Fewer and fewer men want to go to college. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal they are now trailing female college students at record levels. At the close of the 2021-2022 academic year women made up 59.5% of college students, which is an all time high, and men made up 40.5%. All told, U.S colleges and universities have 1.5 million fewer students compared with five years ago, and men accounted for 71% of the decline.
The main question coming out of this study is – why is college and its intended experience being sold effectively to American women as necessary to advance in their lives but not to American men?
There are all the obvious reasons men are opting out of college in a post-covid world. What was once seen as an almost necessary next step in order to launch into adulthood is now getting a second look. The rising cost of college is leaving young adults entering their twenties with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of debt for degrees with little guarantee of a job afterward.
Fewer and fewer men want to go to college. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal they are now trailing female college students at record levels. At the close of the 2021-2022 academic year women made up 59.5% of college students, which is an all time high, and men made up 40.5%. All told, U.S colleges and universities have 1.5 million fewer students compared with five years ago, and men accounted for 71% of the decline
And who wants to attend college when they miss out on the social elements of the experience – fraternities, sororities and in-person learning – but are forced to do remote learning from their room, yet still end up paying the same tuition as during regular pre-covid times.
I have nothing against the Ivy League. I went to Columbia University and for the most part, aside from the fact that I was one of what felt like four Republicans on the entire campus, I enjoyed my time there and got much – both educationally and socially – out of what is considered one of the most premier institutions in America.
But today, attending an Ivy League school tends to inspire a very different reaction than it once did. Like everything in the culture war, Ivy League degrees are now seen as being synonymous with having a level of contempt for many Americans, and inspire in other people visceral disdain for the elites who believe it is their right to run our country.
Today’s college experience has already exported much of this culture war outside the Ivy League – into less exalted colleges and also into the companies and government departments that now employ them.
I used to give speeches at colleges regularly. But after an incident with some particularly angry students who felt the very presence of a conservative woman on their campus offensive, I thought the entire experience however was ultimately not worth the insufferability of trying to reason with what seemed like spoiled, radical overgrown children, not young adults about to take on society.
Comedians such as Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock have spoken out about the absurdity and impossibility of trying to perform comedy in front of college audiences just waiting to be triggered.
While going to college was once a rite of passage for education and socialization and a foundation of a better career, now, it seems more like a place of hysteria, irrationality, and speech codes, a place filled with landmines both in and out of the classroom.
Two white students at Arizona State University have been forced out of a ‘multicultural learning space’ after activists took issue with Police Lives Matter stickers emblazoned on their laptops
The conservative cliche is that this is just an example of leftist professors indoctrinating naive young people. But in reality, the opposite seems to be true – it is the students who are the aggressors, deplatforming and driving from campus even tenured academics who utter the wrong thought.
Try voicing any dissenting opinion as an academic on issues like Israel, President Trump, even trans women in sports and you’re more likely to find yourself kicked out of the academy or as a viral figure on the internet or both.
A recent video that went viral taken in my home state at Arizona State University showed two white male students are sitting in a multicultural center studying when they were accosted by two women for being white men in the room and having a ‘blue lives matter’ (the slogan used to show support for law enforcement) on his computer.
One young man in the video looks simultaneously confused and then petrified, the fear registering on his face of what will happen when that video uploads onto Youtube and turns him into the national figure of hate and ridicule.
So no wonder men increasingly feel colleges don’t want them. There is nothing worse that someone can be these days than a ‘white man of privilege’.
A recent video that went viral taken in my home state at Arizona State University showed two white male students are sitting in a multicultural center studying when they were accosted by two women for being white men in the room and having a ‘blue lives matter’ (the slogan used to show support for law enforcement) on his computer
I am going to present the same question I raised in an earlier column: Who likes living like this? Who wants to live and, in the case of college, learn on campus that is repressive, humorless, angry space. And where to hold a diversity of opinion, to make a mistakes or just adopt a contrarian position to the loud wokesters could quite literally ruin your life and career when they’ve barely begun?
We live entirely in two fractured Americas. Anyone who thinks differently hasn’t left New York or Los Angeles in the last four years. The broad national divide should be no shock to anyone paying remote attention. People in the middle of the country do not trust those of us in the media, the vast majority of politicians and swamp-creatures running Washington D.C., our financial institutions, or any of our institutions which claim to churn out our elite class.
They feel judged, looked down upon and disrespected by the people running our country and so many of those people who attended elite institutions and seem to only have learned a new vocabulary for hating our country.
It seems natural that many young men who are coming up into adulthood wouldn’t feel the need to attend college when the people running them don’t respect who they are or where they came from – and when women go looking for a mate, they don’t want to marry down.
But it’s worse than that. As a 2019 study for the Journal of Marriage and Family found, this creates a serious problem for family formation.
The authors summarized their findings by writing: ‘Our study uncovers the demographic reality of large deficits in the supply of men who are suited or well matched for today’s unmarried women. If nothing else, our empirical results indicate that the US marriage market is currently in disequilibria. The supply of unmarried men is out of demographic balance with the demand for marriageable men among America’s currently unmarried women.’
Put simply, there are too many eligible, educated women chasing too few men with the same qualifications. An ever widening gender gap in our colleges is only going to make that even worse.
If there is anything a generation of Millennials have learned from the upheaval of American families following years of high divorce rates is that we understand how disruptive it is to have a country where family formation proves difficult, where the costs of having children and paying off student debt discourage childrearing, and where socioeconomic divides discourage strong unions.
It is yet another way people stay tribal and divided, spending more and more of their lives as individuals instead of families and neighborhoods.
So what happens from here? The institutions become even more narrow in their focus, the divide between men and women increases – and America’s cultural divide grows larger. There will be social consequences as there always are when giant paradigm cultural shifts happen. The result in this case is a nation made weaker by the very institutions that are supposed to help produce the best and brightest.