The Wall Street Journal reports an interesting observation about America. “Men are abandoning higher education in such numbers that they now trail female college students by record levels.”
Slashdot reader Joe_Dragon shared their report:
At the close of the 2020-21 academic year, women made up 59.5% of college students, an all-time high, and men 40.5%, according to enrollment data from the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit research group. U.S. colleges and universities had 1.5 million fewer students compared with five years ago, and men accounted for 71% of the decline.
This education gap, which holds at both two- and four-year colleges, has been slowly widening for 40 years… In the next few years, two women will earn a college degree for every man, if the trend continues, said Douglas Shapiro, executive director of the research center at the National Student Clearinghouse.
But numbers can be misleading. New York Times reporter Kevin Carey points out that more American men are going to college now than they were decades ago — but the percentage of women now going to college has just increased even faster, “more than doubling over the last half-century.”
Because of the change in ratio, some selective colleges discriminate against women in admissions to maintain a gender balance, as The Journal reported… In a New York Times essay in 2006 titled “To All the Girls I’ve Rejected,” the dean of admissions at Kenyon College at the time explained: “Beyond the availability of dance partners for the winter formal, gender balance matters in ways both large and small on a residential college campus. Once you become decidedly female in enrollment, fewer males and, as it turns out, fewer females find your campus attractive.”
The Journal even reported that a former admissions officer at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon “said this kind of tacit affirmative action for boys has become ‘higher education’s dirty little secret,’ practiced but not publicly acknowledged by many private universities where the gender balance has gone off-kilter.”
But even with more women in college, the Times argues that “The raw numbers don’t take into account the varying value of college degrees.” (And not just because “The female-to-male gender ratio is highest in for-profit colleges, which often overcharge students for worthless degrees.”)
“Men still dominate in fields like technology and engineering, which offer some of the highest salaries for recent graduates…”
Women surged into college because they were able to, but also because many had to. There are still some good-paying jobs available to men without college credentials. There are relatively few for such women. And despite the considerable cost in time and money of earning a degree, many female-dominated jobs don’t pay well…
The fact that the male-female wage gap remains large after more than four decades in which women outnumbered men in college strongly suggests that college alone offers a narrow view of opportunity. Women often seem stuck in place: As they overcome obstacles and use their degrees to move into male-dominated fields, the fields offer less pay in return.