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Tony Yang is getting beaten to a pulp.
He's not wanted by mobsters nor is he another Cybercrime bully. The former University of California doctoral student (c/o '09) just says that's what it feels like each quarter when he wraps up an adjunct teaching gig and goes home without a permanent job offer.
Photo: Chronicle of Higher Education"It can be very tough on the pysche," he told theChronicle of Higher Education. "The darkest moment had to be when I finished my dissertation. I turned it in and there (was) no job ... So when I graduated, the first thing I had to do was file for unemployment."
As a kid, his family supplemented their income with food stamps. Decades later, he found himself in the same position, applying for welfare to get by when his doctoral degree wasn't enough to bring home a steady paycheck.
After the recession took hold in 2007, the rate of PhD holders who've filed for government assistance more than tripled to 33,655 by 2010, according to data collected by Austin Nichols, a senior researcher with the Chronicle's Urban Institute.
Other graduates of continuing education weren't far behind. Of the nation's 22 million master's degree holders, nearly 360,000 applied for food stamps by 2010 – also triple the rate before the recession.
And it's not just an anemic job market that's stunted graduate students' personal economies. They're chipping away at record-breaking student debt loads, while many rely on temporary teaching stints that often don't last longer than a semester.
"Others are trying to raise families or pay for their children's college expenses on the low and fluctuating pay they receive as professors off the tenure track, a group that now makes up 70 percent of faculties," the Chronicle's Stacy Patton writes. "Many bounce on and off unemployment or welfare during semester breaks. And some adjuncts...