Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study,
The primary focus of the Higher Education: Gaps in Access and Persistence Study is to examine gaps in educational participation and attainment between male Blacks, Hispanics, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, and American Indians/Alaska Natives and their female counterparts and to examine gaps between males in these racial/ethnic groups and White males. The secondary focus of the report is to examine overall sex and racial/ethnic differences. In addition to these descriptive indicators, this report also includes descriptive multivariate analyses of variables that are associated with male and female postsecondary attendance and attainment.
Postsecondary attendance rates are generally lower for youth from lower socioeconomic backgrounds and those from various racial/ethnic groups (e.g., Blacks and Hispanics) when compared to Whites and Asians (Aud et al. 2011). In 2010, as in every year since 1980, a lower percentage of male than female 18- to 24-year-olds were enrolled either in college or graduate school (39 vs. 47 percent). This pattern was also observed for Whites (43 vs. 51 percent), Blacks (31 vs. 43 percent), Hispanics (26 vs. 36 percent), American Indians (24 vs. 33 percent), and persons of two or more races (40 vs. 49 percent). In addition to college enrollment differences, there are gaps in postsecondary attainment for males and females. For instance, among first-time students seeking bachelor’s degrees who started full time at a 4-year college in 2004, a higher percentage of females than males completed bachelor’s degrees within 6 years (61 vs. 56 percent)—a pattern that held across all racial/ethnic groups.
This report documents the scope and nature of a number of differences between sex and racial/ethnic groups in education preparation and achievement as well as differences in postsecondary access, persistence, and attainment between males and females within and across racial/ethnic groups. The report presents indicators that include the most recently available, nationally representative data from NCES, other federal agencies, and selected items from the ACT and the College Board. The report draws on multiple sources that represent different years and different populations.
Children in Poverty and Language Minorities
In 2010, some 21 percent of children under age 18 were living in poverty, and the poverty rate for children living with a female parent with no spouse present was 44 percent. The poverty rate for children living with a female parent with no spouse present was higher for American Indian children (53 percent) than for children of all other racial/ethnic groups (with the exception of Black and Hispanic children). There were no measurable differences in male versus female poverty rates for children living with a female parent with no spouse present.
Also, in 2010, some 11.8 million children ages 5 to 17 (about 22 percent of the school-age population) spoke a language other than English at home (2.7 million speaking English with difficulty). The percentage who spoke a language other than English at home and spoke English with difficulty was higher for Hispanics (16 percent) and Asians (15 percent) than for Alaska Natives (7 percent), Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders (5 percent), American Indians (2 percent), children of two or more races (2 percent), Whites (1 percent), and Blacks (1 percent). No measurable differences were observed between males and females overall. However, higher percentages of Asian and Hispanic males (16 percent each) spoke a language other than English at home and spoke English with difficulty than females (14 and 15 percent, respectively) in their racial/ethnic group. In addition, a higher percentage of Hispanic school-age children born outside of the United States spoke a non-English language at home and spoke English with difficulty than did their counterparts born within the United States (35 vs. 13 percent).
Parents’ Educational Attainment and Involvement in Education
In 2010, about 11 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 18 lived in a household where neither parent had earned at least a high school credential (either a diploma or an equivalency credential such as a General Educational Development [GED] certificate). The percentage of children with parents who had not earned a high school credential was 11 percent for both males and females. Also, no measurable differences by sex within racial/ethnic groups were found at any of the three levels of educational attainment examined (less than high school completion, high school completion,
of males than females had attained a bachelor’s degree by June 2009 (64 vs. 72 percent). Across racial/ethnic groups, the percentages of Black (51 percent) and Hispanic (52 percent) full-time students at 4-year institutions who attained bachelor’s degrees were lower than the percentages of students of two or more races (66 percent), White students (73 percent), and Asian students (76 percent) who attained a bachelor’s degree. The same patterns of attainment across race/ethnicity were observed among both males and females, with the exception of students of two or more races.
The percentage of 2003–04 beginning postsecondary male students who did not persist in their education (i.e., had no degree and were no longer enrolled in a postsecondary institution by June 2009) was higher than that of their female peers (37 vs. 35 percent). This pattern was also observed between White males and White females; however, no measurable difference were observed between males and females of any other racial/ethnic group.
Reasons for Leaving College Without Completing
A higher percentage of male than female students who began at a postsecondary institution in 2003–04 left college by 2004 without completing a degree or certificate program (17 vs. 15 percent). The same pattern was observed between White males and females (17 vs. 14 percent); however, no measurable differences were found between males and females within other racial/ethnic groups. A lower percentage of White males than Black males left in 2004 without completing (17 vs. 22 percent); and the percentage of Asian males who left without completing (9 percent) was lower than the percentages of White males, Hispanic males (19 percent), males of two or more races (20 percent), and Black males. Among 2003–04 beginning postsecondary students who left in 2004 without completing a degree or certificate program, 31 percent reported that they left their institution due to financial reasons, with a higher percentage of males than females reporting financial reasons for leaving (40 vs. 23 percent). The difference between males and females who left due to financial reasons followed a similar pattern for White students, Hispanic students, and students of two or more races.
Remedial Coursework and Other Academic Experiences
In 2007–08, a lower percentage of male than female first-year undergraduates reported that they had taken a remedial course in college (33 vs. 39 percent). This pattern was observed for White, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native males and females, as well as males and females of two or more races.
Other academic experiences of students during their first 2 or 3 years as undergraduates were also examined. In 2006, higher percentages of males than females had received a grade of incomplete (17 vs. 15 percent), had repeated a course for a higher grade (25 vs. 22 percent), or had withdrawn after the add/drop deadline (33 vs. 29 percent). The percentage of males who had changed their major was not measurably different from the percentage of females who had done so.
Academic and Social Integration
Among 2003–04 beginning postsecondary students who had recently graduated from high school, a lower percentage of male (72 percent) than female (77 percent) students reported that they sometimes or often met with an advisor during their first year of college. Also, a lower percentage of male (33 percent) than female students (37 percent) participated in school clubs in their first year of college. For males, lower percentages of Hispanic (28 percent), Black (29 percent), and White students (34 percent) participated in clubs than did Asian students (43 percent). A higher percentage of male (35 percent) than female students (23 percent) participated in sports during their first year of college. This pattern of sports involvement by sex was also observed for Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and students of two or more races. Among male students, lower percentages of beginning Hispanics (23 percent) and Blacks (30 percent) than beginning Whites (38 percent) participated in sports.
College Student Employment
In 2010, approximately 71 percent of undergraduates ages 16 to 24 were employed. A lower percentage of male than female undergraduates were employed (70 vs. 73 percent); however, a higher percentage of males than females worked 35 or more hours per week (22 vs. 17 percent). Within racial/ethnic groups, the percentage of males who were employed was lower than that of females for Whites (76 vs. 79 percent), Blacks (57 vs. 62 percent), and Asians (49 vs. 52 percent). There were no measurable differences between the employment rates of males and females among Hispanics, Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders, American Indians, and students of two or more races. White males (76 percent), males of two or more races (72 percent), American Indian males (65 percent), Hispanic males (64 percent), Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander males (62 percent), and Black males (57 percent) were employed at higher percentages than were Asian males (49 percent). In addition, Hispanic males were employed at a higher percentage than Black males.
Graduation Rates and Degrees Conferred
About 58 percent of all first-time students seeking bachelor’s degrees who started at a 4-year college full time in 2004 completed a bachelor’s degree at that same college within 6 years. A higher percentage of females than males completed bachelor’s degrees within 6 years (61 vs. 56 percent). This pattern held across all racial/ethnic groups, with the greatest difference between Black females and males (a 9 percentage point difference) and the smallest difference between American Indian/Alaska Native females and males (a 3 percentage point difference).
Among males, Asian/Pacific Islanders had the highest percentage completing bachelor’s degrees within 6 years (66 percent), followed by White (59 percent), Hispanic (46 percent), American Indian/Alaska Native (37 percent), and Black males (34 percent).
In 2010, postsecondary degree-granting institutions conferred a total of 3.4 million associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctor’s degrees. Of this total, 25 percent were associate’s degrees, 49 percent were bachelor’s degrees, 21 percent were master’s degrees, and 5 percent were doctor’s degrees. About 25 percent of all bachelor’s degrees conferred were in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) fields of study. A higher percentage of males than females earned bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields (28 vs. 22 percent). This pattern was observed across all racial/ethnic groups, with the greatest difference observed between both Hispanic males and females and Asian/Pacific Islander males and females (a 7 percentage point difference each). The smallest difference was observed between Black males and females (a 2 percentage point difference). Among males, White and American Indian/Alaska Native students earned the same percentage of bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields (27 percent each). A higher percentage of Hispanic than Black male students earned bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields (24 vs. 22 percent).