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Is Sweet Briar’s closure a bad sign for women’s colleges?

The Sweet Briar lacrosse team plays a game at Sweet Briar College, where an abrupt decision by the Sweet Briar board to close the school has transformed the tranquil community into a hotbed of activism, in Sweet Briar, Va., March 18, 2015. Travis Dove/The New York Times

Sweet Briar, a small women’s college in Virginia, has given in to financial problems and dwindling enrollment and announced that it will shut down at the end of the academic year. Some, like NPR’s Jasmine Garsd, are posing the question: “Are women’s colleges a relic of the past?” Garsd notes that when Sweet Briar opened in 1901, college-minded women didn’t have many options; most of the country’s best schools wouldn’t admit them. That, of course, is no longer true. Today, women are enrolling in college in greater numbers than men, and can actually choose from a wider range of schools, since dozens of women’s colleges have survived while most men’s schools have gone co-ed. But Sweet Briar had more problems than the fact that it excluded men: It’s also tiny–with a student body of only 700–and located in an isolated, rural area.

Read the full story at NPR.



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