Education

College Column

September 26, 1984 2 min read
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College graduates continue to be the least likely members of the American workforce to be unemployed, according to statistics compiled in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest population survey.

As of last March, the unemployment rate for college graduates 25 to 64 years old was 2.7 percent, while that for high-school graduates was 7.2 percent, and that for workers with an 8th-grade education or less was 11.6 percent.

Overall, the rate of participation in the workforce was higher for black college graduates than for their white peers, according to the bureau, but it attributed that difference to the higher participation of black female graduates (88 percent) than of white female graduates (77 percent). Some 95 percent of both black and white male graduates were employed.

Women college graduates now constitute 38 percent of all adult workers with four or more years of college, compared with 32 percent in 1970, the survey found. About 78 percent of all women with college degrees are now in the workforce, the bureau says.

Although there are only 110 women’s colleges today--down from 268 in 1960--reports of their demise a decade ago were very premature, reports The Chronicle of Higher Education. In fact, says the Chronicle, those that remain are thriving. Among the indicators:

Graduates of women’s colleges between 1975 and 1978 were far more likely than peers at coeducational schools to go on to medical school, one survey found.

Nine women’s colleges were among the 25 institutions that over a 40-year period produced the most women who went on to earn doctorates.

The percentage of women at women’s colleges who major in the sciences is three times the national average for women.

Students at women’s colleges are more likely than their peers to be leaders in student activities and to develop high aspirations, according to another study.

“They are the only places where there is really a balance of leadership, influence, and power among men and women--faculty, administrators, and trustees,” said Robert A. Spivey, president of Randolph-Macon Women’s College. “So-called coeducational colleges are really male-dominated.”

Notes: Lisa Birnbach, the former college student whose first book, The Official Preppy Handbook, established her as an irreverant observer of youth mores, has a new work--Lisa Birnbach’s College Book. It details her findings about the “best dorms,” “most popular majors,” “favorite drugs,” “famous alumni,” and other elements of the student lifestyle at 186 colleges and universities. ... The number of students enrolling in two-year colleges will drop this fall for the second year--down an estimated 77,983 to 4.78 million, according to the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges. Enrollments dropped by 23,000 last year.--mm

A version of this article appeared in the September 26, 1984 edition of Education Week as College Column

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