SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Enrollment at Utah colleges and universities over the past three semesters has edged downward, and officials say a lower minimum age for Mormon missionaries has driven the trend.
The new figures are an early indicator that the 2012 age change for missionaries is affecting young Mormons in Utah. Some state officials say they raise concerns that fewer female college students will graduate because they’ll likely interrupt their studies to serve on missions.
The state’s women already trail Utah men for their rate of college degrees earned.
The church in 2012 reduced the minimum age from 21 to 19 for women and from 19 to 18 for men.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports that since then, the number of mission applications have shot up, mostly coming from women.