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Home > 10 Key Areas of Title IX > Access to Higher Education

Access to Higher Education

Before Title IX

Hard to believe, but until the '70s, many colleges and universities refused to admit women. It was believed that women were more concerned about marriage and children than higher education.

Since Title IX

The unfairness in admissions, financial aid, and other areas of higher education is less common than it used to be. Women now earn undergraduate and graduate degrees at much higher rates than they used to and go into some fields that were traditionally dominated by men, such as medicine and law. In addition, the increased access to higher education provided by Title IX has fueled women's economic progress.

Why Title IX Is Still Critical

Women still face obstacles in higher education. For example:

  • In many cases women still lag behind men in earning doctoral and professional degrees, particularly in nontraditional disciplines like math and science Women earn only about one fifth of doctorates in computer sciences engineering and physics.
  • Women receive, for example, only 18% of undergraduate engineering degrees and 12% of doctoral engineering degrees, due in large part to the hostile environment many face in these fields.
  • Schools are eliminating affirmative action programs responsible for increasing access to higher education for minorities and women, a particular problem for women of color. The Office of Civil Rights rarely initiates reviews of schools, despite polls which indicate Americans want to keep Title IX strong. Moreover, although under the law, every school/district must have a Title IX coordinator whose responsibility is to keep abreast of Title IX issues and make sure the schools are in compliance, most schools don't know what a Title IX coordinator is, much less hire and/or train one.

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