US: Concern over dwindling male tertiary enrolment

For many colleges, dwindling male enrolment has become a source of some concern. But at Saint John's University - an all-male Roman Catholic institution in Collegeville, Minnesota - recruiting men is a matter of survival, reports Inside Higher Ed. "We see it as a crisis, really, the lack of involvement of men," said Gar Kellom, executive director of the Center for Men's Leadership and Service at Saint John's. "We've looked at all the data and said somebody's got to do something."

Kellom calls the enrolment dips at some colleges part of a broader picture of disengagement among males, who are less likely to participate in programmes like study abroad while in college, and who are also less likely - throughout their lives -to go to the doctor or volunteer.

There is considerable debate within academe about whether enrolment declines are an issue for all males or just select socio-economic and ethnic groups. Current trend lines, however, have been a source of concern for some who track and study the data.

Male students made up 52% of the US undergraduate population in 1976, but that figure dropped to 43% by 2004, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The difference between male and female participation was found to be particularly stark among black students, where women outnumbered men in college enrolments by 29% in 2004.
Full report on the InsideHigherEd site