Study: Men Less Likely To Enroll In College

As more and more college students struggle with paying back their student loans, many high school graduates question whether the investment is worth it. New data from the U.S. Census Bureau suggests that men are no longer interested in receiving a college education.

According to a Pew Research Center study, men ages 18 to 24 were more likely to not attend college due to a lack of interest and not needing to add more education for their job trade.

In 2022, only 39% of young male high school graduates were enrolled in college.

“Most of the decline is due to fewer young men pursuing college,” Pew reported. “About 1 million fewer young men are in college but only 0.2 million fewer young women. As a result, men make up 44% of young college students today, down from 47% in 2011, according to newly released U.S. Census Bureau data.”

Currently, men make up 44% of college enrollment, a number that has declined by 3% since 2011. Some of the decline is speculated to have something to do with the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, which affected many college students’ enrollment status.

America’s attitude towards higher education has negatively changed over the last decade. According to a Gallop poll, only 41% of young adults felt that having a college degree was very important, drastically down from 74%. Only a third of the young adults polled felt confident in a college degree.

While the study showed that men were less likely to attend college, the study also suggested that race and ethnicity play a factor. The number is significant among young White high school graduates.

Young White women who have graduated from high school are 10 points more likely to enroll in college in comparison to their male counterparts. The difference was only four points in 2011.

With the decrease in young men attending college, some states are finding it difficult to fill government jobs due to the college degree criteria on applications. In Maryland, former Gov. Larry Hogan (R) eliminated the need for a college degree as a requirement to apply for jobs with the state to receive a wider variety of applicants.

With the downward trend in college enrollment, many young men are turning to trade schools in exchange for college. These programs are usually shorter and economically friendly, allowing students to be more financially independent.