Washington, D.C. — Sunday, September 4th — This week in 1837, the Oberlin Collegiate Institute in Ohio became the first college in the U.S. to grant equal status to men and women in degree programs. Now known as Oberlin College, its leadership reasoned that many mothers and sisters often served as the only teachers available on the nation’s frontier — so better educated women would make superior teachers. During its history, Oberlin was the first to routinely admit African-Americans, granted the first degree to a black woman, and was one of the first to have coeducational dormitories. Today, coeducational schools are the norm. Of the 40 percent of the population age 18 to 24 enrolled in college, more than 10.5 million are women, compared to just over 8.6 million men.
Sources: Kane’s Famous First Facts, 2943
Oberlin history/accessed 6/23/2016: http://new.oberlin.edu/about/history.dot
18-24 age group enrollment: http://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2014/cb14-ff20.html
Women and men/table 1: http://www.census.gov/hhes/school/data/cps/2014/tables.html
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