Why do men drop out of college more than women?

According to a recent study in Gender and Society (as reported in the Girl w/ Pen blog), men are less likely to tolerate high college loan debt and hence are more prone to dropping out of college than women are.  Men college drop-outs can earn a lot more money than women drop-outs, so men’s behavior makes good short term economic sense (although by midlife men college grads earn $20,000 more per year than drop-outs).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent data on median weekly earning for full-time workers 25 or older, women college drop-outs earn 25% less than their male counterparts.  In fact, women need a Bachelor’s degree in order to earn as much as men college drop-outs (to be precise, women with a Bachelor’s degree earn 11% more than men college drop outs).

 Median Weekly Earnings: First Quarter 2013 (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Full time workers 25 years and older



Women’s Wages as

Per cent of Men’s Wages

HS grad, no college

$   732



Some college or

associate degree

$   866



Bachelor’s degree only






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