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PEDAR: Executive Summary  Gender Differences in Participation and Completion of Undergraduate Education and How They Have Changed Over Time
Trends in Postsecondary Enrollment and Degree Awards
Changes in Undergraduate Student Profiles and Enrollment Characteristics
Preparation, Persistence, and Progress Through Undergraduate Education
High School Academic Preparation and Subsequent Attainment
Postsecondary Persistence and Degree Completion
Early Labor Market Outcomes Among Bachelor's Degree Recipients
Research Methodology
Full Report (PDF)
Executive Summary (PDF)
 Trends in Postsecondary Enrollment and Degree Awards

Nearly 14 million undergraduates were enrolled in degree-granting institutions in 2001 (U.S. Department of Education 2004, table 189). Between 1980 and 2001, women increasingly represented the majority of undergraduates, from 52 percent in 1980 to 56 percent in 2001.1 Women also made up a majority of students awarded associate's and bachelor's degrees over the same period. The number of associate's degrees awarded to women increased from approximately 228,000, or 55 percent of associate's degrees awarded, to 357,000, or 60 percent of associate's degrees awarded (table 1-A and figure 2-A). Likewise, the number of bachelor's degrees awarded to women increased from 465,000, or 50 percent of degrees awarded, to 742,000, or 57 percent of bachelor's degrees awarded (table 1-B and figure 2-B).

The aggregate gender differences in degree awards largely reflect differences in the majority or White student population. However, examining the associate's and bachelor's degrees awarded by race/ethnicity reveals similar patterns. That is, by 2001, women of all racial/ethnic groups (excluding nonresident aliens) earned a majority of the degrees awarded. In particular, Black women earned two-thirds of both associate's degrees and bachelor's degrees awarded to Black students (figures 2-A and 2-B). Hispanic and American Indian women were awarded 60 percent or more of associate's and bachelor's degrees conferred to Hispanic and American Indian undergraduates, while Asian women earned 57 percent of associate's degrees and 55 percent of bachelor's degrees conferred to Asian students. Enrollment projections to 2013 indicate that women will continue to outpace men in completions in the foreseeable future (Gerald and Hussar, tables 26 and 27).

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