The Pandemic Widened the Gender Gap in Higher Education Enrollments

The U.S. Department of Education has released preliminary data on enrollments in higher education in the fall of 2020. These statistics are the first data set of enrollment figures from the Department of Education that reflect the effect of the global pandemic on higher education.

The data shows that there were 19,355,127 students enrolled in higher education in the fall of 2020. This was down from 19,637,499 in the fall of 2019 before the onset of the pandemic. Therefore, total enrollments were down 1.4 percent from 2019. In 2010, more than 21 million students were enrolled in higher education.

There were 11,350,777 women students enrolled in higher education last fall. In the fall of 2019, there were 11,274,609 women enrolled. Thus, enrollments of women were up slightly. In contrast, there were 8,004,350 men enrolled in high education in the fall of 2020, A year, earlier, 8,362,890 men were enrolled. Thus, while women’s enrollments were up, the enrollments of men dropped by 4.3 percent.

In 2020, women made up 58.8 percent of total enrollments. A year earlier, women were 57.4 percent of total enrollments.

In 2020, 869,288 women were enrolled at for-profit schools. They made up more than two thirds of all students at these schools. About 7.7 percent of all women enrolled in higher education attended for-profit schools. For men, the figure was 5 percent.

In the fall of 2020, there were 1,920,814 women enrolled at graduate schools in the United States. They made up 61.2 percent of all graduate students. In 2019, women were 60.5 percent of all graduate students.


Filed Under: EnrollmentsResearch/Study

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