Colleges are increasingly creating masculinity programs, aimed at boosting retention while encouraging students to rethink what it means to “be a man.”

Inside Higher Ed reports.

Masculinity programming at University of Redlands hopes to help men be ‘authentic selves’

Across the country, male students are falling behind female students in college enrollment, academic performance and retention. According to National Center for Education Statistics, 56 percent of male students graduate in six years, compared to 62 percent of female students. From 1970 to 2010, the rate of women’s bachelor’s degree completion in the U.S. increased from 14 percent to 36 percent. The rate for men grew by just seven percentage points — from 20 to 27 percent.

At the University of Redlands, men are trailing women, too, with a retention rate of 85 percent compared to 90 percent for women. The private liberal arts university in California has long had a Men’s Retention Committee, but it had failed to boost graduation rates. Last year, Zack Ritter, the university’s associate director for campus diversity and inclusion, and Reggie Robles, the university’s first-generation-students coordinator, decided to try something new.