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The number of men enrolled at two- and four-year colleges has fallen behind women by record levels, The Wall Street Journal reports.

For the 2020-21 academic year, women made up an all-time high of 59.5 percent of college students, while men trailed at 40.5 percent, according to enrollment data from the National Student Clearinghouse, a nonprofit research group. U.S. institutions had 1.5 million fewer students compared to five years ago, and men accounted for 71 percent of that decline. More women also applied to college than men for the 2021-22 year -- 3,805,978 compared to 2,815,810. That’s nearly a percentage point higher than the gap from the previous academic year, according to the Common Application. (This paragraph has been updated to include a link to the original source.)

The differences in enrollment numbers are part of an education gap that has been widening for 40 years, the Journal reports. If that trend continues, two women will earn a college degree for every man within the next few years, Douglas Shapiro, executive director of the research center at the National Student Clearinghouse, told the Journal.

And the enrollment numbers look different among different races, with poor and working-class white men enrolling at lower rates than young Black, Latino and Asian men from the same economic backgrounds, according to an analysis of census data by the Pell Institute for the Journal.

The report comes when women’s colleges are trying to stand out to prospective students. More than 10 million women enrolled at a college for spring 2021, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.