Adonis Diaries

Janitor with Ph.D and on food stamps: Wish I am a recipient of food stamps

Posted on: May 13, 2012

Janitor with Ph.D and on food stamps: Wish I am a recipient of food stamps

I received this piece of information and I am relaying it, with minor editing.

“In this economy, even having multiple degrees isn’t a guarantee against poverty.

The Urban Institute analysis cited by the Chronicle of Higher Education announced that the number of PhD recipients on food stamps and other forms of welfare are about 34,000, more than tripled between 2007 and 2010. The number of master’s degree holders on food stamps and other forms of welfare are 293,000, nearly tripled during that same time period.

The boost in PhD recipients receiving food stamps is just the latest indication of how Americans are struggling in a down economy. Overall, the Department of Agriculture stated that the number of Americans on food stamps rose 43 percent over the past three years to 46.3 million Americans as of February 2012.

In addition, even graduate degrees that many used to consider a guarantee to a life of wealth and success are going down in value. The sluggish economy has pushed graduates with law degrees to look for jobs outside of the legal profession, according to U.S. News and World Report. (That’s a very good piece of news: The less lawyering the better for the economy)

The situation is particularly dire for faculty working outside the tenure track as cuts to funding for public colleges have squeezed their salaries. Many adjunct faculty members are likely to be on welfare, since they live on “poverty wages,” the Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

The Department of Education said that secure tenure-track jobs are disappearing as adjunct faculty positions become more the norm, according to several news sources. While more than half of all university faculty members were tenured or on the tenure track in 1975, that percentage has plunged to less than a third of all faculty members as of 2007.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics mentioned that The Market has forced many PhDs to work in menial jobs: There are 5,050 janitors

In another sign that a graduate degree is no guarantee of a secure job,  a few students from graduate schools are having trouble getting job interviews, according to the Hartford Courant.” End of quote

I worked as janitor for many years at the university while pursuing my PhD program, and I was paid minimum page of $3.5 per hour, and the two-weekly pay slip showed deductions too. I had to make ends meet since I received 50% grant and I had no financial support whatsoever. When I graduated in 1991, the economy was experiencing a downturn and I kept working at minimum wages for another two years.

Mind you, I had no Green Card and had no food stamps to survive or much to expect for good opportunities…Tough periods that I am not excited to recall…though I recounted extensively in my autobiography.

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