Although most advanced degrees confer substantial earnings benefits over the long term, graduate students’ near-term financial arrangements vary greatly according to their degree level, field of study, and sector of enrollment. While many research doctoral students receive pay and tuition waivers in exchange for their teaching and research work, other students cumulate more than six figures of debt over the course of their graduate studies. Given that graduate debt can burden advanced-degree students for years or even decades after they leave school, these large differences in graduate finance—compounded in some cases by wide variation in advanced-degree holders’ later earnings[1]—underscore the huge financial stakes of racial and ethnic differences in patterns of graduate enrollment.

[1] Ma, Jennifer, Matea Pender, and Meredith Welch. 2016. Education Pays 2016: The Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society. The College Board.