This research uses the British National Child Development Study to examine the effect of higher education on individual membership of voluntary groups and organizations. Gender differences in the education effects are given emphasis. We apply parametric and nonparametric econometric methods to isolate the influence of confounding variables. There is strong evidence of education endogeneity in the female sample and we observe a negative education effect on women's group membership. Education endogeneity does not cause serious estimation bias in the male sample. Higher education is a significantly positive determinant of men's group membership. Further investigations from a mid-life perspective reveal that the boost of female participation in the workforce and their attitudes towards employment are key factors in the negative association between higher education and women's group membership. Our research provides clues for the divergence in the enrolment in higher education and social participation behavior in Western countries.