The Gender Gap in Enrollment Declines During the COVID-19 Pandemic

A new report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center finds that in the first three months of the 2021 spring semester undergraduate enrollments are in their steepest declines so far since the pandemic began. Community college enrollments fell by double digits for the first time in this pandemic. Graduate enrollments, on the other hand, continue to grow.

Male undergraduates are increasingly falling behind their female counterparts during this pandemic. In the spring semester, male undergraduate enrollments are down by 8.9 percent from the spring 2020 semester. For women undergraduates, enrollments are down 4 percent.

There has been a huge gender difference in undergraduate enrollment declines for older students. For example, undergraduate enrollments for women over the age of 25 are down by about 2 percent. For men, the declines are much steeper at over 9.5 percent.

The gender gap in enrollment declines has occurred in all racial and ethnic groups. Among Latinx students, women have had a 5.1 percent decline, compared to 12.6 percent for men. For African Americans, women enrollments are down by 6.9 percent. For Black men, the decline is more than double that of African American women.

Primarily online institutions have been the only exception. Male enrollments are up 3.5 percent at these institutions, compared to 1.4 percent for female enrollments.

Filed Under: EnrollmentsResearch/Study

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