Fewer Diplomas for Men: The Influence of College Experiences on the Gender Gap in College Graduation

Stephanie Ewert, University of Washington

The contemporary advantage for women in college graduation is evident at all socioeconomic levels and for all racial and ethnic groups. Although past research has documented the effects of background and early academic performance on the gender gap in college graduation, more proximate factors should affect this gap above and beyond their role in mediating background characteristics. In this study, I examine the impact of college experiences on gender inequality in college graduation. Using data from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 (NELS:88), this study tests whether formative college experiences, including college major, attendance patterns, social integration, and academic performance, contribute to the gender gap in graduation. The results show that attendance patterns and academic performance benefit women relative to men in college graduation while higher rates of participation in sports increase the likelihood of graduation for men compared to women.

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Presented in Session 169: Gender in Higher Education