Gender Trends in Higher Education Enrollments in the Age of the Global Pandemic

New research from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center finds that college enrollments have continued to fall this year after drops a year ago due to the global pandemic. Undergraduate enrollment is down 3.2 percent from a year ago. Undergraduate student numbers have now fallen by 6.5 percent from two years ago. First-year enrollments declined by 3.1 percent overall this year and 3.9 percent among traditional-age students.

When we examine the data by gender, the data shows that enrollments of women are down 3.6 percent from a year ago, slightly more than the decline for men. But over the two-year period from 2019 to 2021, enrollments of women have dropped 5.3 percent compared to more than 9 percent for men.

The enrollment of women in public four-year colleges and universities held steady in 2020 but dropped 2.3 percent this year. Enrollments of women were down slightly more than 1 percent at private four-year not-for-profit institutions. At for-profit higher education institutions, enrollments of women were down nearly 11 percent this fall, compared to more than 15 percent for men.

At two-year community colleges, women’s enrollments are down 6.8 percent this year, compared to 4.7 percent for men. But over the two-year period from 2019 to 2021, women enrollments at community colleges are down 12.2 percent compared to more than 18 percent for men.

Filed Under: EnrollmentsResearch/Study

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