The Graduate Glut

Feb 28 2013 @ 8:00am



Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust recently criticized [NYT] the Obama administration’s College Scorecard for its focus on graduate earnings. She cited her first low-paying job at the Department of Housing and Urban Development as a valuable experience that would have nonetheless counted against Bryn Mawr, her alma mater, in the Scorecard rankings. Sarah Kendzior argues that Faust’s “life story is a eulogy for an America long past”:

[F]or Faust’s baby boomer generation, the window was open, the opportunities there. Following the paid position she took after her four years of inexpensive college, Faust went on to get a PhD. She graduated in 1975, a year when over half of history PhDs could expect to find a job in their chosen field, and immediately landed a teaching position at the same university where she studied. Today, only 42.6 percent of history PhDs are employed upon graduation, and few in academia.

The current generation is forced into internships and adjunct professorships, positions that “only the well-off can afford to work”:

One wonders how many future politicians, journalists, academics and leaders we are losing because they never have the chance to try.