Although graduate school applications usually increase during an economic downturn, this recession may be an exception. Inside Higher Ed reports that educators were both shocked and worried to learn that for the first time ever during a recession, the number of students taking the GRE will decline in 2008. Since, the number of GRE test-takers is usually closely related to the number of applications, the new data raises concern.
The decrease in GRE volume comes from both the United States and around the world. While the U.S. volume is expected to fall from 456,000 to 449,000, the international volume is expected to fall from 177,000 to 172,000.
David G. Payne, associate vice president of ETS, suggests that the current credit crunch is dissuading people from considering the high tuition costs of graduate school, especially if they don’t believe that the schools will offer sufficient financial aid. Debra W. Stewart, president of the Council of Graduate Schools explains that current economic uncertainty is so great that people are less likely to leave their jobs. “No one will leave a job if they have a job – they think the risk is too much to take.”