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Enrollment of first-time graduate students fell by 1.7% from 2010 to 2011 to 441,000. This marks the second straight year of declining enrollment, according to a new report from the Council of Graduate Schools. Enrollment in master’s degree and certificate programs dropped by 2.1% to 369,000. Doctoral programs made up some of the difference, with a 0.5% increase in first-time enrollment to 71,000. In 2010, first-time enrollment fell by 1.1% from 2009 levels, the report says. Although the declines are not dramatic, “we must respond with strong investment in graduate programs and student funding,” council President Debra W. Stewart says. Health sciences had the largest overall gain in enrollment with 6.4% this year, while education had the largest decline at 8.8%. In the physical and earth sciences, grad school enrollment stayed almost flat, showing a 0.5% rise. Despite the declines, interest in grad school remains strong: Applications for all graduate programs are up 4.3% from 2010 to 2011.
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