Survey: Women happier than men with value of U.S. higher education system

Women see more value in college than men

According to a nationwide survey released last month by the Pew Research Center, 50 percent of women who have graduated from a four-year college give the U.S. higher education system "excellent" or "good" marks for the value college provides given the money spent by students and their families - while only 37 percent of male graduates agree.

Female college graduates are also more likely than male college graduates to say their education helped them to grow both personally and intellectually.

And while 77 percent of respondents say a college education is necessary for women to get ahead in life, only 68 percent say the same about men.

Other key survey findings include the following:

  • College-educated women are more likely than their male counterparts to say college was "very useful" in increasing their knowledge and helping them grow intellectually (81 percent vs. 67 percent), as well as helping them grow and mature as a person (73 percent vs. 64 percent).
  • Only 14 percent of women who graduated from college agree that most people can afford to pay for college these days, compared to 26 percent of male college graduates. Large majorities of both women and men say that college is no longer affordable for most people.
  • Four in 10 women say their parents paid for most of their college expenses, compared with 26 percent of men.

Women have been outpacing men in college enrollment and completion since 1992, according to the Pew Research Center. In 2010, 36 percent of women ages 25-29 had attained a bachelor's degree, compared to 28 percent of men in the same age group.

In 2010, 53 percent of Asian-Americans ages 25-29 had at least a bachelor's degree, compared to 39 percent of Caucasians ages 25-29, 19 percent of African-Americans ages 25-29, and 13 percent of Hispanics ages 25-29.

The survey of a nationally representative sample of 2,142 adults ages 18 and older was conducted by landline and cellular telephone March 15-29, 2011.