Area colleges being investigated for admissions discrimination against women

By Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 16, 2009; 2:16 PM

Federal civil rights commissioners voted Wednesday to subpoena 19 Washington area colleges in an investigation of whether higher education institutions discriminate against women in admissions.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is investigating whether some colleges favor men by admitting them at higher rates than women or offering them more generous aid packages.

Women, once under-represented on campus, now outnumber men nearly 60-40 in higher education nationally, chiefly because men are more likely to drop out of school or to go into the military or prison.

Anecdotal evidence suggests some schools, particularly selective liberal arts colleges, purposefully admit men at a higher rate to balance the gender mix on campus.

Civil rights commissioners Wednesday approved 19 other schools for study, based on broad institutional categories: four historically black institutions, Howard University, Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, Virginia Union University and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore…

One school reviewed by The Post, the University of Richmond, admitted women at a significantly lower rate in recent years and has been singled out in media accounts for possible favoritism based on sex.

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