Monday, March 12, 2012

Women's Task force recommends ways to keep women in college

If you were to visit a college campus outside of Utah, you likely would run into more women than men. That is not the case, however, for most colleges in Utah. Across the nation close to 60 percent of college students are women, but here in Utah and especially Utah County that number is much lower, with enrollment rates of women hovering between 44 and 50 percent.
Susan Madsen, a professor of management at UVU, first noticed the trend a few years ago and is working with a team of professors, policymakers, community leaders and students to get more women to enroll in and graduate from college. Madsen is a member of the Utah Women's College Task Force, which has been researching attendance and graduation trends for the past two years.
Madsen says there are many reasons why Utah's numbers are lower than the national average. "A lot of young women in Utah don't really understand the broad value of what a higher education can do for them. They understand it is connected to getting a job, but education is important for so many other reasons."
Madsen says women with higher education are more likely to vote, donate blood and be healthier in general. She also says educated mothers prepare their children better for school and are more involved in the community. Madsen stresses that those benefits are most associated with a bachelor's degree, not just a trade certificate or associate's degree.
The task force recommendations on how to keep women in college go to Gov. Gary Herbert. A few of those recommendations include developing a social media campaign intended to create a college-going culture in Utah, creating women-focused mentoring programs and creating flexible attendance programs. While Madsen says most of the recommended initiatives will need state funding, UVU and BYU are already working to attract and keep more women in school. Daily Herald
For more on Women and Higher Education, read our Trendlines article here.

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