I love this story. PhD programs are experiencing a 50% plus drop out rate and the honchos are scratching their heads as to why.
I'll tell you why: Many of the programs are padded. They take too long to complete. They require a bunch of stuff that is truly unnecessary. People catch on to that and think, "Hmm. On second thought, a masters degree may be just fine."
Have you ever considered why college classes miraculously take approximately the same amount of time to complete? It is because artificial start and end dates are imposed, not because it takes that long to teach the material. If they followed the latter criterion, some subjects could be taught in three weeks.
This is a time sensitive culture and the PhD programs operate as if we were in the 19th century.
[HT: www.crankyprofessor.com ]