More than 51,000 students earned Ph.D.’s in 2012, a 4.3-percent increase over the 48,908 in the previous year, according to data released on Friday by the National Science Foundation. And as graduates continue to face a challenging academic job market, those new Ph.D.’s who graduate with debt are shouldering heavier burdens than ever before, the data show.
The proportion of doctoral recipients who use primarily their own resources to pay for their graduate education has declined for two consecutive years, falling from 17.9 percent in 2010 to 16 percent in 2012. The data are part of the annual report on doctoral-degree attainment known as the Survey of Earned Doctorates.
But this year’s survey showed that those who do use their own funds assumed more debt than did Ph.D.’s previously. In 2002 about 16 percent of doctoral recipients graduated with $30,001 or more of debt; a decade later, almost 18.5 percent did. <Read more.>