Depression, Recovery and Higher Education: A Report by Committee Y of the American Association of University Professors. The Draft of This Report Was Prepared by Malcolm M. Willey

By Malcolm M. Willey; American Association of University Professors | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XII
DEGREES

OF parallel interest to the enrolment data, and associated with them, are the data on "degrees granted." How have the numbers of these changed during the depression years? The answer is presented in Table 67, based on returns from 254 institutions that have reported to the American Association of Collegiate Registrars each year between 1930-1931 and 1934-1935. Earned and honorary degrees are distinguished. Since aggregate enrolments fell but slightly during the depression years, it would be expected to follow that degrees likewise fell but slightly, and conformed in annual changes to the enrolment data. This occurred. Maximum enrolments were reached in 1930-1931 and 1931-1932. Logically a lag of between two and four years might be predicted between maximum enrolments and the maximum number of degrees.1 The full answer will have to wait for another depression and the building of a continuous series of degree data. The data of Table 67, taken in comparison with the enrolment data of Table 56, contain evidence of this lag, but it is differential. In general, the two series move in the same direction and in the same years. Aggregate enrolments declined in 1932-1933, and reached the low point in 1933-1934, and then moved upward in 1934-1935. Similarly, the aggregate number of earned degrees fell off in 1932-1933, declined further to the low point in 1933-1934, and then showed increase in 1934-1935,2 although so slight as to remain almost stationary.

Aggregate numbers of degrees are less significant than aggregate enrolments because they conceal more fundamental differences. It is therefore essential to examine the kinds of degrees that were granted. This may also be done in Table 67.

The Bachelor's Degree. The general course of the number of the bachelor's degrees conforms closely to the shifts in the aggregate, as

____________________
1
Cf. Kerr, "A Five-year Summary of the Reports of the Committee on Special Projects on Enrolments and Degrees Conferred," American Association of Collegiate Registrars Bull., 10: 306-307, 1935.
2
The comparisons between Table 56 and Table 67 should not be pushed too far, since not all of the institutions reporting on enrolments supplied data on degrees. The former table is based on 325 institutions, the latter on 254.

-268-

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