Women’s Numbers Surge

Keion Moradi
El Vaquero Staff Writer

Enrollment in colleges and universities nationwide shows an increasing majority of females and at GCC the increasing percentage of women far exceeds the national average.

Since the 1970s, women have been encouraged to aspire toward career goals that require a college education. These aspirations have become attainable by the creation of more educational opportunities and government regulations to aid and protect the equality of women.

Society has progressed and with it, female postsecondary student enrollment, both nationwide and GCC has seen an increase. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the percentage of women on college campuses began to outnumber the percentage of males more than 20 years ago.

The U.S. Department of Education reported that 58 percent of last year’s college graduates were women. The past few years indicate an increasing gap between the sexes and is expected to continue
Projections of education statistics have stated that due to the 2 percent average annual growth rate among females, a 22 percent increase from enrollment in 1998 is expected for 2010.

Statistics based on the CPS (Current Population Survey) also convey a continuing female dominance on college campuses. Out of the 2.5 million 2001 high school graduates, 61.7 percent immediately enrolled in college are women.

The college enrollment rate for young women was 63.6 percent, while 59.8 percent for young men. The percentage of females attending college directly following high school has surpassed that of males almost every year since 1988.

A November 2000 report by the American Council on Higher Education stated that “enrollment among men is down, but predominantly among low-income and minority students. And that’s nothing new.”

For GCC, the gap between female and male enrollment far surpasses the national average. According to dean of admissions and records Sharon Combs, 67.7 percent of students enrolled in fall 2002 classes are females. Last fall’s records show that 66.8 percent of students were females.

Web site records pertaining to enrollment at GCC show statistics as far back as 1981, where women have since accounted for the majority.

“Personally, I think it’s because women don’t have housewife dreams as much,” said Erin Hayes, a business student and member of the GCC United Womyn’s Council. “Even mommy’s want a career, if even for a little while.”

According to the statistical results offered by the National Profile of Community Colleges, more women seek postsecondary education than men after the age of 30, which is possibly attributed to post-childbearing years. Results in all age categories indicate a higher enrollment percentage for females.

The graduation rate at GCC proves coincidental with enrollment. According to Website statistics, 64 percent of AA degrees for 2001-2002 were awarded to females. In addition, the vast majority of AS degrees last year (80 percent) went to females.

Although females outnumber males in postsecondary achievement, The U.S. Census Bureau reports that women are paid 73 cents for every dollar men earn. But women with a bachelor’s degree earn over $12,000 more per year than women with only a high school diploma. On average, men with a bachelor’s degree earn over $15,000 more per year than men with a high school diploma.