Half of all women who have graduated from a four-year college give the U.S. higher education system excellent or good marks for the value it provides given the money spent by students and their families; only 37% of male graduates agree. In addition, women who have graduated from college are more likely than men to say their education helped them to grow both personally and intellectually. 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% vs. 67%), as well as helping them grow and mature as a person (73% vs. 64%). However, more women than men question the affordability of college — only 14% of women who graduated from college agree that most people can afford to pay for college these days, compared with 26% of male college graduates. Four-in-ten women say their parents paid for most of their college expenses, compared with 29% of men. These findings come at a time when women surpass men by record numbers in college enrollment and completion. In 2010, a record 36% of women ages 25-29 had attained a bachelor’s degree. This compares with 28% of men in the same age group. Until roughly 1990, young men had outpaced young women in educational attainment. Women surpassed men in 1992, and since that time the gap has continued to widen. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.