Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Go Boys Go!

The National Center for Education Statistics has recently shared with me some as yet unpublished data on higher education degree awards for 2003-04 by degree level and state. These data continue to show women far outpacing men in bachelor's degrees: 804,117 for women compared to 595,425 for men.

However, these new data suggest that since 2000 the boys may finally be waking up to the need to get a college education. The women continue to make extraordinary year-to-year gains in bachelor's and other degrees received. But since 2000, at last, the men seem to be making nearly comparable gains year-to-year. Between 2000 and 2004 the number of bachelor's degrees awarded to women increased by 96,609 (13.7%), while the number of bachelor's degrees awarded to men increased by 65,058 (12.2%). This may not look like progress. But between 1970 and 2000 the number of bachelor's degrees awarded to women increased by 366,289 (107.3%) while the number awarded to men increased by 79,270 (17.6%).

While the gender gap in higher education continues to widen, the rate at which it is widening has slowed. And the reason it has slowed is not because women have slowed their own progress. It is because the men are finally starting to make some real progress of their own.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Purchasing power of Pell Grant maximum award

I have just updated our previously reported analysis of the loss of purchasing power of the Pell Grant maximum award. Following the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), this is the foundation of needy students' financial aid packages to pay college attendance costs. Where the EFC is zero the student receives the maximum Pell Grant which is currently $4050. But if the Pell Grant maximum award bought as much higher education in 2005-06 that it bought in 1979-80 then the Pell Grant maximum award would have to be:
$ 9720 in public universities
$ 9523 in other public 4-year colleges
$ 6796 in community colleges
$ 11,223 in private universities
$ 9953 in private 4-year colleges
$ 10,506 in private 2-year colleges
Sadly, the difference between $4050 and these needed amounts has been left to Pell Grant recipients and their families to work out. Usually this means more work, or more borrowing, or too often moving down the price ladder of higher education to a community college where Pell Grant recipients are increasingly concentrated.