By Steve Kelman

Blog archive

Public Service and our first faculty meeting

School's back, and yesterday afternoon we had our first faculty meeting.

Our Dean, David Ellwood, listed four priorities he has. Interestingly, his very first was increasing financial aid for our students, whose debt burden on graduation has been increasing dramatically. Dealing with this problem is directly related to the Kennedy School's public service mission to produce smart young people for the public and nonprofit sectors. As I have noted a number of times in FCW columns and elsewhere, the salary gap between starting salaries for government and private-sector jobs has soared over the past 30 years, making government much less competitive for our students. When students have high debt loads, public service is an even greater sacrifice. Our Dean noted at the faculty meeting that of students who leave the Kennedy School with no student loans, 95% enter public service (government or nonprofit). Of those leaving us with greater than $90,000 in debt, only 45% enter public service.

We also got figures yesterday on how we are doing getting our master's students to take their first jobs in public service. Given the incredible social and economic trends going against us, we are doing very well, better than most public policy schools these days. Of our June graduates, a full 40% have taken their first job in government, and l8% in nonprofits -- a total of 58% in public service. Another 24% have taken jobs for public-sector divisions of consulting firms or financial insitutions, with only 18% in private firms not serving public clients. However, the percentage taking jobs in government is down from 47% the year before. We are struggling hard, but this is a constant struggle.

The Dean said he continues to work very hard to raise money for student scholarships tied to public-service commitments post-graduation. Does this blog have any rich readers who want to help? If so, contact me!

Posted by Steve Kelman on Sep 06, 2007 at 12:08 PM


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