How Federal Government Policies Have Helped Women Earn College Degrees?

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Scholars Strategy Network


Scholars have long recognized that higher education brings knowledge and skills that translate into economic gains and enhanced political engagement, but little attention has been paid to the shifting impact of U.S. policies on college attendance by men and women. Once a male bastion, American higher education has become much more welcoming to women since the mid twentieth century. Starting in 1981, women earned the majority of bachelor’s degrees, and by 2003 U.S. colleges enrolled 1.3 women for every man. During the academic year 2012-13, women constituted a remarkable 57% of all U.S. college students. Striking shifts in gender dynamics have been powerfully influenced by U.S. policies that fuelled mass access to college following World War II. At first, the G.I. Bill enlarged opportunities for men; thereafter, federal financial assistance and regulations gave women students a big boost and eliminated – indeed ultimately reversed – the college gender gap.



Higher education policy, women college students, student financial aid