New Deferment Ruling To Assure Grad Degrees
Seniors in Top Quarter of Class Guaranteed Two Years for Master's, Five for PhD.
Students admitted to graduate schools under the new tightened deferment regulations are virtually assured of completing their graduate study before being drafted, the Department of Defense revealed yesterday.
The Director of the Selective Service System has issued a special bulletin to all local and appeals draft boards directing them to give all graduate students two calendar years to attain master's degrees and as long as five years to obtain a doctoral degree.
The new program requires college seniors to be in the upper fourth of their class or have attained 80 or higher on the Selective Service examinations in order to gain graduate school deferment. It is designed "to provide a continuous flow of highly-qualified and well-trained men," James M. Mitchell, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, informed the CRIMSON when contacted yesterday.
The new system provides for deferment "so long as graduate students are proceeding satisfactorily toward attainment of their degree," Mitchell explained.
Under the previous draft law, too many students were being inducted halfway through graduate school, Mitchell continued. The Defense Department revised its graduate school deferment program in order to be certain those in graduate school received their degree before being drafted.
Minimum Standards Raised
"In comparison," Mitchell stated, "previous policies tended to permit more students to enter graduate school, but fewer to attain their higher degrees."
Under the earlier draft policy, as established by an Executive Order in March of 1951, college seniors had only to graduate in the upper half of their class or attain a score of 75 on the deferment test to be eligible for graduate school deferment.
The new Executive Order tightening admissions criteria is applicable only to persons entering after January 1, 1955. Those who entered prior to that date will continue to be covered by old criteria and are therefore still subject to the draft.
The new order is also not applicable to law and medical schools. Medical students have long received special consideration, and law students are considered "undergraduates" for purposes of the draft, because most have not received college degrees before beginning law training.
For students graduating from Harvard, the new deferment law will require a senior year average of between B-plus and A-minus.
In the past, a senior year average of between B and B minus has proved sufficient to give deferment, at least for the first graduate year.