| NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
Directorate for Social, Behavioral
and Economic Sciences
NSF 98-318 July 8, 1998
|by Alan I.
Foreign S&E Ph.D. recipients were less likely to be in debt and had smaller levels of debt than U.S. citizens.
Those receiving doctoral degrees in non-S&E fields were less likely to be in debt than those receiving degrees in S&E fields.
Science And Engineering Ph.D.s?
Discussions about Government support for graduate education in science and engineering (S&E) often involve questions about graduate students' indebtedness. However, little has been reported about the amount and distribution of graduate student debt. This paper provides information about the indebtedness of new doctorate recipients from their undergraduate and/or graduate education: tuition and fees; living expenses and supplies; and transportation to and from school.
What was the level of indebtedness of 1993-96 S&E
Differences between U.S. citizens and foreign Ph.D.
Does primary mode of support influence debt levels?
Do S&E Ph.D.s incur greater debt burdens than those
in other fields?
Among those who received doctoral degrees in the sciences and engineering, computer science, engineering, and mathematics majors appear to be in the best debt situation at the time of graduation-55 percent of the computer scientists and about half the engineers and mathematicians reported no debt at the time of graduation, and only 3-4 percent of these former students owed more than $30,000. In fields other than science and engineering, those who majored in education appear to be the least debt-burdened-56 percent had no debt at the time of graduation and only 5 percent reported debts exceeding $30,000. In contrast 10 percent or more of the Ph.D. recipients in three fields-business, architecture, and law-reported owing more than $30,000 at the time of graduation. In addition, architecture students were the least likely recipients to report no debt at the time of graduation.
A number of other factors not examined here but for which SRS survey data may be informative may affect the overall indebtedness of newly conferred Ph.D.s. These include: marital status; number of dependents; parents' highest educational attainment; age at time of degree; demographic factors such as gender and race/ethnicity; and the types of academic institutions attended.
Source: The source of data for this issue brief is the Survey of Earned Doctorates, which is an annual survey designed to obtain data on the number and characteristics of individuals receiving research doctoral degrees from U.S. institutions, including information on indebtedness.
This Issue Brief was prepared by:
SRS data are available through the World Wide Web (http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/). For more information about obtaining reports, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. or call (301) 947-2722. For NSF's Telephonic Device for the Deaf, dial (703) 306-0090. In your request, include the NSF publication number and title, your name, and a complete mailing address.
 S&E includes the physical sciences, mathematical sciences, computer sciences, environmental sciences, life sciences (including medical and health sciences), social sciences, psychology, and engineering.
 The choices that could be selected by respondents to characterize their debt positions have been identical since 1993. A number of changes were made in earlier surveys that do not permit comparisons of data from those surveys with data from the 1993-96 period.
 The remainder-7-8 percent-failed to furnish this information.
 This section and the next deal with U.S. citizens only. For both sections, data for the 1993-96 period are pooled together because they appear relatively stable from year to year.