The Diversity Issue on College Campuses That May Surprise You…

…and it’s not even the Supreme Court’s recent decision ending affirmative action, which itself created shock waves.

It’s a gender gap. A huge one.

Consider this: In 2021, women outnumbered men 59 to 41 percent in undergraduate enrollment, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. By 2025, that gap is projected to widen to 62 percent to 38 percent. Some colleges already have female enrollments of 65 or even 70 percent.

An emerging world where men receive far less education than women has drastic implications. Significant gender imbalances in professions requiring a college degree would constrain a diversity of perspectives, experiences, and ideas. Income inequality would likely worsen as men’s contributions to middle- and lower­ income households decrease. Facing frustration and failure, men’s mental health would decline, fraying family and social ties. And political polarization would accelerate along gender lines, since education level and ideology are so closely correlated.

This would also dramatically impact the nation’s earnings and economy. Men with only a high-school degree earn $1.2 million less over their lifetimes than bachelor’s degree holders, according to a 2020 study by the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth. Increasing the number of people with bachelor’s degrees, on the other hand, boosts GDP.

For Black men, the picture is even bleaker. Only 76 percent of Black male students graduated from high school in 2021, compared with 87 percent of White males, according to a Brookings Institution analysis of five states with available data. The divide grows wider in college. Black  males had a six-year graduation rate of 34 percent, compared with 44 percent for Black females, 61 percent for white males, and 67 percent for white females, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

But this gender inequality and its attendant harms is not inevitable. 

Want to know how you can help? 

Read this important piece by CFES President and CEO Rick Dalton and Board Member Bob Seaberg, along with Middlebury College’s Jon Reidel:

CFES Brilliant Pathways is a global leader in helping K-12 underserved students from rural and urban communities become college and career ready, giving students an opportunity to forge their own route to a bright future. You can learn more at