Although the freshman female population at Texas State saw a slight increase for the third straight year this fall, the overall female and male populations have remained largely static, resulting in low male retention rates.
The freshman female population percentage has slightly increased since 2010, raising one percent this fall from the previous one. The freshman male population dropped from 40.7 percent of the overall student population in 2010 to 39.3 percent this fall.
Texas State’s overall student population ratios have remained fairly static over the past year, with a .2 percent decrease in men and .2 increase in women from 2012 to this fall. However, women who attend Texas State are more likely to graduate and have better retention rates, according to Joe Meyer, director of Institutional Research.
“Even if (males and females) became equal parts of enrollment, 50-50, you’d still expect females to earn more degrees ultimately because they’re more likely to stick around and finish out their degree,” Meyer said.
In fall 2010, Texas State had an 81.4 percent retention rate for females and 74.8 percent for males, said Joanne Smith, vice president of Student Affairs.
Traditionally, female students at universities across the state, including Texas State, have higher retention rates and graduation rates than males, Meyer said. In addition, women generally have higher GPAs than males at Texas State.
“The strongest predictor of retention and ultimate graduation is academic performance,” Meyer said. “So, if you’re making good grades, your chances of being retained and ultimately graduating are much, much better than if you’re making poor grades.”
Smith said since there has been concern about the retention of the male population, programs have been created to help men with academics. Student Affairs holds “First Fridays,” meetings that allow male students to get together and discuss “what is going on,” Smith said. There is also the Male Initiative Committee, a meeting of administrators to discuss what can be done to help men graduate, she said.
“We continually try to understand what are those factors that are creating those (gender) gaps,” Smith said.
It is important for males to have men as role models to help them understand the importance of retention rates, Smith said.
Traditionally, Texas State has been a teacher’s university, Smith said. She said the population difference “makes sense” if you look at it from a teacher education standpoint.
The ratios of males to females at Texas State are on par with the rest of the country, Smith said. However, numbers from universities around the state have lower female percentages than those at Texas State this fall.
The University of Texas at San Antonio has a larger male population, with men comprising 51.4 percent of the fall 2013 population and 48.6 percent women.
Meredith Fox, senior management analyst for Texas A&M, said the institution’s enrollment profile was finalized Oct. 22 and 55.2 percent of the overall student population at Texas A&M is composed of women, with the remaining 44.8 percent being men.
According to University of Texas’ Office of Information Management and Analysis, 50.7 percent of the population is female and 49.3 percent is male.