Why finishing college matters for every Utah woman

Nearly 1 in 3 Utah women age 25 and older has some college education but no degree

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  • theOtter Cincinnati, OH
    Sept. 20, 2017 10:15 a.m.

    My wife and I both have college degrees, but neither has done us much good in the workforce. My college degree gave me confidence to work with certain technologies, but the lion’s share of my work is in a language my dad taught me when I was 14; and my wife’s degree is in English education, but she can’t get a job because she doesn’t have a sports background and high schools only want coaches.

    We’ve long since paid off our student loans, but I wonder where we’d be in life if we’d spent more time learning and less time going to college.

  • Vermonter Plymouth, MI
    Sept. 19, 2017 3:16 p.m.

    @1Reader.
    You are right. This is an impending catastrophe for the American family and the American economy. But, no one will take note. Because according to PC America and 2017 conventional wisdom, women should be getting many more seats in universities than men, and the fact that they graduate at higher rates than men, statistically demonstrates that women are finally getting what they deserve and what they have earned. Now if we can just fix that pesky pay gap.

    Note: A class action suit by all female employees of Google against Google aims to fix the pay gap. Look for more class action suits like this in the future. Result: Attorneys get richer, and we all feel much better about ourselves. But, for some reason the economy starts limping along.

  • 1Reader Alpine, UT
    Sept. 18, 2017 10:14 a.m.

    Isn't the biggest story here that only 43% of college student nationally are men (that is, 33% more women than men)? This could be a growing catastrophe.

    And even in Utah, women actually graduate at a more than 5% higher rate!

  • Llew40 Sandy, UT
    Sept. 16, 2017 8:37 a.m.

    What is sad is the lack of job opportunities for Utah women in non-STEM related fields. When I graduated with my Elementary Ed degree in 2003, I had no idea the competition with thousands of other female graduates and lack of adequate funding for Utah schools would push me out of my chosen field back to low-skilled minimum wage work. Growing up, no one ever talked to me about a career that would best fit my talents and passions; something I could fall back on in case of death, divorce or (gasp) never getting married! Making myself "marketable" in the dating scene was encouraged instead. It was shock to attend college classes and discover all the eligible young men had either gone AWOL or had already picked someone younger than me to marry. There was no dating unless I initiated it. Funny how in nearly every job I've taken, I find myself surrounded by women. Utah culture has some real problems that need addressing.

  • Calciomom Lindon, UT
    Sept. 16, 2017 6:27 a.m.

    This has always been important to me. I left BYU after 3 years to serve a mission. When I came home, I was working to return when I met my husband. I got married and had 5 children and focused on them. During that time I tried to finish my degree - not for insurance but because I wanted it for me! In 2007 we moved back to Utah and I was finally able to finish my degree. It was hard but I graduated in April 2008 along with my third child. It was one of the proudest days of my life.

  • RJohnson Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 15, 2017 6:11 a.m.

    Wow. I had to double check my calender after reading through this.

  • worf McAllen, TX
    Sept. 14, 2017 11:22 p.m.

    I've never understood.

    Why are most of the dentists, surgeons, and doctors, men?

  • KyleH Provo, UT
    Sept. 14, 2017 3:15 p.m.

    College tuition has increased many times faster than the rate of inflation. Our paradigm on job preparedness needs to shift away from automatically telling everyone to go get a college degree. It's not for everyone and unless you choose a program that is in demand, you'll end up in a whole lot of debt with no way to pay it off.

    I do believe women need to be fully prepared to support their family in the case of an unexpected change in circumstances like death or divorce. This might mean a college education, it might not. But $40,000 is WAY too much debt if you never end up using your degree. Having it just to have it or just to acquire knowledge... not worth it.

    Women should NOT attend college on student loans if you plan on staying home with your kids. If you owe money on student loans you will have to work to pay them off. Period. You don't want to be in a position where you are forced to choose work over your kids.

  • raqueb Provo, UT
    Sept. 14, 2017 2:30 p.m.

    There's a folk tale out there, I have no idea how true it is, about when the Cherokee nation developed their writing system. In order to establish it quickly, the tribal leaders gathered all the women together and taught them how to read and write, the women then went back to their homes and taught their children how to write. Because of that action, the Cherokee nation had high literacy rates . Again, I don't know if this is true, but it does illustrate that one of the easiest ways to advance society to educate women. It's often thought that the reason that there is so much poverty in middle eastern countries, despite their abundant resources, is their failure to educate women. Even if they don't enter the work force, women have amazingly large influences on society. They have the most contact with future generations. Women need to be able to think critically, process complex information, and to be able to learn quickly and effectively if we want those abilities to be present in our society.

    P.S. @Diligent Dave; Spots at BYU are earned, not given. If men really want to go to BYU, maybe they should up their game instead of expecting it to be given to them.

  • Designer123 Centerville, UT
    Sept. 14, 2017 1:08 p.m.

    I think the number one reason a woman should get her education is so that she has more knowledge. Having more knowledge is empowering and that's important for any person in any stage of life. College is also a very growing period of time in one's life and I would personally encourage everyone to go if they have the means to do so. If you can't, you are still a wonderful worthwhile person. I got my degree because I wanted to learn, not because I wanted insurance if my future spouse died or I was single - although it definitely helps in those situations. A mother with education is a great asset to her children. This is not a feminist idea, as someone posted on here - it's personal growth and value, no matter if you end up using it in a career or not.

  • citygrrl SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Sept. 14, 2017 1:06 p.m.

    @Diligent Dave, when I read comments like yours I can't believe this is 2017. Education is expensive, but families can plan for this and there are so many opportunities to alleviate the high cost of college that student loans shouldn't be an excuse. Live at home. Get a part-time job. Start out at community college. As for women denying themselves an education just so their marriages will last, would you really want one of your sisters or daughters to stay in a bad marriage because they knew they couldn't support themselves? That is so degrading. And the excuse that women in the workforce or colleges take jobs away from men to support their families, that train pulled out of the station about 40 years ago.

    Here's what I don't get: why don't Utah women figure out that they can finish college, get married and THEN have kids. Fertility issues aside, you really can have kids after age 24 or 25 -- lots of 'em! Having a degree and having kids doesn't have to be mutually exclusive.

  • Millenial Snow Sandy, UT
    Sept. 14, 2017 12:02 p.m.

    I have seen this among my female friends. As we have children and get older more and more of them have had to work for reasons of illness or death of their spouses, unemployment or medical bills, or they just are bored when the kids go to school.

    The ones that have thought about careers as teenagers and young adults seem to have an easier time figuring out what they want to do and those who have actually graduated have more options and better paying jobs.

    The disregard for post-secondary education puts every woman in a very precarious spot. Even if they never fully use their degree, having gone to school is great for your mind and your horizons. This is a cultural problem that the LDS church needs to face.

  • liberty or ...? Ogden, UT
    Sept. 14, 2017 11:06 a.m.

    I have always been a supporter of woman getting their education. My wife is currently finishing her degree online. The problem with this article is that it is 2-faced. On the surface it flatters woman and gives plenty of lip service to religious woman finding fullfillment in work and home but the counter culture of contempt narrative in the stats of woman dropping out of school or employment fields they choose seems to be an underlying theme to shame woman who chose to raise their kids for personal and faith based reasons. Maybe Utah woman realize better than the rest of the country that to everything there is a time and a season as the scripture says and realize that no amount of worldy success will compensate for failure in the home. My wife I fully admit would be a better entrepreneur than me and my joke to her is when she makes her first million I retire. But we decided that it was better for her to be home during their formative years and be at the crossroads of life when the best life lessons are taught. Obviously there are exceptions to the rule and circumstances. but for everybody to be the exception to the rule has had dire consequances in society

  • 2close2call Los Angeles, CA
    Sept. 14, 2017 11:04 a.m.

    @Diligent Dave

    It is ironic to me that you write about economic concepts to describe why women do not need to get a degree. I received a bachelors degree in economics years ago and it has helped me more in my personal financial life than in my professional life.

    I suspect, a woman having an economics degree would be very beneficial throughout her life as well. Even if she never worked outside the home.

  • Max Upstate, NY
    Sept. 14, 2017 10:38 a.m.

    I just don't understand all this hand ringing over young women not choosing STEM fields. For decades now, we have been on our knees begging and pleading and some have taken the bait but most have not. It's okay to go into other fields. It is okay for them become a teacher if they want to (and there is nothing wrong with someone with an aptitude for math and science to teach those subjects). I agree that women (and men) should do what they can to get all the education they can (keeping both explicit and implicit costs in mind). But when a young women rejects all of the sales pitches for STEM to go into the field of her passion, we should respect her decision rather than whine about it.

  • 2close2call Los Angeles, CA
    Sept. 14, 2017 10:19 a.m.

    Wow, after reading the other comments here, my only thought is, you guys live in a completely different world view than I. I would hope that my daughter gets an education, thereby increasing her options so she has the ultimate choice in direction she would like to go in life. Whether that is marriage, kids, career or whatever. If she does not get her education, she may end up in an unhappy marriage she can't get out of due to a financial dependency on her husband; Unable to find a spouse like my 40 year old sister, and under qualified for well paid positions; or later, regretting not going to college because of missed opportunities due to lack of qualifications.

    The ultimate goal I would have for my daughter is that she is happy, not that she is a mother, career woman, or anything else. Higher education puts her in a place to have more options, if she realizes, something she thought would make her happy, doesn't.

    I also would not lump all women into the same basket and say that their ultimate happiness in life will be as a mother. That is not true for many women, and hurtful to teach if the woman ends up not being able to have children or find a marriage partner.

  • bass679 Novi, MI
    Sept. 14, 2017 8:48 a.m.

    @Diligent Dave
    If there's demand for those seats the schools will expand. That's also macroeconomics. Yes, schools have limits on how many students they let in but not everyone needs to go to Yale (or BYU for that matter).

  • Vernal Mom Vernal, UT
    Sept. 14, 2017 8:43 a.m.

    I agree 100% with diligent dave. I also know several young moms who HAVE to go back to work full time and pay for childcare, just to pay off their student loans? Look also, what is happening to the non dating scene going on in Utah County. It's weird! There are three girls to one guy at Snow College right now. Where are the young men? Something's wrong.

  • Danny Chipman Lehi, UT
    Sept. 14, 2017 8:28 a.m.

    Education is an ennobling thing. The glory of God is intelligence. I think everyone, men and women alike, ought to pursue as much education as they can and never stop learning. However, prophets have not counseled us to pursue formal education at all costs and right now. I hope to go back to school someday (I'm a mom at home with small children) for a master's or another bachelor's degree, but in the meantime I continue to educate myself in many areas through library and internet resources.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 14, 2017 8:27 a.m.

    Feminist nonsense!

    The most important job any woman can ever have is raising children, and that does not require a college degree, or a job, or a "career."

    Many of the problems in our society today can be traced to the disintegration of the family and the dysfunctional culture of feral children resulting from leftist ideology which has denigrated the importance of the "mother" job in favor of more fashionable "real jobs."

    Too many college degrees for "all genders" are worthless in the real world anyway.

  • Mayfair City, Ut
    Sept. 14, 2017 8:04 a.m.

    Amen Amen Diligent Dave about many of your points--especially student loans debt.

    I know several young LDS mothers who must work for that reason alone.
    If they didn't have all that debt to 'finish college', they could be staying home with their little children and babies and make it on their husband's income.

    Instead they have parents or parents-in-law or grandparents or sisters or friends watching their kids--because they can not afford, nor want, daycare for their kids and babies while trying to pay off all these student loans.

  • imsmarterthanyou Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 14, 2017 7:56 a.m.

    Or, perhaps the women in Utah are smarter than they are given credit for. Perhaps they are actually smart enough to see the cost involved with taking a whole list of very expensive, required classes that have absolutely nothing to do with their chosen field. They quit because they recognize how foolish it is to continue down that road. I'm all for education, but in a specialized world, forcing people to take classes they don't want or need just to bring in money is insane. Anyone with student loan debt will agree with me.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    Sept. 14, 2017 4:16 a.m.

    As a brother to 6 sisters, and a father of 7 daughters, I think I have thought about this issue as much as anyone, & perhaps more than most.

    Problems that we have worldwide include sub-replacement birth rates. Even LDS birth rates have been below replacement for over a quarter century now.

    This contributes to lack of market demand. When each subsequent generation is smaller than the previous generation, this has macroeconomic effects that are devastating to a nation, indeed to the world!

    Encouraging women to get college degrees so they can support themselves and their families "just in case", imo, is making divorce much more likely.

    Also, more and more evidence is showing that the size of total student loan debt per person has become so great, that many will be unable to repay their student loans during their lifetime.

    If a young woman goes to college & accumulates student loan debt, then she must work to pay that back. That makes her ability to have and care for her own children diminished. And this leads to ever smaller families.

    60% of college students, even at BYU, are women. How can men provide for their families if women take the majority of college seats?