Do male students feel “uncomfortable” at SHSU?

The Houston Chronicle recently published an article stating that male students have reported feeling “uncomfortable” on Texas campuses, due to completion rate disparities between gender.

“Outnumbered male college students have created a sharp gender gap in statewide completion rates, and according to the State’s Higher Education Commissioner, a campus cultural problem for men,” Houston Chronicle Reporter Lindsay Ellis said. “Male students in Texas earned 62,211 degrees and certificates from public four-year universities in 2016, far behind female students, who received 82,700, according to the coordinating board’s data. That gap has persisted since at least 2014.”

At Sam Houston State University, female students make up 62.4 percent of the student body (including graduate and undergraduate students). According to the College Factual website, the female to male ratio at SHSU is said to be better than the national average. Out of 20,477 students enrolled in 2016, the gender demographics at SHSU comprised of 12,792 female students and 7,685 male students. The fact that male student are 37.6 percent of the student body directly correlates with the completion rate for males being lower than that of females. However, why are less male students attending colleges than females?

“I wouldn’t say I am uncomfortable with school,” sophomore Business Finance major Ricky Perez said.  “[However], coming out of High School there are jobs that make decent money such as welding, truck drivers, construction, or mechanic work that doesn’t require an [college] education. I feel like a lot of the male population is money hungry and is always looking for a quick buck so instead of going to school and spend money, they just work and make money.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the majority of all U.S. jobs were in occupations that typically require a high school diploma or less for entry. These are mostly labor-intensive jobs (such as construction workers, truck drivers, welders, etc.) and are all male-dominated fields.

“Especially in biology I have noticed the difference between male students in upper level classes versus female [students]; most of my classes have a female dominant ratio,” senior Biology major Savanah Hamilton said.  “However, the professors represent a male dominant population, showing possibly a different statistic of genders at different age groups or level of graduate education. Men are often encouraged to go the quick cash route such as trade school or the oil field, while females are not often encouraged to pursue these labor intensive fields. This may be why there is the gap in today’s universities.”

The term “pink-collar” jobs was popularized in the late 1970’s to denote female-dominated career paths (such as nurses, teachers, public affairs, etc.), which are not considered “white-collar” jobs, but neither are they “blue-collar” manual labor jobs. Many of these jobs require some form of college degrees in today’s society. SHSU’s Education and Nursing Programs are both very large and well-known, and graduates from these programs are 92 percent female.

“I don’t like the headline, but it brings up an interesting point on socioeconomic statues and race as an indicator of success in higher education,” Clayton Bradshaw, Instructional Assistant at Texas State University and SHSU alumnus, said. “This reinforces the need to eliminate student loans and to reduce the reliance on low paid jobs that many college students are forced into just to eat and pay rent.”

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