The Gender Gap in College Enrollments of Recent High School Graduates

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau offers a look at the college enrollment status of 2019 high school graduates. That year there were 3,185,000 students who graduated from high school. Slightly more than two-thirds of these students were enrolled in some type of postsecondary education in October 2019.

When we break the data down by gender, we find that 61.3 percent of male high school graduates in 2019 had enrolled in postsecondary education by October of that year. For women high school graduates in 2019, 69.3 percent were enrolled in college by October.

For 2019 male high school graduates, 39 percent had enrolled in four-year colleges and universities by October and 22.3 percent were enrolled in two-year institutions. For 2019 women high school graduates, 44.2 percent had enrolled in four-year higher educational institutions by October of that year and 20.9 percent were enrolled in two-year postsecondary institutions. Male high school graduates in 2019 were twice as likely as their female peers to enroll in vocational schools.

For 2019 high school graduates, 17.3 percent of men were neither enrolled in school nor employed in October 2019. For women high school graduates, the figure was 10.5 percent.

Note: All of this data is from the pre-pandemic period. It will be important to see if the gender gap in college enrollments will expand for 2020 graduates who completed high school after the pandemic began.


Filed Under: EnrollmentsGender GapResearch/Study

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