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Men much less likely to earn a college degree than women, report suggests

After centuries of men eclipsing women in the halls of academia, in a world that has long favored male authority, men are now much less likely to earn a degree than women, new research suggests

In California, 56% of undergraduates at the state’s public universities and community colleges are women, as are 54% of undergraduates at nonprofit colleges and 63% at for-profit colleges, according to a new analysis from the Public Policy Institute of California. The growing college gender gap has sharp consequences for men’s economic prospects, many experts say, particularly those from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. 

Based on current rates of enrollment and graduation, 36% of women in California will earn a bachelor’s degree by the time they are in their early to mid-20s, compared with only 24% of men. This imbalance is the consequence of gender differences that start well before college, this research suggests.

Female students have stronger high school records and are more likely to be prepared for college than male students. Other recent studies find that gender differences can start as early as grade school, with male students falling behind in English and math test scores in grades three to eight. This may lead to boys dropping out of school early.

Clearly, the implications of the growing equity gap for young men are significant, considering the link between college completion and economic mobility. Richard Reeves’ new book, “Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters and What to Do About It” also examines many facets of this correlation moving forward, if a new gender inequity does indeed emerge.