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Women now make up almost 60% of college students—an all-time high

The perceived lack of return on the cost of a college education and fatherlessness are cited as reasons men increasingly forgo higher education.

Women now make up almost 60% of college students—an all-time high
[Source Photo: Ivan Samkov/Pexels]

The most recent data shows that female students make up the majority at colleges across the nation, reports The Wall Street Journal. The publication examined data from the nonprofit research group, the National Student Clearinghouse, and found that for the 2020–21 academic year 59.5% of college students were women—that’s despite overall college and university enrollment falling by 1.5 million students over the past five years.

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Other notable points gleaned from the National Student Clearinghouse’s data on the higher education gender gap:

  • For the 2021–22 school year, 3,805,978 women applied to college compared to only 2,815,810 men.
  • When only private four-year colleges are taken into account, females made up 61% of the student population for the 2020–21 school year—an all-time high.
  • While higher education institutions have 1.5 million fewer students today than they did five years ago, men make up 71% of that decline. This is despite men making up 51% of the U.S. population.
  • By 2018, 65% of women who had enrolled in college in the year 2012 had a college diploma. That’s compared to only 59% of men.

The Wall Street Journal says that in interviews men have cited the high costs of college and the lack of return on that expense as one of the reasons they may forgo a college education. Social scientists say increased fatherlessness and video games may be obstacles that affect men more than women when deciding whether to pursue higher education.

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About the author

Michael Grothaus is a novelist, journalist, and former screenwriter. His debut novel EPIPHANY JONES is out now from Orenda Books. You can read more about him at MichaelGrothaus.com

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