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Females more likely to finish post-secondary studies, Education Commission says - Metro US

Females more likely to finish post-secondary studies, Education Commission says

If you’re a young woman coming from Ontario to earn an engineering degree in the Maritimes, it’s very likely you’ll be walking across a stage to collect your diploma in four years time.

If you’re a young man from Halifax who stayed home to study history, it might take you a bit longer.

This according to a new report on student persistence released yesterday in Halifax by the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission, which suggests that women, out-of-province students, and students enrolled in applied or professional programs are finishing their undergraduate degrees more quickly, and more often.

On the flip-side, male students, people attending university in their home province, and Arts and Humanities majors are more likely to take a year off, transfer to a new institution, or drop out altogether.

There are a number of possible explanations for these trends, said Commission CEO Mireille Duguay, but finding those answers will take time.

“We have to look at some of the factors that fall outside the database that we we’re using,” she said.

“(For example) the ability of women to find a good paying job with a high school diploma is not as good as for men, so that university credential pays more.”

Overall, the report states, only 39 per cent of all students attending university in the Maritimes seem to be following the traditional, four-year road to convocation.

Colin Dodds, president of Saint Mary’s University, said that came as no surprise to him.

“Having a student come in, take five courses a semester and graduate in four years just isn’t the norm,” Dodds said. “It hasn’t been the norm at Saint Mary’s for years.”

The study, which followed a cohort of 9,894 students between 2001 and 2007, did not track students once they left their first university, and did not track students who transferred to a different Maritime institution.

By the numbers

Of a cohort of 9,894 first-year students who enrolled in university in fall 2001:
• 80 per cent were still enrolled at the same university a year after admission
• 60 per cent graduated within six years
• 19 per cent left their first university, only to return within the next five years

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