Women See Value and Benefits of College; Men Lag on Both Fronts, Survey Finds

Aug 17, 2011

At a time when women surpass men by record numbers in college enrollment and completion, they also have a more positive view than men about the value higher education provides, according to a nationwide Pew Research Center survey. Half of all women who have graduated from a four-year college give the U.S. higher education system excellent or good marks for the value it provides given the money spent by students and their families; only 37% of male graduates agree. In addition, women who have graduated from college are more likely than men to say their education helped them to grow both personally and intellectually.

Also, while a majority of Americans believe that a college education is necessary in order to get ahead in life these days, the public is somewhat more inclined to see this credential as a necessity for a woman than for a man. Some 77% of respondents say this about women, while just 68% say it about men.

This new survey of a nationally representative sample of 2,142 adults ages 18 and older was conducted at a time when women are outpacing men by significant numbers in college enrollment and completion. In 2010, a record 36% of women ages 25-29 had attained a bachelor’s degree. This compares with 28% of men in the same age group. Until roughly 1990, young men had outpaced young women in educational attainment. Women surpassed men in 1992, and since that time the gap has continued to widen.

Read the full report, Women See Value and Benefits of College; Men Lag on Both Fronts, Survey Finds, on the Pew Social & Demographic Trends Web site. 

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