Biden says 'women are becoming - not a joke - better educated than men' as male college enrollment drops

  • In Politics
  • 2021-10-21 16:41:33Z
  • By Business Insider
joe biden
joe biden  
  • Biden said he was "worried" about the drop in male college enrollment in the US.

  • Women are enrolling, and completing, college at higher rates than men, particularly during the pandemic.

  • The decline could come down to a lack of guidance for young men, but the gender wage gap continues to hurt women.

When touting his economic agenda in his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, President Joe Biden expressed concern for a trend that has been gaining steam recently - the drop in college enrollment among men.

"Women are becoming - not a joke - better educated than men," Biden said during his remarks. "I do about five college commencements a year. Four of those five, the valedictorian out of those classes for the last 10 years has been a woman. And if you read the data now, we're worried about the number of men attending college."

At the end of the last academic year, women made up 59.5% of college students while men made up just 40.5%, according to enrollment data from the National Student Clearinghouse, and US colleges have seen a 1.5 million decline in students enrolled over the past five years, with men accounting for 71% of that decline.

The Brookings Institute released a report earlier this month that elaborated on the data Biden said he's "worried about." The report found that not only are enrollment numbers for men dropping, but so are college completion rates, noting that men who enrolled in a four-year college in 2013 were ten percentage points less likely than women to graduate in four years.

The drops in enrollment and completion could come down to pandemic-related struggles, high tuition fees, and a lack of guidance, as The Wall Street Journal reported last month. Experts told the Journal that men are falling behind because many of them felt they needed to step in and help their families financially during the pandemic, while others were not given the support systems they needed to help them decide what to do with their futures.

"I'm sort of waiting for a light to come on so I figure out what to do next," a 23-year-old who dropped out of college after a semester told the Journal.

While the declines in men attending and finishing college are a growing higher-educational issue, the wage gap still persists and is keeping many women behind in employment. Men continue to dominate high-paying industries like technology and engineering, while women-dominated industries, like education, typically pay less.

And regardless of where they work, the existing gender wage gap hurts women. According to Pew research, women earned 84% of what men earned in 2020.

Bidens remarks came as he was touting his economic agenda, and particularly, Democrats' social-spending bill that includes educational investments, like universal pre-K for three- and four-year-olds. However, tuition-free community college is reportedly being dropped from the bill - a provision that would have significantly lessened concerns about the high costs of attaining a higher education.


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