Friday, October 21, 2005

There's more of them 

It's been pretty clear for awhile that more females were going to college, but now the gender gap is getting wider, leading some to wonder if there should be affirmative action to get more males onto campus.
In May, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education posted the inevitable culmination of a trend: Last year for the first time, women earned more than half the degrees granted statewide in every category, be it associate, bachelor, master, doctoral or professional.

Cause for celebration � or for concern?

Before you answer, consider the perspective of Jim McCorkell, founder of Admission Possible, a St. Paul program to help low-income high school kids prepare for college. Last year, 30% of the students were boys. This fall, that has inched up to 34%, but only because "we actually did a little affirmative action," McCorkell says. "If we had a tie (between a male and a female applicant), we gave it to a boy."
It's hardly a surprise that female students are more numerous, given the general observation from econometric studies that the rate of return on higher education for females is 2% higher than for males. (There's a summary table of research in this paper as Table 1.) But it is interesting to see how colleges are handling this problem. My curiosity -- do female students prefer to have gender balance or do they prefer a majority of female students around them?