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When Faculty Can No Longer Afford To Teach: Ph.D.s on Foodstamps Center Stage in Academe

By Kristina Chew

College tuition keeps going up and also the amount of debt students and their families take on. College costs more not because of professors’ salaries: The Chronicle of Higher Education says that, according to the latest data from the 2011 Census, about 360,000 of the 22 million Americans with master’s degrees or higher in 2010 were receiving some kind of public assistance. While that is a small number in comparison to the total 44 million people nationally who received food stamps or some other form of public aid, hearing about Ph.D.’s subsisting on food stamps undermines the routinely-repeated claim that the more educated you are, the more $$$ you’ll make.

The Chronicle notes that those who do not attend graduate school are more likely to receive food stamps. But the percentage of those holding a graduate degree or higher who were receiving food stamps or some form of aid doubled between 2007 and 2010. For those holding a master’s degree, the figure for those receiving aid rose from 101,682 to 293,029. The increase was even more extreme for those with a Ph.D., with the number of those receiving assistance climbing from 9,776 to 33,655.

These figures

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3 Comments for “When Faculty Can No Longer Afford To Teach: Ph.D.s on Foodstamps Center Stage in Academe”

  1. I’m very tired of seeing these articles. If you want to have a career in academia, either go to an ivy for your PhD, or not. A PhD in Medieval Studies from a state school is worthless. You need to show you are the best.

  2. Mark Edward Achtermann

    I assume the figure $10,000 in the antepenultimate paragraph is a misprint for $1,000.

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Recently Commented

  • Patric: Funny guy ^^
  • Kristen Z.: I found myself reorganizing the stuff under the kitchen sink, thoroughly cleaning the vacuum cleaner...
  • Greg: Still, it’s sometimes primarily “all about the Benjamins.” ;-)
  • Zoe: Really? Because as of January 2015 I will be limited to teaching 9 hours per semester at the community college...
  • James Dennewitz: I have wondered the same thing myself.