Economy stimulates graduate admissions

By Gus Bode

With the nation in the middle of a historic recession, many students are opting to continue their education instead of search for a job in a failing economy.

Interim Provost Don Rice said the national trend of increased graduate enrollment during the recession traditionally indicates people losing their jobs and returning to school for another chance.

‘The economy gets bad, people get laid off, and if they are, they return to school to continue something they might have already started or they attempt to retool to get a different kind of job,’ Rice said.


Levell Mables, a senior from Chicago studying marketing, said he decided to apply for graduate school to make it easier to find a job.

‘We are in a recession right now,’ Mables said. ‘If I give it a couple of years, until after grad school, by the time I get done I should be able to find a job.’

David Wilson, associate dean and director of graduate school, said there are more applications for graduate school this year than last year, but doubts it is connected to the economic situation.

‘We have had some increase (in applications), but I don’t think it’s been a huge one,’ Wilson said.

The Council of Graduate Schools, a national organization dedicated to the advancement of graduate education and research, reported in September that total graduate enrollment has increased 3 percent annually from 1997 to 2007.

Wilson said SIUC has seen a steady increase in graduate enrollment throughout the past eight years, but this could show another trend.

Rice said many students could be realizing that a bachelor’s degree just is not enough anymore.


‘A bachelor’s degree is less and less sufficient for a lot of the jobs and professions students want to go into,’ Rice said. ‘So I think you’re going to see, over time, some increase in graduate enrollment for that reason.’

Mables said graduate school also offers more opportunities to meet people within a specific career field, which could lead to more job offers after graduation.

Wilson said degrees higher than a bachelor’s are becoming more and more important in today’s job market.

‘At least the first part of the 21st century is going to be the century of the master’s degree as being an essential component to getting ahead,’ Wilson said.

Madeleine Leroux can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 259 or [email protected].