Half of women think college adds value while only 37 percent of men agree

A new study from the Pew Research Center released yesterday uncovered gender differences when it comes to perceptions of the value and benefits of college. More specifically, women who graduate from four-year institutions are more likely than men to give the U.S. higher education system good to excellent marks for the value they see in earning a degree. Fifty percent of women say the higher education system is doing a good to excellent job in providing value for the money spent, while only 37 percent of men say the same, the study notes.

And the differences don’t end there. When it comes to the importance of a degree to “get ahead in life,” the survey found that the public thinks college education is more important for women than it is for men: 77 percent of respondents told Pew this is important for women, while only 68 percent said it was important for men.

Interestingly, these findings come out in a time when women are outpacing men in enrolling and completing college. In 2010, Pew notes, 36 percent of women between the ages of 25 and 29 held bachelor’s degrees, while only 28 percent of men in the same age group held this credential. The report explains that since 1992, women have been surpassing men in educational attainment -- and the gap continues to widen.

Feelings on these findings appear mixed, it seems. Pew reports that 52 percent of Americans think that more women graduating from college than men is a good thing, but when asked differently, only 46 percent of Americans see fewer men than women graduating from college as bad, the report notes. In other words, a majority of Americans appear to celebrate more women than men graduating, while a smaller number of individuals looks down on the fact that fewer men than women are graduating.


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