The phrase "graduate student life" has traditionally been something of an oxymoron in higher education. Doctoral students train diligently, often siloed in their academic departments, spend most of their non-classroom hours either teaching or studying solo in the library, and typically live in off-campus apartments. While many institutions have improved how they pay and prepare graduate students in recent years, fewer have paid significant attention to their lives as people, too.
Forget Ask.com. If you have a question about American graduate education over the last 100 years, you can probably find the answer in a data-heavy report released this week by the National Science Foundation.
In the early 1990s, the then-presidents of Oberlin College and Stanford University floated the idea that the standard time for an undergraduate degree might be better at three years instead of four. The idea went nowhere -- at least in the United States.
So much for the idea that stipends pay for graduate school. As deans gathered in Washington for the annual meeting of the Council of Graduate Schools, one topic of concern buzzing through the air was how much borrowing students must do these days.