A new survey reveals that 76 million of adult women in the U.S. do not have a bachelor’s degree, although many of those women had started their educational journey but were unable to graduate as a result of various life factors.

According to a new study just released by The American Women’s College at Bay Path University (TAWC), conducted by Research Now, 82 percent of adult women surveyed didn’t complete college because they were putting other priorities first–family, work, and financial obligations, just to name a few.

More than half of the women in the survey, which focused on 2,000 women ages 25-44, had attempted to but never finished their degree. Of this segment, 94 percent claimed they would feel better about themselves if they received their bachelor’s degree.

The majority of women surveyed shared that in the past, when attempting to balance education and other life commitments, their previous higher-education institutions did not provide the flexibility they needed to continue: lack of access to online learning, faculty support, and accessible financial assistance.

(Next page: Barriers preventing women from earning a bachelor’s degree)

Furthermore, respondents overwhelmingly pointed to financial barriers and family commitments, at 57 percent and 54 percent respectively, as the most critical factors standing in the way of achieving a bachelor’s degree. This is a harsh reality, as the survey also indicates that 66 percent were left feeling disappointed that they did not complete their bachelor’s degree. Yet, promisingly, most expressed the determination to still finish.

“For adult women today to achieve their dream of a degree, colleges and universities need to reconsider their educational delivery models,” said Dr. Carol A. Leary, president of Bay Path University. “We developed The American Women’s College to meet the needs of women pursuing higher education while also balancing the competing demands of their complex lives. From accelerated online coursework that adapts to the students’ learning styles to significant support systems, including career preparation, we have seen students thrive and successfully attain a degree as a result. Generations for decades to come will benefit. Educate the woman, and you educate her children.”

For women interested in returning to college, the survey findings showed that 96 percent agreed that furthering their education would allow them to seek the employment opportunities they’ve always wanted, and 95 percent shared that completing a degree would open many new doors, enabling them to have more control over their future. Also, industry research shows that women with a degree can earn up to 74 percent more income over their lifetime than those with just a high school diploma.

There is no question that women see the value in education; it is clear there is a dire need for universities to alter the way coursework is being delivered. In fact, 79 percent of respondents claimed that flexible learning hours would make returning to college easier, while 77 percent expressed that online learning would make the transition possible.

Returning to class after time away can be daunting, and the majority of women who have considered returning are nervous (69 percent) and somewhat overwhelmed (58 percent) by the prospect. Due to this, it is not surprising that 76 percent of women claimed they would find it easier to return if they were surrounded by peers also returning to college. This may be particularly true for women balancing family commitments especially given that 70 percent believe going back to college will demonstrate the importance of education to their children.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

About the Author:

Laura Ascione

Laura Ascione is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura http://twitter.com/eSN_Laura


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