Big (Wo)Man on Campus


The Wash Times reports that women now make up 57.2 percent of college attendees, their highest share ever.

In the 2003-04 school year, 595,425 men received bachelor's degrees, compared with 804,117 women, according to the Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics. The department's fall 2004 numbers show that 57.2 percent of college enrollees were women—the highest percentage ever.

The department estimates that by the time the 2013-14 school year rolls around, women receiving degrees will outnumber men by more than 300,000.

Women outpercentaged men starting in the 1980s. Why the reversal? Is it part of the war against boys and other living things we hear so much about? Nope, says at least one analyst:

"The rate at which men go to college has not fallen; women have just increased their numbers more rapidly," [education analyst Sara Mead] said. In a report titled "The Truth About Boys and Girls," she says, "The idea that women might actually surpass men in some areas … seems hard for many people to swallow. Thus, boys are routinely characterized as 'falling behind' even as they improve in absolute terms."…

But the discussion of possible causes of and solutions for the broader college gap between men and women continues. One possible cause is that since the 1980s, some older women have gone back to college to get degrees, said [Jacqueline] King….

Ms. King's 2006 study found the college gap is still the widest between minority men and minority women—leading some, like Ms. Mead, to argue that if the word "crisis" is to be used, it should be used for the plight of minority boys.

Whatever the causes–conservatives say it's because school at all levels doesn't cater to boys' inborn rambuctiousness (an explanation longer-lived than The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and one that fails to explain boys' overrepresentation at college until the 1980s)–some schools are now wooing men the way they did women back when colleges starting going co-ed in full force.

More here.