CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — College has long been seen as one of the surest paths to fulfilling the American dream, but that may be changing amid increased scrutiny over drawbacks like the cost of a student degree.
The Wall Street Journal reports a generation of American men have simply given up on college, pointing out that the number of men in colleges is plunging to record lows compared to women.
“You have this group of men who are making a rational well thought out decision that says, hey, college is a surefire way to rack up debt, but it’s not that surefire path to a steady solid income that it might have been decades ago,” Angela Morabito, a higher education fellow at Campus Reform and former press secretary for former education secretary Betsy DeVos, said on “On Balance.”
Women now make up nearly 60% of college students, an all-time high, while men attending colleges has dropped to about 40% in the past academic year, according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse used in the WSJ report. There are also 1.5 million fewer college students total compared to five years ago.
“Then you have a second group of men that isn’t even applying to college,” Morabito said. “They’re saying, ‘What’s the point? I don’t get it.’ They’re also sometimes getting there and dropping out.”
According to a NerdWallet analysis, 2021 high school graduates could expect to borrow more than $38,000 in loans for a bachelor’s degree.
“Trade schools are a wonderful resource,” Morabito said. “Honestly, a high school education ought to be something that gives you marketable skills.”
CNBC broke down some of the highest-paying jobs that don’t require a bachelor’s degree, with the median wage for an air traffic controller at $124,540.
“The point is that college is not and should not be the only pathway to a successful future,” Morabito said.