The Educational Background of the US Congress

The Educational Background of the US Congress.

I must admit that I am a bit of a conspiracy theorist, which is how scientists try to find common theories behind several anomalous results. I was wondering if there was a conservative “think” tank, or lobby, or House member behind the set of taxes hampering Universities or their students and graduate students. Lacking an obvious suspect, I settled for looking into the educational background behind congressmen.

I started with the Senate, since senators have a higher level of responsibility. So, apparently, did the Washington Post, whose results I quote from a January 30, 2015 article. Amazingly, all 100 Senators have college or advanced degrees.

51% of Senators went to college in-state, and 67% of Republicans did. 18% of Senators graduated from Ivy League colleges. The median ranking of Democrats’ colleges was 92, and of Republican’s was 176.

17 graduated from the top five colleges, and 35 from the top 50 colleges.

58 Senators attended private colleges, while 42 attended public colleges. Of Democrats, 62% attended private college, and 54% of Republican’s do.

8 attended Harvard, 4 attended Stanford, 4 Yale, 4 Dartmouth, 3 Mizzou, and 3 Notre Dame.

For the House, only 5% do not have a college degree.

From 2013, the Huffington Post the “113th Congress by the Numbers” by Bill Lucey using data from the Congressional Research Service, gave figures below.

There are 2 physicians in the Senate. In the House are 17 physicians, 3 psychologists, and 1 psychiatrist.

There are 102 educators, with 90 in the House and 12 in the Senate.

In the House are 2 physicists, 5 engineers, and 1 microbioligist. In the Senate is one engineer.

85 members of the House and 14 Senators earned a master’s degree as their highest degree.

169 members of the House (38%) have law degrees, as do 57 Senators (57%).

19 House members have Ph. D.s or D. Phil.s.

In that Congress 21 House members had no educational degree beyond high school, and 1 Senator.

In 2014, only about one-third of Americans had a four-year degree. About an equal number have some college, but not four years.

While I am an academic, I am happy that the Congress includes more of America and their experiences than just college educated members.
All of the Congress have experienced and competent staff to add to their legal understanding and to expertise in other areas.

It is hard to imagine that after Congressmen become aware of the effect of taxing tuition wavers of graduate students, that the Congressional reconciliation process will leave this House provision in the final Tax and Jobs bill.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
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