Yet another study was released this past week trying to address the question of whether and why boys are turning away from higher education.
This study, conducted by the American Council on Education and based on a two-year-old data, seems to show that boys are indeed losing ground to girls when it comes to attending and graduating from a college or university. There is an exception when it comes to those from high-income families, considered by the study to be households with greater than $97,000 annual income.
Meanwhile, a spate of consumer press articles on this topic seems to have revved up the interest of college and university administrators, leading to a host of schools trying to figure out ways to address this “where the boys aren’t” problem.
If you are the parent of a boy or boys, as I am, you are probably not surprised that one reason given for the lessening proportion of boys at institutions of higher education is the fact that girls are outperforming boys when it comes to the standard, and relatively irrefutable, metrics of grade point averages and standardized test scores in middle school and high school.
While some school administrators are trying to address this issue, it appears that most see the boy problem as neither a problem at all, nor of sufficient magnitude to adopt a stance other than watchful waiting.
Some administrators go even further, scoffing at the idea that there is an even an issue to be addressed, and basically saying that “its about time” that women have caught up to men in college-going rates, implying that college readiness has been practiced by girls, in much greater numbers than boys, for at least a few decades.
It seems that not only is there more at play here than meets the eye, but also much more at stake.
Clearly, it is our country’s interest to have as many students as possible get ready for, attend and succeed in college, not matter what their gender. Ideally, this attainment of a higher education would occur in the 18 – 24-year-old age range, but realistically we all know that some students choose to pursue their higher education after some period of years in the workforce, and so they may in fact be going to school as an older adult.
Here’s where a very interesting – and even more troubling – statistic comes into view: the vast majority of those older students (25+) who are going back to school after a period of time away from academia are, in fact, women. This gender lopsidedness is most pronounced in the African-American community, where an extremely small proportion – less than 20 percent – of those “non-traditional” students consists of men.
At College Parents of America, our view is that the college-going rates of Americans of all types should remain under close scrutiny, and that those rates should be pushed upward through use of all reasonable means and with all deliberate speed.
We aim to empower parents to best support their children – boys and girls – on the path to and through college. We are pleased that you have visited our site and we encourage you to become a full-fledged member of our organization, so you may take full advantage of our advocacy efforts, information resources and access to deals and discounts.