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(Graphic: Business Wire)

Women overwhelmingly chose price over prestige when choosing a college, as affordability is their biggest barrier to achieving a college degree, according to a new national survey by Western International University® (West). The survey also found by a margin of more than three-to-one that women see online degrees as more achievable than traditional on-ground programs.

In addition, women aren’t just pursuing degrees to make more money, but rather as a badge of personal achievement. When given reasons for continuing their education, 97 percent chose accomplishing a personal goal as very or somewhat important while 89 percent noted it would be very or somewhat important to earn more money in their field.

The West Start Smart SM Study, which was conducted in July, surveyed women age 22-50 with an interest in continuing education, to gather insight into their thoughts about higher education and the motivators and barriers they face to earning a degree. Currently only about one-third of U.S. adults over the age of 25 have a college degree.*

The Lure of a College Degree Remains Strong

While the survey found that tuition costs and a lack of time are two main barriers for women wanting to earn a college degree, a majority of those surveyed have a desire to go back to school because they see the overall value of a college education. Interesting results include:

  • 94 percent believe attaining a college degree would positively impact their lives.
  • 83 percent believe a college degree is important to being a good role model.
  • 88 percent are likely to pursue a college degree in the next 5-10 years.

“Women of all ages are incredibly motivated to earn a degree, however many have been unable to find a program that is flexible, affordable, manageable and that fits with their lifestyle,” said Tracy Lorenz, president of Western International University. “We’ve spent the past several years at West developing a new online course format that specifically meets the needs of all adult students, so that they can achieve their goals and be successful.”

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