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The Male Exodus From Higher Education –

Students on campus at the University of California-Berkeley                          Tribune Content Agency

According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, approximately one million less than the amount of men who were enrolled in college in 2011 were enrolled in 2022. 

Overall, enrollment rates in higher education have decreased over the past decade in both men and women, but the decline is particularly higher in men as the amount of women in college from 2011 to 2022 only decreased by 200,000, according to the same study. 

Men have now become a minority in higher education, accounting for only 44% of college students today. 

White men in particular experienced the most dramatic dip in enrollment, dropping from 49% in 2011 to only 40% in 2022.

This is a dramatic shift because not so many years ago, white men were practically the only ones who were even allowed to be college students in the United States. 

An in-depth article from the Wall Street Journal exploring this topic explains that enrollment rates for lower and working-class white males are lower than that of Black, Latino, and Asian male students of similar economic statuses, according to data collected and analyzed by the Pell Institute.

Why is this happening?

In recent years, schools across the United States have been directing their attention toward helping students who have been historically underrepresented in higher education to be able to affordably attend college.

As a result, many schools fear being criticized for assisting a demographic of men that has largely been able to attend college; because of this, colleges and universities are not providing as many scholarship opportunities for white men as white men are not a historically underrepresented group of individuals in higher education.

“As a country, we don’t have the tools yet to help white men who find themselves needing help,” Dr. Jerlando Jackson, department chair of Education Leadership and Policy analysis at the University of Wisconsin School of Education, states in the Wall Street Journal article.

It could also be suggested that poorer white men, especially those who live in rural areas, have a tendency to lean more toward the trades as opposed to jobs that require a degree, as trade school is much more cost-efficient.

According to the same article, many young men, regardless of race, feel that the worth of a college education has gone down over the last few decades, and felt that because of this, the degree is not worth the hassle.

The assistant vice president of enrollment strategy and innovation at Baylor University, Jessica King Gereghty, also has an idea as to what may be a contributing factor in this major pendulum shift in college enrollment.

Gereghty, in her experience working in a college environment, finds that female students are typically more diligent about making sure that the proper requirements for their college admissions processes are met, such as submitting their transcripts in a more timely manner than their male peers. 

An analysis from the Wall Street Journal also concluded that the COVID-19 pandemic may have had a massive effect on college enrollment for both genders, noting that 700,000 more students were enrolled in college in the spring 2019 semester than that of spring 2021. 

This trend of fewer men receiving a college education is unseen prior to the past few years, leading many to wonder what this will mean for the leaders of our future.

Historically, men have been at the top of society in every way; according to, male CEOs outnumbered female CEOs 17 to 1 in the Fortune 500 companies in 2015 and only 5% of the S&P 500 companies’ CEOs were women.

What would this dramatic decrease in male college graduates mean for the future leaders of our world? Will our future presidents, CEOs, government officials, etc., be primarily female?

It would undoubtedly be fascinating if we, as a society, were to see a predominantly female-run society if the rate of male college enrollment continues to decrease. 

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