We analyze the completed highest education degree of two birth cohorts (1934-1943 and 1964-1973) in Switzerland, using data from the 1999 Swiss Household Panel. The fraction of tertiary graduates has increased over time, for women more so than for men. Educational attainment depends strongly on the educational attainment of parents. For women, we find that a substantial fraction of the overall increase in participation in tertiary education can be explained by the narrowing gap in participation rates between women with lowly educated parents and women with highly educated parents. Logit models show that financial problems have become more important as an impediment for higher education.