According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a 2009 study titled “Education Pays” showed that median weekly earnings increased nearly 23 percent for a person with a master’s degree and 49 percent for one with a doctoral degree when compared to an average salary of $1,025 earned by someone with a bachelor’s degree.

Similarly, workers with a bachelor’s degree are twice as likely to be unemployed when compared to those with a doctoral degree.

The expectations from graduate students cover a broad scope ranging from the fulfillment of personal goals to a desire of having a higher earning position. In some instances, it’s a combination.

“[A graduate degree] sets you apart from other applications while providing significant networking opportunities with professionals and potential employers,” Daniel Perales, MBA student with a concentration in Project Management, said.

“Those who are graduating from college are not only competing against other graduates from some of the top schools in the nation, they are also competing against a lot of professionals that got laid out a couple of years ago,” Relaes said. “These professionals might have 10 to 20 years of experience and those are the ones who are probably going to get hired over someone who just received their undergraduate degree.”

Audrey J. Magnuson, assistant director from the career center, encourages students to have some “experience under their belt,” which they can acquire through leadership positions in student organizations.

“The employers I work with have a preference for students with experience,” Magnuson said.

Contemporary standards are higher and employers are looking not only for those with a strong work ethic, but also for students with a solid background and hands-on experience.

Director of Graduate Recruitment and Retention Lisa M. Palacios said, “Under the strategic plan for the university, one of the main goals is to increase graduate population to 15 percent of the overall population compared to undergrad.”

“The future looks promising for UTSA because this goal was established for 2016 and “right now we’re at about 14 percent,” Palacios said.” We’re hoping we will meet it ahead of time.”

According to Palacios, UTSA’s new enrollment for graduate school increased almost 19 percent from 2009 to 2010. Master’s enrollment showed an increase of more than 22 percent, and doctoral degrees had a boost of more than 31 percent that the same period.

The enrollment trend comes primarily from non-traditional students, part-time adult students who return to college for a graduate degree, who account for nearly 60 percent of the total graduate population.

“President Romo has been very supportive in the expansion of UTSA’s graduate school” Palacios said. “In addition to new programs in the graduate school, grants have increased over the recent years.”

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