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Professor: gender pay gap not what it seems at BYU

John Wilson, KSL TV

PROVO — A national group tried to compare BYU unfavorably with other colleges for the wage gap between male and female graduates, but at least one expert says it wasn’t a very fair comparison.

Businessstudent.com blasted Brigham Young University for its large disparity in pay for male and female graduates, claiming the Provo school’s gender wage gap is the worst in the country. But Utah Valley University’s Dr. Russell Warne, an associate professor of psychology, says the report failed to take into account that women, especially those within The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are more likely to take time out of the workforce to raise a family. As a result, he says, that creates the disparity in experience as well as pay.

“Women are more likely to not want to work overtime,” Warne says. “They are more likely to want to work part-time, to want flexible schedules.”

“It’s no secret that the BYU student body is more likely to be married, they are more likely to have children at a younger age, and that’s true for men and women,” he added.

Warne was also critical of the study’s methodology, saying it did not include a large enough sample size to fairly compare with other universities.

“It’s only from people who have received federal student loans, and that’s only 17 percent of the BYU student population. It’s not a representative sample of the BYU population overall,” Warne says.

 

Nationally, the rate of students who take out loans to pay for their education is much higher, with around 40% of all U.S. residents between the ages of 18 and 30 carrying student loan debt.