Community college students who are just out of high school are split fairly evenly between men and women, writes Matt Reed. But older students tend to be female. For those over 25, women may outnumber men by three to one. Why Don’t Men Return to College? he asks.
Reed guesses some are locked up. (And some are serving in the military.) But that’s not enough to explain the widening gender gap.
Opportunity cost could be a factor, if men without a college education make more than un-degreed women.
. . . then the cost to a family of sending Mom back to school is less than the cost of sending Dad back to school. The male wage premium becomes a male opportunity cost penalty.
That’s plausible, writes Reed, but less so than it used to be. Wages have fallen for male workers with only a high school education.
Perhaps women are returning to college to train for health-care jobs, while men still see health care as a pink-collar job, he speculates.
Most research on gender in higher ed focuses on “how to bring more women into STEM fields, or how to improve the success rates of young men of color,” Reed writes. But it’s not just men of color who are missing on campus.
The lack of college-educated men may depress the marriage rate, writes Grace at Cost of College. In the U.S. there are 30 percent more women under 35 with a bachelor’s degree than men. It’s 47 percent in Miami and a whopping 71 percent in Detroit because black women are going so much farther in school than black men.