The Urban Institute has released a report showing that master’s degrees are increasing in popularity, costs, and more people are completing those degrees online. A total of 785,000 master’s degrees were awarded in 2015-16, which according to the Urban Institute is “at a rate of about two master’s degrees awarded for every five bachelor’s degrees.”
The report suggests that between 1995-2017 “the number of distinct master’s fields that have granted at least 100 degrees national per year has risen from 289 to 514”
Diversity has also increased among graduate students. Minority enrollments for African American, Latino and Asian students have all increased in the past decade.
As interest has risen, so too has the cost. A student’s average net price for tuition and fees has increased 79 percent between 1996-2016. In 2016, the report suggests, that the “average full-time master’s student paid $15,600 a year for tuition and fees and had a student budget of $32,550.” In inflation-adjusted dollars, the same costs in 1996 were $8,700 and $22,900, respectively.
Increasingly master’s programs are turning to online environments. In 2016, nearly a third of all students enrolled in master’s programs said that their program was entirely online and another two in 10 reported taking some classes online.