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Higher Ed in the News

Surge toward public service jobs

March 16, 2009

As the economy falters, so does the job prospects of thousands of college seniors.

Graduates are pursuing less lucrative but potentially more satisfying opportunities in public service, enrolling in record numbers in the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and Teach for America.

Fourteen percent of this year's senior class at Harvard applied to Teach for America, a nonprofit organization that sends graduates to work in low-income urban and rural public schools. The proportion was 9 percent last year.

Peace Corps applications are up by 16 percent from last year.

Grad school applications also up

While the average number of graduate school applications usually increases 3 percent per year, many universities have seen applications jump 10 percent to 20 percent over last year, according to the Council of Graduate Schools in Washington, D.C. Applications are expected to grow even more next year, because graduate school enrollment is often a lagging indicator of the economy.

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