NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ860345
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Dec
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0272-7757
Sexual Orientation and Outcomes in College
Carpenter, Christopher S.
Economics of Education Review, v28 n6 p693-703 Dec 2009
It has been well documented that sexual minority individuals are significantly more likely to be college educated than heterosexual individuals [Black, D., Gates, G., Sanders, S., & Taylor, L. (2000). Demographics of the gay and lesbian population in the United States: Evidence from available systematic data sources. "Demography," 37(2), 139-154; and others]. Yet there is very little scholarship on the experiences of sexual minorities "in college." We discuss several ways that sexual orientation could matter for college outcomes, and we provide the first empirical evidence on this question by using confidential data on over 40,000 students from the 1997, 1999, and 2001 waves of the Harvard College Alcohol Study. We identify sexual minorities by using responses to questions about the sex of the respondent's lifetime sex partners. After conditioning on observable demographic characteristics and institution fixed effects, we find that (compared to their heterosexual peers): (1) gay males have higher college grade point averages and perceive their academic work as more important; (2) gay and bisexual males are more likely to report the presence of a faculty member or administrator with whom they could discuss a problem; and (3) gay and bisexual males place more importance on participating in student organizations, volunteer activities, the arts, and politics. Among females, we find that: (1) bisexual females are less satisfied with the education they are receiving, spend less time studying, and perceive their academic work as less important; and (2) lesbian and bisexual females place more importance on participation in the arts and politics. These patterns suggest important and complex relationships between sexual orientation and college outcomes. (Contains 7 tables.)
Elsevier. 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, FL 32887-4800. Tel: 877-839-7126; Tel: 407-345-4020; Fax: 407-363-1354; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A