Welcome Letter to 113th Congress
    January 22, 2014

    Dear Members of the 113th Congress:

     

    As you return for the second session of the 113th Congress, you will be considering a number of issues that are key to the future of American job growth, innovation and productivity. To meet these priorities, the U.S. will need to recognize the critical role of graduate education in producing the highly skilled individuals that fuel innovation and top-level research activities. The U.S. cannot afford to lose its place as a producer of, and magnet for, top talent in today's global economy, especially as many countries compete to attract master's and doctoral degree holders.

     

    The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) represents over 500 universities and is the only national organization dedicated solely to the advancement of graduate education and research. CGS member institutions award more than 92 percent of all U.S. doctorates and nearly 80 percent of all U.S. master's degrees. The nation's graduate schools are the epicenters of discovery, innovation, and application, leading to advancements that affect every American. Every day graduate school faculty and students are conducting leading-edge research, creating and sharing knowledge, and teaching the next generation of our leaders, scholars, scientists, and professionals.

     

    Among the many issues that may receive congressional consideration this year are the reauthorizations of the Higher Education Act (HEA) and America COMPETES, along with immigration reform. Each of these has implications for graduate students and graduate education. I urge you to consider the following issues:

     

    • With respect to federal student loans, talented Americans must not be disadvantaged for pursuing graduate study. Because of recent congressional actions, graduate students are paying more for their student loans, a disparity that has been particularly hard-hitting for underrepresented minorities and master's degree students.
    • With respect to America COMPETES, graduate students at all levels need broader career options and pathways to jobs in government, non-profit organizations and businesses. Six recent reports on graduate education reform support this goal and form the basis for suggested changes to the Twenty-First Century Graduate Education section in current law.
    • Immigration reform is critical to ensuring that the U.S. can continue to attract top talent. Our economy would greatly benefit from allowing international students who have received advanced degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines to earn green cards and work in jobs related to their fields of study.

     

    Please take into account the needs of those obtaining master's degrees and doctoral degrees and the programs that support them as you work on legislation this year. Our research, data and best practices reports can be a resource for you as issues related to graduate education and research are considered over the coming months.

     

    I would welcome an opportunity to discuss these and other issues affecting graduate education with you and your staff. Please do not hesitate to contact us at (202) 223-3791, we look forward to working with you on these important issues.

     

    Sincerely,

    Debra W. Stewart

     

    CGS is the leading source of information, data analysis, and trends in graduate education. Our benchmarking data help member institutions to assess performance in key areas, make informed decisions, and develop plans that are suited to their goals.
    CGS Best Practice initiatives address common challenges in graduate education by supporting institutional innovations and sharing effective practices with the graduate community. Our programs have provided millions of dollars of support for improvement and innovation projects at member institutions.
    As the national voice for graduate education, CGS serves as a resource on issues regarding graduate education, research, and scholarship. CGS collaborates with other national stakeholders to advance the graduate education community in the policy and advocacy arenas.  
    CGS is an authority on global trends in graduate education and a leader in the international graduate community. Our resources and meetings on global issues help members internationalize their campuses, develop sustainable collaborations, and prepare their students for a global future.