Archive for the ‘Graduate degrees’ Category

Free Graduate Degrees: Is This Fair?

Friday, May 8th, 2009

Some students are lucky enough to earn a free graduate degree. Others will pay tens of thousands of dollars or more for a master’s degree or PhD.

The tab – if any – often depends on what a student is studying.

If you’re bright enough to major in chemistry (an unfathomable subject for this little ole journalism major), you can get a free ride. It’s the same with many science and engineering majors. But if you want an advanced degree in business, the humanities, law or medicine, be prepared to pay dearly.

I first got a whiff of this inequity during a visit last fall with the physics chairman at Drew University in New Jersey. The chairman at this liberal arts college was telling my son Ben, a possible physics major, that he should be able to get a free graduate education just like so many of the bright kids who had gone through his department.

I mention this reality because of a commentary written by Roald Hoffmann, a Nobel Prize winner and Cornell chemist, which was published this week in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Hoffmann  lamented the priorities of research universities in this era of shrinking education dollars. When budgets are being cut at these institutions, the dollars are being taken out of the hide of undergrad instruction, but money to pay for teaching assistants and faculty research isn’t being touched. It’s the science grad students who serve as teaching assistants for undergrad labs and who help with faculty research.

Here’s an excerpt of what Hoffmann had to say: (more…)

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