Male enrollment numbers in schools located within the Southern Regional Education Board region have seen a slight percentage increase over female enrollment, but data from some local institutions in the area have indicated their enrollment numbers show females to still be in the lead.
According to the Fact Book Bulletin distributed by the SREB in June, male and female enrollment percentage increases have been tracked in their key states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. In 1990-1995, male enrollment increased by 3 percent, which was lower than the 11 percent increase recorded for the female population during that time frame, and that trend continued to dominate for two more five-year spans.
However, the SREB bulletin showed in their report that from 2005-2010 males have now taken a slight lead in percentage increases in enrollment at 27 percent, with females trailing at 23 percent.
Ramona Williams, vice provost for Enrollment Services at East Tennessee State University said the numbers of males and females have stayed pretty consistent, with female enrollment being slightly higher than that of the males.
“If you looked at the overall student enrollment –– that would include undergraduates, graduate students, the whole mix –– there are more females than males,” Williams said. “In walking across campus, I don’t get a … feel that there’s a difference. It seems to kind of be ... evenly distributed.”
She said the trend of having a higher percentage in female enrollments has remained the same through the years at ETSU, and noted that in 2006 male enrollment was about 42 percent and female at 58 percent.
When asked of whether she feels the gender ratio on campus is considered an aspect of why students would choose to attend ETSU, Williams said she doesn’t think it’s a factor.
“I think people come to ETSU because of the wide variety of programs, majors, that are offered,” she said. “I’m not sure … how much people look at a breakdown of gender when they choose an institution. I think they look more to the kinds of programs and things that are available.”
According the Tennessee Higher Education Commission Fact Book 2011-2012, ETSU’s public head count by gender for fall 2011 was recorded to be 42.5 percent male and 57.5 percent female.
Janice Gilliam, president of Northeast State Community College, said their data reflects very similar from year to year and that it also shows that females are enrolling slightly more than males.
“We’re about 54 percent ... female and about 46 percent male,” Gilliam said. “That’s been very steady. I have no idea why that is. I would love to know and maybe we could go out and recruit more women or recruit more men. We focus on everyone, so (I’m) not really sure. It might be a cultural thing.”
The THEC Fact Book showed that Northeast State had 45.9 percent males and 54.1 percent females in the public head count by gender in fall 2011.
According to the SREB, minority enrollment has also increased, helping with overall regional college completion goals. The report said, nationally, for every additional white student that enrolled in college 1.6 minority students also enrolled. For states within the SREB area, that calculated to be over 700,000 more minority students and over 411,000 more white students.
Williams said she feels as though ETSU is becoming more diverse with the many opportunities available to students, but said there the numbers of students based on race and ethnicity varies from year to year.
“Students report their race and ethnicity,” she said. “Students can report more than one.”
Gilliam said at Northeast State, she feels as though their campuses are fairly diverse.
“In looking at those numbers, we have higher populations in the various categories than in the general population,” Gilliam said.
According to the public head count by race from Fall 2011 THEC Fact Book, ETSU reported 85 percent Caucasian, 6 percent African-American, 1.6 percent Hispanic, 0.7 percent Multiracial, 3.2 percent other and 3.8 percent were unknown. Northeast State recorded 89 percent Caucasian, 3 percent African-American, 1.5 percent Hispanic, 0.4 Mulitracial, 1 percent other and 5.6 unknown.