New Report Shows Men Declining in College Enrollment Rates, Women Now Dominating


Giana Aguilar, Reporter

Editor’s Note: Story is currently under revision 15 Nov 2021. 


A new study released by the Wall Street Journal has shown men are enrolling and attending college and higher education institutions at a significantly lower rate. The National Student Clearinghouse compared enrollment data from five years prior and now, accounting for a 71% decline.

Women are taking the lead in enrollment and completion of education. According to Douglas Shapiro, Executive Director at the National Student Clearinghouse, two women will earn a college degree for every man. There has been a steady decline.

Although the declining enrollment for men reflects in college, the issue starts in high school. “Boys and men tend to zigzag their way through adolescence,” said Richard Reeves, a Brookings Institution senior who is currently writing about men in the economy.

Attendance is not the only issue, but academic performance is also more prominent in women. At the University of Vermont, women made up about 80% of honors graduates, and 70% of women graduate within four years. This is a nationwide trend.


"College Girls" by CollegeDegrees360 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
CollegeDegrees360 via Flickr

Some argue education institutions are structured to favor men and their success. Many news articles like’s “18 times students and parents said school dress codes went too far” demonstrate high school girls are often sent home to change wardrobe without regard for their education. According to Global Citizen, education institutions question a woman’s strength in dealing with menstrual cycles and claim periods are not reason enough to miss school. Structured setbacks placed upon women have made them find loopholes to succeed in environments against them.

In an interview with Brandon McKelvey, Valencia College Vice President for Technology, Research, and Analytics, he stated “it is a (multi-causal) problem…The academic performance of women students in K-12, fewer discipline referrals, higher GPA, high accelerated courses. Females are doing those things at K-12. The K-12 system impacts that.”

“Valencia has created a new strategic plan with higher access, transfer, graduation; equity between race/ethnicity”, McKelvey continued. Valencia, like many schools, is forming initiatives focused on gender and race/ethnicity. Institutions are set to create solutions in target areas such as school-specific areas to draw attention, reach out to students, and widen their reach.

In terms of government approach, President Joe Biden has emphasized a free community-college plan with a cost of $1.8 trillion. The cost of education is detrimental to past, present, and future generations. Horror stories of loans prevent some students from considering college as an option.  Students may fear the lowering acceptance rates of institutions across the nation and the subsequent increasing tuition rates.

Men went from the majority to the minority.  Among the nation, there are more than 500 women’s centers, helping women succeed. The government and institutions becoming more involved are necessary to change this decline.