Although the official enrollment numbers for AU’s 2019-20 school year have not yet been released, one thing is certain; the freshman class is comprised of more female than male students.
Ryon Kaopuiki, vice president for enrollment, explained that, while data does not yet exist for this year, it is clear that the majority of students attending AU are women.
“We’re still pulling all the data together,” he said. “The gap isn’t as large as in the past, but it’s still more female than male.”
According to the most recent data, women account for approximately 60% of the full-time undergraduate student body.
Dr. Tammy Reedy-Strother, chair of the Department of Sociology, Social Work, Criminal Justice and Family Science, said that AU does not deviate from the national trend when it comes to the enrollment of men and women.
“AU is like most other colleges and universities in this regard; for decades now, women have attended colleges and universities at higher rates than men and have attained more than half of the bachelor’s and master’s degrees for quite a few years,” she explained. “As of a few years ago, women began to earn more than half of the combined terminal degrees, although there are still gendered patterns in which fields women and men seek degrees at all levels.”
Reedy-Strother said that this national trend in higher education enrollment seems to be tied to numerous societal factors.
“Women are more likely to need higher levels of education to compete for the same jobs,” she explained. “Women tend to need higher education to earn a comparable wage in a similar position.
“Men are typically more likely than women are to work in higher-paying fields that don’t require higher education, such as labor positions, delivery services, construction and mining, as well as in trades that require other types of certifications, such as plumbers, mechanics and electricians.”
Graphic design major Emily Henderson believes that the national trend in female enrollment is due to a shift in how society views women.
“A long time ago, women weren’t really seen as going to college and they were expected to stay home,” she said. “Now, as more feminist movements are starting, I think that girls are wanting to go to college to show that we can do things that men can do. It’s like a show of our capabilities.”