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Bad economy influencing graduate schools?

  1. Jul 3, 2008 #1
    I was wondering whether or not the new state of the economy (recession) will have much of an effect on graduate school as far as whether schools won't offer as many stipends due to increased living expenses or what not.

    Any insight?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 3, 2008 #2
    Well in my department, this fall's incoming class is a factor of 4/3 larger than my class was last year. The raise we got this year wasn't as high as it should have been (an extra $50/month...), but that's about it. Apparently the bad economy hasn't had an impact on us.
  4. Jul 4, 2008 #3
    Don't forget that bad economies drive people into graduate school, too. People losing jobs, or new graduates who are finding it tough on the job market, want to "park" themselves in grad school for a few more years hoping things get better.

    More demand means they don't need (or can't) offer as much support, or you might find it harder to get in at all.
  5. Jul 4, 2008 #4
    Hooray economy shelter!
  6. Jul 4, 2008 #5


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    Isn't there the possibility that these grad students, once they are done with with their grad studies would be over-qualified for jobs in the market? Wouldn't such decrease their employability even further?
  7. Jul 4, 2008 #6
    I don't really buy into this. The people going to the top grad schools have been planning to do so for a long time. (Personally, I began making plans during my freshman year.) If you're truly serious about grad school, you won't have much competition from people who decided to hit the snooze button.
  8. Jul 4, 2008 #7


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    My undergrad college sends me begging letters, the place I went to grad school doesn't.
    Apparently this is policy, they decided it's a waste of time looking for money from anyone who got a PhD!
  9. Jul 4, 2008 #8
    Actually, it's the exact opposite with me... I *never* hear from the school where I was an undergraduate, but the school I got my Ph.D. from sends magazines, letters, postcards etc. etc.
  10. Jul 4, 2008 #9

    Vanadium 50

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    First, a recession has a very specific meaning: at least two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth, and thus far we haven't had one. In your scientific career, it will help you to use words properly.

    Second, there have been cutbacks in students, but not because the economy as a whole has been underperforming. It's because the federal budget for science has not been keeping up with inflation and in some places shrinking. This mostly affects 3rd and later year students on research assistantships, but it's only a matter of time before this affects admissions: if you only can afford 15 third-years, there's no point in admitting 30 first-years.
  11. Jan 17, 2009 #10
    Does anyone have any data on this? I know someone posted at cosmicvariance that the number of applicants went down this year.
  12. Jan 17, 2009 #11


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    I agree with Vanadium. Any effect on admissions wont happen till 2010 or possibly later. From what Ive read there hasnt been anything unusual about the number of apps for 2009. It seems that as far as 2009 is concerned its business as usual However the new administration has been talking about the importance of STEM education so there might be a slight increase in funding at the expense of inflation. NSF has a budget of about 7 billion although a whole lot of money is likely to go to banks to start giving out more loans which I doubt they will (I would take their free money but I wouldnt give out loans given the econ climate). I am not sure how the number of apps will change.
  13. Jan 17, 2009 #12

    I read an article a few days ago about an unusually low number of GRE test takers this year despite the economy. I'm hoping this means we wont see a huge increase in applicants! I'll try to dig up the article.

    edit - here's the link:
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2009
  14. Jan 17, 2009 #13
    Brandeis isn't admitting any math grad students this semester. They made this decision about a month ago, and they refunded hopefuls' application fees, with the option of deferring their applications until next year at no charge.

    Whether this is a result of the current economic situation, they did not say...
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