Education crisis in the US when a generation of boys dropped out of college: ‘How can we leave a difficult family behind to continue our higher education?’

Financial burdens prevent American male students from entering college

When she and her male classmates talk about going to college, it all boils down to one thing, says Debrin Adon, a senior at a public high school in Worcester, Massachusetts, USA. “If I go to college, I will have to pay a lot of money and take on all this tuition debt.” That’s one of the many reasons why the number of men going to university has fallen compared to women in recent years. And the Covid-19 pandemic has made this ratio even more unbalanced.

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According to data from the National Center for Student Studies Clearinghouse, male enrollment has fallen seven times that of female students.

Adrian Huerta, Associate Professor of Education at the University of Southern California said: “In a sense, we lost a future generation of men to Covid-19.” And Luis Ponjuan, Associate Professor of Educational Administration at Texas A&M University said: “It’s a national crisis.”

However, Adon said that he still decided to go to college. Adon’s parents are Dominican immigrants to the US, wanting a better life for their children. Adon’s mother is unemployed, and her father runs a barber shop. The moment standing in front of the 135-year-old red brick school, Adon suddenly changed his mind and determined to go to university to pursue computer science with the desire to have a better life.

According to the research center, women now account for nearly 60 percent of university and college admissions, while men account for just over 40 percent, a complete reversal from 50 years ago. “This pandemic is making things worse,” he said. Associate Professor Ponjuan said.

There are many jobs available for male students from Worcester high schools such as grocery stores, Amazon, FedEx and other delivery companies, said Lynnel Reed, lead guidance counselor at the University Park Campus. Nearly two-thirds of students at University Park are considered economically disadvantaged. The school is also located in a neighborhood with fast food restaurants, liquor stores, parking lots and three-story houses where three families live, one on each floor.

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Lynnel Reed, Chief Leadership Advisor at University Park

“How can you leave a struggling family to go to college when you know you can only get a job right away to meet your family’s daily needs?”, Reed said.

This puts more pressure on boys than girls, says Derrick Broom, a sociologist at the University of Cincinnati. “It’s like people realize that men have to fend for themselves, be independent,” Derrick Broom said. “There’s a little bit of difference in girls. We’re teaching them how to invest for bigger paychecks.”

This is only made worse by Covid-19. Adrian Huerta said: “At this point the logical explanation is: ‘I have to take a break because my family needs this money’.” And even when young men are determined to go to college later than usual, what has happened shows that “the likelihood of them going back to school for a university degree is probably very low,” Huerta said.

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University Park Campus

Struggling with life for a living

Despite the attractiveness of a salary in exchange for debts and a few years of “housing history” to get a degree, reality shows that “Many young men aged 17, 18 work 12-hour shifts, get married, buy a truck, mortgage property and by the age of 30, their bodies are exhausted.” Ponjuan said. “And now they have a mortgage, three kids to raise and that truck, not knowing what to do next.”

Not everyone has to go to college. Careers graduate quickly and with little success, and technical education can lead to high-demand and well-paying jobs in high-skilled occupations, automation, or other fields.

However, students who graduate with a bachelor’s degree often still earn more than those with a lower degree. And the pandemic has shown that people with low degrees are vulnerable to the economic downturn. In the United States, the unemployment rate among these people more than doubled in the spring compared to the unemployment rate among bachelor’s degree holders, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco said.

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Pedro Hidalgo, another student at University Park, admits that he never had faith that he could go to college. Later, “The high school teachers really helped me realize that sometimes I’m more than I thought I was. They helped me grow more and more confident in my abilities, not just as a student but as a student. a man”. So now, Hidalgo is determined to pursue a career in psychology to become a clinical therapist.

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He said he made the decision after taking dual enrollment courses offered by his high school in partnership with Clark University. “It makes it easier for students to transition to college and build their confidence,” Kellie Becker, Head of Guidance Counseling at North High School, said.

This is also the dual enrollment program that made Abdulkadir Abdullahi decide to become a student. “I don’t think I’m going to go to college. I don’t think it can be useful in the real world.” Abdullahi shared. “I’d rather hang out with my friends than be lazy.”

Then, Abdullahi’s sister went to college and he decided to join the dual enrollment program. “I said to myself, ‘Oh, I can really do this.’ I always thought of college as writing a 20-page essay a week and having to stay up all night to finish it.” Abdullahi confided. Now he plans to get a degree in sociology.

Adon, Abdullahi and Hidalgo said some of their male classmates are still apprehensive. “They don’t think they’re smart enough. They don’t think they can do it, doubting themselves because of their life, what they’ve been through and seen.” Adon said.

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In dual enrollment classes, there are more girls than boys, Hidalgo said, and “that’s scary.” Abdullahi said: “There are many things that distract young men. I think they just lose motivation.” There is a study from researchers at Brown University that shows that, right from the elementary level, boys seem to be more restrained than girls. “Boys realize that teachers and mentors don’t focus on them the way teachers invest in girls.” Adrian Huerta shared. “Teachers and counselors should be more concerned with making sure boys do basic things like classroom behavior.”

This has long been the case as enrollment at Worcester State University is now more than 60% female. Ryan Forsyth, Worcester State Vice President of Admissions Administration said. He also said that the pandemic has caused many high school boys to decide to go to work after graduation, “rather than seeing the value of going to college to get a degree, really invest in yourself.”

“That doesn’t look like it’s going to change any time soon,” Ponjuan shared. “This pandemic only highlights the untold truths that it is creating short-term solutions for boys, not giving them long-term opportunities. In the long run, they will stop growing, not be able to. It created a false sense of security that they would only get when delivering packages.”

Source: hechingerreport

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