American women’s colleges were founded to create access and opportunity for women in higher education, and 36 continue to operate toward that mission in 2020. While historical and anecdotal evidence shows the value of women’s colleges, contemporary research about student demographics and outcomes at American women’s colleges is limited. This study is designed to fill this gap in literature. It uses quantitative research methods to compare access and opportunity at American women’s colleges to liberal arts colleges and public universities. The findings reveal that women’s colleges are enrolling students similar in demographic profile to public universities (enrolling those who have been historically less well served by higher education) and achieving completion rates like liberal arts colleges (statistically higher than public universities). Women’s colleges, then, continue to advance women’s social and economic opportunity by providing access and achieving positive outcomes for women who are often underserved by higher education.
Copyright Kathryn A. E. Enke, Ph.D.
Enke, Kathryn A. E., "Access and Opportunity at American Women’s Colleges: Contemporary Findings" (2020). Administration Publications. 238.