Do Doctoral Students' Financial Support Patterns Affect Their Times-To-Degree and Completion Probabilities?
Our paper uses data on all graduate students who entered PhD programs in four fields during a 25-year period at a single major doctorate producing university to estimate how graduate student financial support patterns influence their completion rates and times-to-degree. Competing risk "duration" or "hazard function" models are estimated. Wefind that completion rates, and the mean durations of their times-to-completion and to dropout are all sensitive to the types of financial support the students received. Other things held constant (including measured student ability), students who receive fellowships or research assistantships have higher completion rates and shorter times-to-degree than students who receive teaching assistantships or tuition waivers, or who are totally self-supporting. A major finding is that the impact of financial support patterns on the fraction of students who complete programs is much larger than its impact on mean durations of times-to-degree or to dropout.
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