data point or figure that can fully capture the condition of graduate student debt. More detail is the key to shedding some light on this issue, and graduate deans wishing to explain the state of graduate student debt on their respective campuses will need to either uncover some data on their own or in collaboration with other campus offices. This article will help do that by expanding upon an existing CGS resource, Understanding Graduate Student Debt Data (Council of Graduate Schools, 2014b), offering some specifics about the current state of graduate student debt, and posing some general questions that graduate deans might consider answering for themselves.
There is little disagreement about the overall size of doctoral institutions in terms of graduate enrollment at U.S.-based institutions. According to the most recent CGS/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees (Allum & Okahana, 2015), more than two-thirds (71%) of first-time graduate students enrolled in Fall 2014 were enrolled at doctoral institutions, while 25% were enrolled at master’s institutions, and 3% were enrolled at other institutions. Yet the aggregation of first-time graduate enrollment data into a single category of doctoral institutions obscures notable differences within Carnegie classifications. As this Data Sources article will illustrate, this is particularly true over the course of the past decade.
When examined in aggregate, it is easy to understand why data regarding graduate enrollment and degrees in the broad field of engineering should be of interest. For one, it is a large field of study.With over 150,000 graduate students enrolled in Fall 2014, the field of engineering was the largest field of study in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, and the fourth largest field of study overall, according to the 2014 CGS/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees (Allum & Okahana, in press). Engineering made up 10% of all graduate students enrolled in Fall 2014, and 9% of all degrees awarded in 2013-14. The field of engineering has also been traditionally composed largely of men. In fact, three-quarters (76%) of engineering students in Fall 2014 were men, while 24% were women, a distribution that is generally the same regardless of enrollment intensity (part-time vs. full-time) and degree objective (doctoral vs. master’s and graduate certificate).
While the CGS Graduate Enrollment & Degrees by Fine Field report (Allum, 2014b) and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences’ Humanities Indicators (2015) provide detailed information about enrollment and degrees in the arts and humanities and related disciplines, neither describe the number of academic programs available across all U.S. institutions. This article aims to supplement these resources, as well as departmental-level studies conducted in recent years (White, Chu, and Czujko, 2014; White, Ivie, and Czujko, 2009) with program-level information using data from the most recent Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (U.S. Department of Education, 2013).
Master’s education is a large component of the graduate education enterprise. Until now, however, there has been no comprehensive, national dataset capable of describing applications and enrollments of master’s students by citizenship. The CGS International Graduate Admissions Survey began collecting data on applications, offers of admission, and enrollment by citizenship and degree-objective earlier this year, and the results reveal new insight into the size and scope of master’s education.
The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) published Doctoral Initiative on Minority Attrition and Completion (Sowell, Allum, & Okahana, 2015), which discusses patterns of doctoral completion and attrition among underrepresented minority (URM) students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, as well as the experiences of students and graduate programs related to program completion. The publication was made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation (#1138814) as well as the participation of 21 U.S.-based CGS member institutions. The report gives the most comprehensive account of completion and attrition rates of URM STEM doctoral students in the U.S. to date. The full report is available at the CGS website, and this article highlights some of findings.
The CGS International Graduate Admissions Survey is beginning to collect data and reporting findings in ways that disaggregate applications, offers of admission, and enrollment of students according to whether their degree objective is a master’s/certificate degree or doctoral degree. Results generated by this redesign should provide a new way of examining trends in international graduate student application, admission, and enrollment trends, and in anticipation of this new report, this article examines trends in degree production among temporary residents using data from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).
Since the launch of the CGS/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment & Degrees, the number of applications to U.S. graduate programs has grown almost three-fold, from 684,100 in Fall 1986 to 1,971,553 in Fall 2013 (Syverson & Robinson, 1987; Allum, 2014). Although much of the growth in applications has occurred within the past decade, the rate of growth appears to be slowing (Allum, 2014). Examining application patterns in depth may be useful as graduate enrollment management strategies continue to evolve with changes in the higher education ecosystem. The CGS/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment & Degrees is ideal for this purpose, due to the fact that it is the only national survey that collects data on applications to graduate schools by field of study and degreeobjective. This Data Sources article explores changes in applications received, accepted, and not accepted between 2009 and 2013.
In October of 2014, CGS asked graduate deans at member institutions to identify the three most important or “pressing” issues or challenges they currently face in the Fall 2014 version of the CGS Pressing Issues Survey. The findings from this survey will not only inform the graduate community about the concerns of graduate deans, but also help shape sessions at the CGS Summer Workshop and Annual Meeting. These insights will also provide impetus for new CGS best practices projects and research initiatives. The Fall 2014 version of the CGS Pressing Issues Survey was sent to 518 U.S. colleges and universities that were members of CGS as of September 2014. A total of 166 institutions responded to the survey, for a response rate of 32%. Recruitment, admissions, and enrollment tops the list as the most pressing issue for graduate deans as of the fall of 2014, followed closely by student financial support. Graduate program financing and capacity building were ranked third and fourth. Of particular concern are growing demands to generate revenue during times of flat or falling enrollment.