The gender pay gap is the highest for students from elite colleges

Northwestern University graduationNorthwestern University/FacebookStudents graduate from Northwestern.

The gender pay gap between women and men is the largest for students who graduated from elite colleges, according to a study released by the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank based in Washington D.C.

The study looked at a cohort of students who enrolled in both public and private four-year colleges in 2001 and 2002 with financial aid and then reviewed their average earnings six and 1o years later.

Male financial aid recipients who graduated from elite, private schools, like Harvard, Stanford, and Princeton, earn over $26,000 per year on average more than their female peers ten years after enrolling, according to the study.

This chart says it all:

Wage gapCenter for American ProgressGender wage gap in US dollars.

“Very high research” means elite. Among students who graduated from elite public universities, the pay gap is slightly smaller: Women earned around $13,000 less than men ten years after enrolling.

The pay gap actually decreases at less prestigious schools. At both private and public nonresearch colleges, women earned around $10,000 less than men ten years after enrolling.

The study also compared male and female financial aid recipients’ earnings six and 10 years after enrolling respectively. Men earned approximately $4,000 more per year six years after enrolling than women did 10 years after enrolling.

Wage gape 620x328Center for American ProgressWage gap for men at six years and women at ten years after enrolling in US dollars.

While some of the pay gap can be explained by women leaving the workforce to have families, this likely wouldn’t explain the gaps that exist six years after enrollment, according to the study.

It’s important to note, however, that this study isn’t an indictment on higher education. Women from elite colleges still earn significantly higher wages than women from less-prestigious schools or those with only a high school degree, according to the study.

As well, the study notes that these results can be partially explained by graduate schools. Women are significantly underrepresented in higher-earning graduate programs, like the STEM fields.

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