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Are 2-Year Colleges the Key? Institutional Variation and the Gender Gap in Undergraduate STEM Degrees

Title: Are 2-Year Colleges the Key? Institutional Variation and the Gender Gap in Undergraduate STEM Degrees.

Inaccessible until Jan 19, 2020 due to copyright restrictions.

Name(s): Perez-Felkner, Lara C., author
Thomas, Kirby C., author
Nix, Samantha C., author
Hopkins, Jordan C., author
D'Sa, Mitchell C., author
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Journal Article
Date Issued: 2018-07-19
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: Studies of gender gaps in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) higher education have rarely considered 2-year colleges, despite the fact that most enrollees are women. Situated in an interdisciplinary literature on gender and inequality in students’ pathways to STEM higher education, this study used Beginning Postsecondary Students:2004/2009 nationally representative panel data on 5,210 undergraduate students. The primary research question posed was: How does initial college type influence the gender gap in STEM undergraduate degrees? First, we describe and illustrate distinct patterns in the degrees earned by men and women who initially enroll in 2-year and 4-year institutions. Leveraging rich control measures, we estimated a series of multivariate logistic regressions to robustly estimate gender gaps in non-STEM, social/behavioral sciences, life sciences, and natural/engineering sciences degree fields. Results from these degree clusters were distinct and underscored the limitations of “STEM” as an umbrella category. College type was more influential on the life sciences and social/behavioral sciences; effects on natural/engineering sciences degrees were experienced primarily by men, especially among baccalaureate degree earners. Gender gaps among life sciences and natural/engineering sciences bachelor’s degree earners were wider among initial 2-year students (favoring women and men, respectively). The discussion contextualizes and offers implications from our findings.
Identifier: FSU_libsubv1_scholarship_submission_1532029129_9237f6e3 (IID), (DOI)
Keywords: Higher education, gender, STEM degree, community college, women in STEM
Publication Note: Link to article on the journal website is available here: This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1232139. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Dr. Perez-Felkner and Dr. Nix have been supported by Florida State University’s Center for Postsecondary Success. Authors 1-3 have also been supported by FSU’s Center for Higher Education Research, Teaching, and Innovation. Ms. Hopkins was supported by FSU’s Women in Mathematics, Science, and Engineering undergraduate research fellowship. Mr. D’Sa was supported by FSU’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. An earlier draft of this paper was presented at New York University’s IES-PIRT Proseminar Series in October, 2017.
Preferred Citation: Perez-Felkner, L., Thomas, K., Nix, S., Hopkins, J., & D’Sa, M. (2018). Are 2-year colleges the key? Institutional variation and the gender gap in undergraduate STEM degrees. The Journal of Higher Education, 1-29. doi: 10.1080/00221546.2018.1486641
Grant Number: National Science Foundation Grant No. 1232139
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU
Is Part Of: Journal of Higher Education.

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Perez-Felkner, L. C., Thomas, K. C., Nix, S. C., Hopkins, J. C., & D'Sa, M. C. (2018). Are 2-Year Colleges the Key? Institutional Variation and the Gender Gap in Undergraduate STEM Degrees. Journal Of Higher Education. Retrieved from