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First-time Enrollment at U.S. Graduate Schools Rises 1.8 Percent

September 19, 2013

According to the Graduate Enrollment and Degrees report, produced each year by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), more than 461,000 first-time students entered graduate school degree and certification programs in fall 2012, a 1.8 percent increase over the number enrolled in fall 2011. During the same period, however, the total number of students enrolled in graduate programs decreased 2.3 percent.

Changes in first-time enrollment varied greatly by citizenship status. The number of students from foreign countries jumped 8 percent, while the number of U.S. citizens and permanent residents grew only 0.6 percent. Among U.S. citizens and permanent residents, the number of white non-Hispanics dropped 0.9 percent, while the number who were African American or Latino increased more than 4 percent.

In contrast, nearly all racial/ethnic groups saw a decline in graduate school enrollment from 2011 to 2012, lead by a 5.4 percent decrease in Native Americans/Alaska Natives and a 4 percent drop in white non-Hispanics. Overall, the total number of U.S. citizens in graduate schools dropped 3.2 percent, while enrollment of non-citizens rose 2.8 percent.

The Graduate Enrollment and Degrees report is the only national survey that collects data on enrollment of first-time and total students in master's and doctoral programs at graduate schools in the United States by field of study. The survey also collects enrollments in post-baccalaureate certificate programs and the number of applications for admission to all graduate-level programs by degree level and field of study. It includes students in post-baccalaureate programs at public, private non-profit, and private for-profit higher education institutions.

To obtain your free copy of the 2013 Graduate Enrollment and Degrees report, visit the CGS Web site.


Ken Redd
Director, Research and Policy Analysis