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Saturday, November 1, 2014 | Last updated: 6:10am

Future will see costs of gender gap in higher education



Call me biased, but the data does seem to suggest women are smarter than men. Or, at least, they aspire to go to college more and are more likely to graduate with degrees than men are.

According to a report released Tuesday by the National Center for Education Statistics, 96 percent of female high school seniors wanted to go to college, compared to 90 percent of male seniors in 2004. Female high school graduates also tended to enroll in college immediately after graduation, and half chose to attend a four-year institution.

Although male high school graduates made similar decisions, they do so at lower rates. Less than half first enrolled in a four-year institution, and only about two-thirds of male students went to college immediately after graduation compared to about three-quarters of female students.

At the UA, there were 14,614 male undergraduates in 2011. There 16,051 female students enrolled that year. The year before, there were 14,641 male undergraduates and 15,951 female.

The gender gap in college enrollment has been consistent for several years.

Men have typically represented about 43 percent of enrollments and 43 percent of undergraduate degrees since 2000, according to 2010 data by the American Council on Education.

In the decades since the women’s movement, the gap has closed and then reversed, so that where women used to lag in higher education, they now surpass their male peers.

The problem with the gender imbalance in higher education isn’t that more women are enrolling in higher education. The problem is that men aren’t keeping pace.

While a stabilized gender gap that swings in favor of women doesn’t seem like such a bad thing, men need degrees just as much as women do.

More education pays off more, literally. A study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce shows workers with at least some post-secondary education fared better through the recession than those without any.

A generation of undereducated men will contribute less to the economy, and leave future generations with fewer role models in education to look to.

If men fail to catch up and the gender disparity grows wider, you don’t need to go to college to see the implications.

— Kristina Bui is the editor-in-chief of the Arizona Daily Wildcat. She can be reached at
letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @kbui1.


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