After years of losing jobs to automation or off-shoring, American men are enrolling in college at record levels as they discover a degree is what employers increasingly value.
It’s a promising sign that men are starting to catch up after a long stretch of trailing female peers in educational attainment.
Of the 1.5 million men in the high school graduating class of 2016, just over one million, or 67 percent, were enrolled in two- or four-year institutions last fall, according to new Labor Department data. That’s up more than 6 percentage points from 2012, surpassing recession-era levels when the weak economy pushed students to stay in school and wait out the downturn. It’s also the highest share on record in Labor Department data going back to 1993 and in an alternative series from the National Center for Education Statistics going back to 1960.
The steady rise in male enrollment over the last four