Date Thesis Awarded


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Peter McHenry

Committee Members

David Feldman

Katie Lopresti


This study examines the overrepresentation of female students at for-profit colleges. I use both the High School Longitudinal Study of 2009 (HSLS:09) and Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) data. First, I use the HSLS to explore characteristics of for-profit students and to show differences in financial aid offered by for-profit colleges compared to other higher education institutions. Next, I use the HSLS to estimate a multinomial logit model to determine what factors influence students’ choices to attend for-profit colleges over other types of colleges. I find that after controlling for preexisting student characteristics, female students are still significantly more likely to attend for-profit colleges. Finally, I use IPEDS data to explore program type as a potential explanation for the gender gap. By calculating the overrepresentation of female students at for-profit colleges conditional on program type, I find that program type explains a significant portion of the gender gap at less-than-four-year for-profit colleges.

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