April 20, 2011
Study shows Utah women less likely to graduate college
(Storee Powell, Cache Valley Daily) — While most women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe they should attend college, graduating from college is not ranked among their highest priorities, according to the latest findings of a study called the Utah Women and Education Project (UWEP).
Raising a family was ranked as the highest priority for future lifestyle and career aspirations by the women in the study. Of those who participated in the study, 80 percent were LDS. Utah Valley University is hosting the UWEP, lead by researcher and associate UVU professor Susan Madsen.
Madsen said, “This does explain some things. These women understand higher education is important mentally, and they say they’re being encouraged to get an education. But when they tried to explain their plan for going to and graduating from college, they haven’t thought out how to do it.”
The two-year project, ending this May, has been researching why Utah women enroll (49 percent) and graduate college (50 percent) at lower rates than the national average of 57 percent and 59 percent, respectively.
“We used to be above the national average in Utah,” Madsen said. “In the pioneer days, we had a lot of educated women. We are not going downhill really, but we are not increasing, but staying stagnant in Utah.”
For interior design major at Utah State University, Valerie Curtis, going to college was always part of the plan.
“Both of my parents went to college, so I didn’t see it as not an option,” Curtis said. “I knew that education was important to getting a good job for my future. I know that I can support myself in whatever happens.”
The study’s findings are organized into 12 sections, called snapshots. The study has released its last research snapshots this week, focusing on the influence religion, values and aspirations have on young women in Utah going to college. Snapshot Ten found that LDS participants generally believe higher education is important and that their religion supports women going to college, but many do not feel they need to graduate.
To read the rest of this article from Cache Valley Daily, click here.Posted by: psilberman