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5. Economic rebound: Incipient economic growth and rebounding investment markets are raising the prospect of easier graduate funding. Donations to colleges rose slightly in 2010, allowing some, such as Columbia, to raise graduate student stipends. A few major employers, including Ford and General Motors, have reinstated tuition reimbursement programs in recent months. Ph.D.s in recently moribund humanities fields say they are starting to see an uptick in hiring. Though it is nowhere near the level of a decade ago, "academic employment has rebounded" from 2009's dismal lows, says Jim Grossman, director of the American Historical Association.
6. Continuing demand for undergraduate degrees: Undergraduate enrollment has grown strongly throughout the recession. Though colleges are experimenting with teaching software for undergraduates, there's increasing demand for writing-intensive courses, which require human graders, signaling long-term demand for college instructors with advanced degrees.
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