About 40 percent of four-year college graduates in the US go on to earn advanced degrees. These degrees often generate high returns, but they can sometimes come at a cost. Graduate degree holders have higher employment rates and earn significantly more, on average, than bachelor’s degree holders. They also borrow more than three times as much, on average. Additionally, not all advanced degrees pay off equally well; many students invest considerable time and money in master’s degrees that do not carry large earnings premiums.
In this series of papers and blog posts, we delve into the details on graduate student enrollment, financing, outcomes, and debt to understand the distinct issues advanced degree seekers face. Examining students, institutions, and outcomes across degree, occupational, and demographic categories paints a nuanced picture of the payoffs of graduate and professional education.