Young Women Education Variables

Schooling and the school-to-work transition process were a primary focus of the Young Women's surveys. Therefore, data were regularly collected on respondents' enrollment in school and their educational attainment. This section summarizes some of the more commonly used educational status and attainment variables by topic. Descriptions of the separately administered School Survey and the constructed college survey variables are presented in the High School Survey & College Information section.

Current School Enrollment Status

  1. Enrollment Status - Is R Currently Enrolled? Respondents were asked whether or not they were attending or enrolled in regular school at the time of the interview during each survey year.
  2. Grade Attending. For those attending regular school, each survey asked about the specific grade within elementary/high school or the year of college they were attending.
  3. Full- versus Part-time Enrollment. In all surveys except 1980, 1982, and 1983, respondents enrolled in school were asked whether they were enrolled as full-time or part-time students.

Educational Attainment

  1. Highest Grade Completed. Respondents indicated the highest grade completed during the initial survey year and every survey year thereafter. A series of created attainment variables provides longitudinally consistent measures of each respondent's reported educational attainment record. These summary variables, the titles of which contain the term "REVISED," are available for 1969-2003. Non-revised 'Highest Grade Completed' variables collected during 1975, 1977, and 1978 provide information for a select universe, namely those not enrolled in school since the last interview/as of the current interview. For post-1978 attainment variables, the universe is those respondents attending regular school since the last interview.
  2. Date of Diploma. The 1983 survey collected information from each respondent on whether or not she had obtained a high school diploma or General Equivalency Diploma (GED) and, if so, which type and the month/year it was received. Similar information (exclusive of dates) was collected during the 1985-2003 interviews from those respondents who had attended school since the last interview. The 1978 interview gathered information from respondents not enrolled in high school or college on the month/year a diploma was received.
  3. College Enrollment Status. The 'Grade Attending' variables discussed above provide college enrollment status information for each survey year. In addition, the 1968 questionnaire collected information on date started/stopped most recent college enrollment; the 1973 survey asked respondents who were not working a retrospective question on whether or not they had been attending college in February 1968.
  4. Type of College Degree. Respondents who had ever attended college as of the initial survey year were asked for information on the type (if any) of college degree received (associate, bachelor's, master's, doctorate). During all subsequent interviews except 1978, this information was updated for those who had received a degree since the last interview. The 1978 survey collected information from those respondents who had more than one year of college on the type of highest college degree received.

High School & College Experiences

During 1968, a special set of questions gathered information from the respondent on her high school and college experiences. Specifically, the high school series asked:

  • which high school subjects the respondent liked most/least and the reasons
  • number of hours per week she spent on homework, where she studied, and if there were distractions to her homework efforts
  • whether or not she participated in extracurricular activities, the number of hours per week, and her favorite activity (e.g., sports, music, dramatics, other clubs, etc.)
  • the kinds of non-school-related activities that took up most of her time (e.g., sports, working for pay, a hobby, etc.)
  • the respondent's general attitude toward her high school years

The college experience series collected information on: (1) how respondents felt about their college experience; (2) the field of study they liked most/least and the reasons; and (3) for those respondents currently enrolled who would like more education, how many years of education they would like to complete, how much education they thought they would actually get, what college they would like to attend, and what field they would like to study. Information collected on the names and locations of up to four colleges was used in the construction of the college survey variables; see the High School Survey & College Information section for details.

High School & College Curricula

  1. Type of High School Curriculum. Type of high school curriculum, (i.e., vocational, commercial, college preparatory, or general) was collected in 1968 from all respondents who had ever attended high school. These data were updated during the 1969-73 surveys for respondents enrolled in high school during those years. A 1970 created variable, 'Curriculum in Most Recent High School,' edited information on each respondent's current enrollment status, grade attending, and high school curriculum collected during the 1968, 1969, and 1970 surveys. During the 1968 survey, those respondents who had attended high school were asked whether they had taken typing or shorthand and, if so, which one(s) and the number of years the course(s) had been taken. The 1983 interview included a series of questions on whether the respondent had been enrolled in various types of mathematics courses (e.g., algebra, geometry, trigonometry/calculus), the number of years such courses were taken, and how well she had done in these courses.
  2. College Field of Study. Information on the field of concentration or discipline was collected in 1968 from those respondents who had ever attended college. These data were updated during subsequent surveys for those respondents who had received a degree since the last interview. The 1978 interview collected field of study information for (1) those currently attending college; (2) those who were not attending college but who at some point had done so although no degree had been received; and (3) those who had obtained a college degree. The classification system(s) utilized through 1975 included disciplines such as humanities, education, mathematics, social science, science, business/commerce, and home economics. The post-1975 categories were expanded to include business and management, fine and applied arts, health professions, and public affairs and services, as well as specific disciplines leading to an associate degree (data processing technologies, public service related technologies, health services and paramedical technologies, etc.).

College Tuition & Financial Aid

Full-time annual tuition amounts were collected during 1968 for the most recent college attended and during 1969-73 and 1978 for the college the respondent was attending that year. Information on whether the respondent received financial aid and the amount received was collected during 1968-78. Types of financial aid received (scholarship, fellowship, assistantship, loan, etc.) were collected during all except the initial survey year.

Type and Location of Schools

  1. Is School Public? Information on whether the schools attended by the respondent were public or private was gathered during the 1968-73 and 1978 surveys.
  2. Census Division of Last High School Attended. The Census division (New England, Pacific, Mountain, etc.) of the last high school attended by the respondent as of the 1968 interview is available for most respondents. The User Notes below contain a cautionary note on the address information used to construct these variables.
  3. Comparison of School Locations with Location of Current Residence. A set of variables created by Census compares the location of the respondent's school (high school, college) with her current residence for the 1968-71 survey years. Coding categories include: same SMSA or county; different SMSA or county, same state; different state, same division; different division; and abroad. A second set of variables (e.g., 'Comparison of Location of High School and Most Recent College') compares the location of schools attended as of 1968, 1977, and 1978. The User Notes below contain a cautionary note on the address information used to construct these variables.
  4. Presence & Type of Accredited Two- & Four-Year Colleges in Labor Market of Current Residence. Variables created by the Census Bureau for the 1968, 1969, and 1970 survey years provide information on the types of colleges (e.g., only two-year colleges, only four-year colleges, both two- and four-year colleges) that existed within the respondent's labor market. A second set of variables, available for the 1968 survey only, provides descriptive information on local area colleges, e.g., the colleges present within the labor market that were, for example, coeducational, both public and private colleges, or women-only colleges. The User Notes below contain a cautionary note on the address information used to construct these variables.

Related Variables: In the 1991-97 and 2003 Young Women surveys, the respondents were asked for information concerning any of their children who attended college in the past calendar year. These surveys also recorded the amount of support the respondent contributed to these college expenses.

Survey Instruments & Documentation: The sets of variables described above are found in a variety of questionnaire sections including: the "Education and Training," "High School Experiences," "College Experiences," and "Educational Goals" sections of the 1968 questionnaire; the "Educational Status" or "Education and Training" sections of subsequent instruments; and the "Family Background" section of the 1973 questionnaire. Appendices in the Codebook Supplement present the fields of study classification systems and Census division/state codes.

User Notes

1. During the initial survey years, the presence of the edited 'Highest Grade Completed' variables made the construction of an attainment variable unnecessary. The 'Highest Grade Completed' variables were the result of extensive hand-edits; they are, in some ways, a best guess made by examining the complete longitudinal record of each respondent. After the mid-70s, a series of questions was asked during each interview about whether the respondent was currently attending or had attended regular school since the last interview. If the respondent replied in the affirmative, information was gathered on the grade attending and/or completed. These variables are used to create the 'Highest Grade Completed (Revised)' series.

2. In the early years, variables that depend upon address information were created by the Census Bureau in an inconsistent manner. The majority of geographic variables were revised in the mid-1970s to correct for known discrepancies in permanent versus temporary address data, especially for respondents attending college. However, certain variables, including the 'Comparison of School Locations with Location of Current Residence' and 'Presence and Type of Accredited Two- and Four-Year Colleges in Labor Market of Current Residence,' were not updated. A more complete discussion can be found in the User Notes in the Geographic Residence & Environmental Characteristics section.