Where are the college men?

Female high-school students are more likely to aspire to a college degree, enroll and graduate than their male classmates, according to a report by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Men are “conspicuously absent” on the campus of Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City, writes Hanna Rosin in The End of Men: And the Rise of Women.

On afternoon, in the basement cafeteria of a nearly windowless brick building, several women were trying to keep their eyes on their biology textbook and ignore the text messages from their babysitters. Another crew was outside the ladies’ room, braiding one another’s hair. And when I got in the elevator I saw the image that has stuck with me, that epitomizes the contradictions of the new striving middle-class matriarchy — a woman, still in her medical-assistant scrubs, fell asleep between the first and fourth floors, so tired was she from studying, working and taking care of her kids by herself.

Although the college president tries to “recruit more boys,” 70 percent of MCC students are female.  Many are black women and working-class whites hoping to be nurses or teachers, Rosin writes.

In a 2005 survey of lower-income adults in college, the American Council on Education found men “start out behind academically,” Rosin writes. “They reported feeling isolated and were much worse at seeking out fellow students, study groups or counselors to help them adjust.” While “mothers going back to school described themselves as good role models for their children,” fathers worried they weren’t fulfilling their responsibilities as breadwinners.


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