The American Geosciences Institute's Workforce Program was able to analyze data on 18,000 precollege students who indicated an inclination towards a major in the physical sciences and scored well on the SAT in 2012 and in 2013.
Community colleges provide a strong foundation for the nation's graduating STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) workforce. In its latest Geoscience Currents, the American Geosciences Institute documents the flow of geoscience students from 2-year to 4-year institutions in Texas, adding to an earlier report on similar data from California released in 2012.
Community colleges are a key part of many four-year university students' post-secondary education pathways. According to AGI's 2011 Status of the Geoscience Workforce report, within the science and engineering disciplines, 67% of Bachelor's degree recipients, 58% of Master's degree recipients and 44% of Doctorates attended community college. Furthermore, within the geosciences, 52% of Bachelor's degree recipients, 40% of Master's degree recipients, and 21% of Doctorates attended community colleges.
Direct support for geoscience students has been rising for the last two years. The trend looks to continue in 2008-2009 with a projected 6% increase in available funds. These opportunities for student support include funds from government agencies (60%) and non-profit societies (40%, which includes support from private foundations and companies).
The number of NSF Graduate Fellowships awarded to geoscience students has fallen 22% between 2005 and 2007 while the total budget has remained stable at $40.5 million. However, geoscience students continue to earn over 3% of the total awards, which is higher than the 2.5% of all Ph.D. students studying geoscience. The rate of decline of the number of geoscience fellowships is slightly higher than the total reduction in the number of awards given during the same 3-year period, which was 10%.
Geoscience starting salaries were competitive with other science and engineering fields in 2007. Bachelors geoscience graduates, generally employed in the environmental and hydrology industry, earned an average of $31,366 p.a. compared to $31,258 for life scientists and $32,500 for chemistry students.