RELEASE: New CAP Interactive and Analysis Show Gender Wage Gap for Federal Aid Recipients of Every Public and Nonprofit Four-Year College
New CAP analysis: Among federal aid recipients of four-year public and nonprofit schools, men earn more just six years after enrolling in college than women do 10 years after enrolling, and the gender wage gap 10 years after enrolling is most pronounced at elite, private nonprofit colleges.
Washington, D.C. — A new interactive developed by the Center for American Progress illustrates the wage gap that exists between men and women who received federal financial aid at every public and nonprofit four-year institution—and a related analysis of the data reveals that among financial aid recipients who are working, men earn more just six years after enrolling in college than women do 10 years after enrolling. This finding persists across all levels of selectivity at public and four-year nonprofit schools, CAP’s analysis found, and remains constant both before and after adjusting the earnings data for inflation.
“Education is allegedly the great equalizer, and while a college degree results in higher wages, it does not bring equal increases in earnings for women when compared to their male counterparts,” said Antoinette Flores, Policy Analyst at CAP and author of the issue brief. “While the gender wage gap is nothing new, this analysis makes clear that stakeholders and policymakers need to consider the factors in higher education policy solutions that may contribute to the wage gap, in addition to policies such as paid family leave, affordable child care, and pay transparency.”
CAP’s analysis uses data from the U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard to examine the gender gap in earnings of financial aid recipients who are working six and 10 years after entering college. CAP’s analysis also uncovered that the gender wage gap is most pronounced at elite private nonprofit colleges, with men who received federal aid earning an average of $26,000 more per year than women 10 years after enrolling.
The findings of CAP’s analysis are particularly troubling because the data are constructed in several key ways that should result in higher average earnings for women. First, the data include both graduates and dropouts, which should provide a relative boost for women’s earnings because they graduate at higher rates than men and college graduates tend to earn more than college dropouts. Second, the data only include those with positive earnings, which should somewhat help the results for women, who have a slightly lower labor force participation rate than men.
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