Graduate school enrollment increases

Continuing education beyond the undergraduate level is quickly becoming a necessity. Many college students are choosing to continue on to master’s degree and Ph.D. programs to make themselves more competitive in the job market.

Patricia McAllister, the director of government relations and public affairs at The Council of Graduate Schools, said the council “does not release enrollment data for individual schools or small groups of schools.”

However, the council, in a recently published report titled, “Graduate Enrollment and Degrees: 1986-2005,” revealed the trends in graduate schools over the past 10 years.

The report discloses that black enrollment in 2005 across 643 universities in the United States was at an all time high of 12 percent.

Florida A&M University offers 42 master’s and 12 Ph.D. degree programs, which are spread out over nine schools within the university system.

Chanta Haywood, dean of the College of Graduate Studies and Research, said for FAMU, retention and recruitment of graduate students are important factors. Haywood said FAMU is a “critical institution for providing the state of Florida with a population of African-American experts,” especially in the fields of physics, nursing and engineering.

The report from the CGS also showed that among black students, “more than twice as many women as men are enrolled in graduate school.”

In 2005, total enrollment for women included a 3 percent increase compared to a 1 percent increase for men. Seventy-one percent of black graduate students are female.

“The gains in the participation of minority students in graduate education are very encouraging,” said Debra W. Stewart, CGS president.

The trend is particularly evident at FAMU, where more women are enrolled than men at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Haywood commented on the fact that the disparity in enrollment between the genders in graduate programs may never even out due to continually increasing female graduation rates at the undergraduate level.

Among the schools surveyed in the report, black students are more prevalent in the fields of education and humanities. The report indicates that there is a shortage in black professionals in the fields of medicine, science and engineering.

The statistics at FAMU show that the programs with highest enrollment figures in graduate school are pharmacy, environmental science and entomology.

“FAMU continues to be a leader in educating minority students and placing them in top decision-making positions in their respective fields,” said Haywood.