One college enrollment consultant calls it "higher education's dirty little secret"—schools have begun going out of their way to beef up the enrollment of male students. The reason is made clear in a story by Douglas Belkin at the Wall Street Journal about the ever-widening gap between women and men at colleges across the US.
- Women made up 59.5% of college students at the end of the 2020-21 academic year, a record high.
- Colleges and universities had 1.5 million fewer students than five years ago, and most of that decline—71%—was among male students.
- Despite what Belkin describes as "tacit affirmative action for boys" now underway, the trend is not slowing. Women filled out 3.8 million applications this year compared to 2.8 million for men, increasing the application gap by a full percentage point over the previous year.
- The difference is largest at four-year private schools, where women make up 61% of enrollment.
Belkin interviews a number of young men who have opted to skip college and sums up the general sentiment: They "didn’t see enough value in a college degree for all the effort and expense required to earn one." Instead, they prefer getting a paycheck right after high school. The gap persists among different races and economic backgrounds, as well as in different geographic regions. (Read the full story