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Here’s Why Young American Males Don’t Want a College Education

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A picture of a male student
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Here’s Why Young American Males Don’t Want a College Education

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A large number of men are forgoing college, leading to an alarming gap between university-educated men and women, a new study found. The Pew Research Center discovered a large drop in male Hispanic high school graduates turning away from four-year colleges.

While 42 percent were in attendance in 2011, the number fell to 33 percent in 2022. White males had a substantial drop, as well as 49 percent attended college in 2011.

The Problem Starts Early

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The reasons for the widening gap go far deeper than the decisions men and women make upon graduating high school. However, there’s been some research that says it’s because girls have fewer disciplinary problems and are better at planning overall.

As fewer men attend and graduate from college, there’s ongoing concern this could stifle men’s estimated career earnings over time.

4-Year Vs. 2-Year Colleges

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The census means 4-year college education has seen a drop in enrollment in recent years. In community colleges (what’s known as 2-year colleges), the drop in enrollment is similar between genders.
Young men going to community colleges make up 49% of students aged 18 to 24. This is, in fact, slightly up from the number in 2011, which was 48%.

The High Schoolers

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Even more concerning is how only 39% of male high school grads enroll in colleges. This number is down from 47% in the 2010s.
But their female counterparts also don’t enroll as much as before. The female high school grad drop-in percentage is also lower. They went from 52% to 48% in 11 years.

POLL—Should the Government Increase Taxes on the Wealthy To Reduce Economic Inequality?

The Survey

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A November 2023 survey of 800 U.S. companies by Intelligent.com found that 45% of companies will get rid of bachelor’s degree requirements for some positions next year.

Additionally, another recent survey of 70,000 small businesses found that 67% of the surveyed employers believe college graduates aren’t prepared for the workforce.
“The higher ed system has worked itself out of a job,” RedBalloon CEO Andrew Crapuchettes said.

Ethnic Differences

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Ethnicity doesn’t seem to play a major part. Both White and Hispanic male high school graduates are shying away from 4-year colleges. In 2022, only 33% of students are young Hispanic men, 37% are Black, and 40% are White.
This is an all-around drop from the 2011 numbers. Overall, it’s the female graduates who have the drive to continue their education in college. Their total number is 50% of college attendees in 2022.

READ ALSO: New Survey Shows That Employees Are Avoiding College Graduates for Older Professionals

Mass Skepticism

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The driving force behind why young men don’t want to go to college seems to be skepticism. Not a lot of people believe in the power of a university degree anymore. Athena Kan, CEO of Dreambound, a platform specializing in career and technical training, said, “There’s been a big backlash against expensive 4-year colleges whereas trade schools or apprenticeships are on the rise.”
“Men, especially white men, are much more likely to enter the trades or enter the technology industry, where a degree also isn’t required,” Kan said.

Fear of Debt

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Let’s not forget about how expensive it is to go to college. Accumulating student loan debt is also not making a 4-year college education enticing.
Young people seem to now understand how bad student loan debts could get, with TikTok content creators now striving to educate their peers. And frankly, the student loan statistics are terrifying if anyone cares to delve deeper.

Employers’ Turnaround

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Prospective students are not wrong to ditch college in favor of going straight to the workforce. After all, many employers are no longer requiring a college degree to recruit.
The Freedom Economy Index, a collaborative project of RedBalloon and PublicSquare, surveyed 70,000 small businesses and the results were surprising. 91% of those small businesses thought that recent college grads didn’t gain any relevant skills matching the business community’s needs today.

No Degrees for Big Companies

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More shocking than small businesses not seeing the value in a college degree is how big companies, too, are seeing the same problem. Big companies like Bank of America, Walmart, even Google, and IBM will no longer ask for a college degree when students apply for entry-level jobs.
Furthermore, a predicted “1.4 million jobs could open to workers without college degrees over the next five years,” the Burning Glass Institute reported.

READ ALSO: How FAFSA “Fixes” Have Impacted College Decision Day

No Degrees for Government Jobs

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Another good news for students without college degrees. In 12 states, including Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Florida, they can still get a government job. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan was the first one to start offering jobs for non-college grads.
Utah Governor Spencer Cox even stated, “Degrees have become a blanket barrier to entry in too many jobs. Instead of focusing on demonstrated competence, the focus too often has been on a piece of paper. We are changing that.”

Migration of Young Men

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The migration of young men away from college can be explained by a growing and widespread skepticism over higher education and the high student debt it often leads to, experts said.

In 2022, the total number of 18- to 24-year-olds enrolled in college had declined by 1.2 million since its peak in 2011. That coincided with the growing $1.75 trillion of student debt nationwide.

Gender Pay Gap

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With gender inequality currently coloring the pay gap issue between male and female workers, can it be that soon we’ll see a reversal of the roles?
If it’s true that more and more companies will hire entry-level employees without a degree, that reversal may just happen. But young men must still know that college grads still make $1 million more than the others. It’s all up to them whether they want to be super rich or not.

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