Affirmative action for male students has become the new ‘dirty little secret’ with US colleges ‘worried’ that men are abandoning courses in record numbers – but are afraid to speak out amid the glare of gender politics.
Women now make up an increasing proportion of the student body across America, in part driven by a trove of recent initiatives aimed at improving gender equality.
Data from National Student Clearinghouse reveals female students accounted for 59.5 percent of all college enrollments in spring 2021, compared to just 40.5 percent that were men.
Overall, enrollment of college students has been down every year over the last five years, according to National Student Clearinghouse data.
The decline was greatest this year, with spring 2021 enrollment falling 3.5 percent across all sectors and genders.
But the gap between the two sexes is widening, with male student enrollment declining more drastically than their female counterparts.
Male enrollment fell 5.5 percent (or 400,000 students) from 7.2 million students in spring 2020 to 6.8 million in spring 2021, while female enrollment fell at a lower rate of 2 percent from 10.2 million to 10 million (or 200,000 students) within the same timeframe.
This disparity is especially visible for two-year community college courses, with male enrollment dropping by 14.4 percent compared to 6 percent for female enrollment.
Women also outstripped men in college applications by 3,805,978 to 2,815,810 in the 2021-22 school year, Common Application data found – and with the gap expected to continue widening.
Female students are also outstripping men in nearly every area of college life – making up 80 percent of honors graduates from the University of Vermont’s college of arts and sciences.
Women also made up 59 per cent of student body presidents in 2019-20, with that figure rising to 74 per cent of vice presidents.
Douglas Shapiro, executive director of the research center at the National Student Clearinghouse, told the Wall Street Journal that if the trend continues over the next few years, two women will earn a college degree for every man.