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Minnesota Office of Higher Education

Home > News > News Releases > News Release Archive 2005 > Women College Graduates Fortify Minnesota's Economy


Women College Graduates Fortify Minnesota's Economy

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Contact: Sandy Connolly (651) 259-3902

Minnesota postsecondary institutions awarded 74,277 diplomas, certificates and degrees last academic year, up slightly in all categories from the previous year, according to data released today by the Office of Higher Education.

For the first time, women earned more than half of the professional degrees awarded in Minnesota. Women also accounted for more than half of all business major graduates in the state, a significant change from a decade ago. The number of bachelor's degrees earned by women in Minnesota increased 26 percent from 1994, while the number of bachelor's degrees earned by men increased 15 percent. The increase in women graduates mirrors a national trend.

"The growing number and share of women graduates is encouraging," said Susan Heegaard, Director of the Office of Higher Education. "The number of male graduates is increasing less rapidly. In today's high-skills economy, we need to get the message out that some college or postsecondary training is the key to a promising career."

The breakdown of degrees awarded illustrates the range of skills, knowledge and talent entering the Minnesota economy this year.

2003-2004 awards by type

  • 14,898 diplomas and certificates below the baccalaureate level
  • 940 certificates at the post-bachelor's or post master's level
  • 14,320 associate degrees, which generally take two years to complete
  • 29,986 bachelor's degrees
  • 11,444 master's degrees
  • 1,032 doctorate degrees
  • 1,659 first professional degrees, such as dentistry and law

The data is derived from the National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education and include public and private postsecondary institutions throughout the state.