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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Recruiting Men for College

Colleges across the land have begun to wonder: where have all the men gone? According to
Male students made up 52 percent of the U.S. undergraduate population in 1976, but that figure dropped to 43 percent by 2004, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The difference between male and female participation was found to be particularly stark among black students, where women outnumbered men in college enrollments by 29 percentage points in 2004.
Having recently completed my indoctrination education at one of the nation's center's of higher learning, I have a few thoughts on the subject. Whether anyone really wants to admit it, one of the primary objects of going to college is to select a suitable (attractive) spouse from among the overflowing masses of humanity on this earth. Getting your foot in the door of a lucrative profession is nice byproduct as well, but while going to college allows a man to find a woman who might be more intelligent, attractive or successful than one he might find in his own small home town, going to college may not be what it once was.

Is it possible that young men are now able to have their cake and eat it too? At least since the housing bubble beginning in the early 2000's, it seems that young men have been able to leave high school slap up a few homes and pocket a couple of hundred thousand dollars. That sure looks a lot more attractive to a woman than a piece of parchment on the wall and a huge debt on the books. Additionally, is it possible that young men without college educations are capable of weighing the financial risks/rewards of going to college? Who wants to end up like this:
"For more than two decades, colleges and universities across the country have been jacking up tuition at a faster rate than costs have risen on any other major product or service - four times faster than the overall inflation rate and faster even than increases in the price of gasoline or health care (see the chart to the right). The result: After adjusting for financial aid, the amount families pay for college has skyrocketed 439% since 1982....Mind you, some borrowing can actually be a good thing, giving students a built-in investment in their education. But today many kids leave school with unprecedented amounts of debt - $20,000 on average, up from $9,000 a decade ago - and one in 10 private college students borrows over $40,000...One chilling sign: Among students who graduate from four-year schools with more than $15,000 in debt, the default rate is nearly 20%.
Update: Maybe there's a correlation between the rising number of women on college campus and the rise in prices. While I think it has much more to do with government subsidizing of student loans (ie. subsidies naturally create an artificial demand for a product) John Lott makes a similar argument that the growth of "big government" correlates with the age of women's suffrage:
"If women's right to vote increased government, our analysis should show a few definite indicators. First, suffrage would have a bigger impact on government spending and taxes in states with a greater percentage of women. And secondly, the size of government in western states should steadily expand as women comprise an increasing share of their population. Even after accounting for a range of other factors — such as industrialization, urbanization, education and income — the impact of granting of women's suffrage on per capita state government expenditures and revenue was startling. Per capita state government spending after accounting for inflation had been flat or falling during the 10 years before women began voting. But state governments started expanding the first year after women voted and continued growing until within 11 years real per capita spending had more than doubled. The increase in government spending and revenue started immediately after women started voting."


Martin L. Shoemaker said...

Thank you for that graph. I've been looking for the rate of inflation vs. the higher ed rate for a long time. 4 times the rate of inflation! Ouch! At least with medicine (2.5 times), there's new and better treatments all the time. Can someone in higher ed seriously argue that we get 4 times the value from a college education today compared to 1982?

Anonymous said...

And when online education takes over, the brick and mortar schools will whine about unfair competition and talk about how much lower quality the online education is. Similar to what the homeschool crowd goes through vs the NEA sponsored critics of homeschooling. MPW

Anonymous said...

Skilled working class men in America are living in fat times. In fact, intelligent men without college often just walk into lucrative programming jobs in Silicon Valley. Bachelors degrees in computer science may actually be harmful in those fields.

There is also the fact that, well, modern college educated American women tend to be a sordid lot of grim harpies with very strange adversarial ways of looking at man and the world. If I have to choose between a woman with a college degree who will stay at home but refuse to keep my children and house clean, and a non-college educated one who will put effort into raising non-barbarians ... I'm sort of amazed at all the "smart" people who choose door number one.

Anonymous said...

The goal of some women is to turn colleges into lesbian hunting preserves. Looks like they're succeeding.

Anonymous said...

The 5% that wandered off probably thought college was not worth the money or time. Maybe they decided that life (school->career and marriage->divorce)was not all that attractive to begin with. Why would someone go to school if they could go to Europe instead? Why do people expect men to get a job they hate and go to work everyday to support a family that is just going to split up anyway?

The women I have dealt with at school were wonderful btw. It is not their fault men are wandering off. Our culture shifted and some young men did not like it so they are going to do something else.

Anonymous said...

I read the article and I think people are making this way more complicated than it needs to be. If the purpose of a university is to move a young man from Achilles to something closer to Odysseus you are trying to do that in the wrong culture. It shifted at some point and anything close to either one is frowned upon while young men are growing up. Why would anyone expect someone to sit around in a small group and chat about diversity when they would rather go to the boxing gym?

Tshepo said...

The value of higher education is more than just the opportunity to find a spouse. You think you would have been able to find a nice, well-paying job without your law degree? Besides the temporal benefits, it also gives the opportunity to learn about others, so that we can be more empathetic in life. If education is so unimportant, why did Hinckley go to the trouble of setting up the perpetual education fund? Just because there are a disproportionate amount of left-leaning thinkers in academia, this shouldn't discount the entire education process. Try to earn a living, provide for your family, buy health insurance, and buy a home with nothing more than a high school diploma. Is is possible? Yes. Likely? Not even close.