Monday, December 08, 2008

GRE Exams, Grad School Applications Down

INSIDE HIGHER ED -- When the economy tanks, graduate school applications go up. That’s one of the few bits of good news in which educators could have reasonably taken comfort this year. No more.

The number of students taking the Graduate Record Examination will decline in 2008, the first time ever that the GRE has seen a fall in test-taking during an economic downturn (see chart above). Because the GRE is required for the vast majority of graduate school programs, its numbers closely correlate with trends in applications.

On Friday, David G. Payne, associate vice president of ETS for college and graduate programs, said that the “current hypothesis” is that the credit crunch is discouraging some people from considering graduate school, especially if they think they will not receive substantial financial support from the programs they might consider.

Payne noted that the projected decreases this year come both from the United States and the rest of the world. Volume in the United States is expected to fall to 449,000 from 456,000. Volume outside the United States is expected to fall to 172,000 from 177,000. Looking outside the United States, the shifts are not consistent. The two countries with the largest volume of GRE test takers — and of foreign graduate students in the United States — are China and India. Both have seen their GRE numbers rising steadily, and China will still go up this year, but India will see a sharp decline.

However, the number of people taking the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is up this year — both in the United States and abroad.


At 12/08/2008 11:20 AM, Blogger Eric Wignall said...

Of course there is a continued trend toward open enrollment (not requiring a GRE) and an explosion of certificate (non-degree) enrollments. The GRE may not be a very good metric these days.

At 12/08/2008 5:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or people can't afford to take the test multiple times like in the past.

At 12/08/2008 6:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice blog!

It sure beats that notorious kook Doug Henwood.

At 12/08/2008 9:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the old saying goes, "It's About the Economy Stupid". We are swiftly pricing the cost of higher education out of the reach of the middle class. Too many pundits complain about about our lack of upcoming world-class competitive brainpower in math and science yet turn a blind eye to this accessibility problem. If we really wanted to be competitive and lead the world, we'd apply ourselves to eliminating the exorbitant cost of education.

At 12/08/2008 9:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps this is just another aspect of the "deflationary cycle" one entrant here keeps warning us about.

At 12/08/2008 11:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Giving out too many loans is a bad thing whether you're talking about easier credit to purchase houses or federal loans to pay for graduate school. No doubt, smart people add to the economy. Over-educated people, however, are whole other story.

At 12/09/2008 12:10 PM, Blogger Jason Woertink said...

Perhaps people are also less willing to take the test twice to get a better score because of the costs involved.

At 12/09/2008 10:53 PM, Blogger 世上沒有永恆 said...

Taking GRE or GMAT sometimes discourages people's interests in applying graduate school.


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