Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department

Organizational Studies

Reader 1

Roberto Pedace

Reader 2

Barbara Junisbai

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Women have been attending college at a greater rate than men for several decades. However, women’s colleges have been shutting down or transitioning to coeducation at incredibly high rates. Literature demonstrates the importance of women’s colleges due to their benefits on students’ future career success and psychological wellbeing. However, there is less research concerning the decline of women's colleges, and none regarding the economic and quantitative factors influencing their closures. Using a newly constructed, completely original data set, I perform a logistic regression and analyze variables related to the survival of women’s colleges. I find a high statistical significance of an institution's year of establishment, particularly during the Progressive Era. I also determine there is moderate statistical significance for colleges located near metropolitan counties. I then discuss the cases of Judson College, Vassar College, and Wellesley College, as examples of an institution that shut down, an institution that turned coeducational, and an institution that remained a women’s college, respectively. I conclude with predictions for the future of women’s colleges and the necessity for investment in them.

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Economics Commons