Leveraging Funding and Support to Foster Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Graduate Education

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Graduate students represent the future of any profession, especially in higher education where an advanced degree is required for many entry-level positions. As institutions of higher education seek to recruit a qualified and diverse workforce for the future, they must contend with the challenges that prohibit a diverse body of students from successfully completing graduate degree programs. While significant attention has focused on attrition rates among graduate students, there is limited research on the role that graduate assistantships and other support structures play in attracting and retaining graduate students, especially historically underrepresented students. Through literature reviews and interviews, we explored the following questions: 1) How can a higher education program promote equity and justice through graduate assistantships? 2) How do finances while enrolled in a doctoral program influence student diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)? 3) How does faculty support influence student DEI in doctoral degree programs? We provide insights into the contemporary challenges, existing research, and potential solutions to consider when addressing the critical issue of recruiting and developing a diverse student affairs workforce.