Survey: Women More Satisfied With the College Experience

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Women are not just surpassing men in terms of college enrollment and completion, they also seem to be having a better time while they are there.

According to a new survey by the Pew Research Center, women are more likely than men to say college is a valuable experience. The survey results, released August 17, show that when asked to rate the job the U.S. higher education system is doing in terms of providing value for the money spent by students and their families, 50% of women who graduated from college say the experience was money well spent, while only 37% of men feel the same.

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In addition to the divergent opinions over the value of college, the survey found more women than men reported feeling positively about their personal growth while enrolled. Seventy-three percent of women said college helped them grow and mature as a person, while 64% of men said the same.

Some other findings:

  • While a majority of Americans believe a college degree is necessary to get ahead in life, they see think higher education is more of a necessity for women. Seventy-seven percent of those surveyed said women need college to get ahead, while 68% said the same for men.
  • Eighty-one percent of college-educated women say college was “very useful” in increasing their knowledge and helping them grow intellectually compared to 67% of men.
  • One of the only areas where men topped women was in terms of college affordability: 14% of women agreed with the statement that most people can afford college today, compared with 26% of men.

The nationwide survey of 2,142 adults ages 18 and older was conducted between March 15 and 29 of this year.

According to Pew, in 2010, a record 36% of women ages 25 to 29 had attained a bachelor’s degree, compared to 28% of men in the same age group. (Women surpassed man in college enrollments in 1992, and the gap has continued to widen ever since.)

Kayla Webley is a Writer-Reporter at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @kaylawebley or on Facebook at facebook.com/kaylalwebley. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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