Texas A&M University, known for decades as an all-male college, is one of 50 U.S. institutions featured in a new “Best Colleges and Universities for Women” article — and the only public university in Texas so cited.
The 2016 ranking of the nation’s best colleges for women was compiled by College Choice, an online firm that has as its slogan “Helping You Choose the Right College.”
Texas A&M is ranked 40th in the listings that are dominated by private institutions, particularly Ivy League schools. The only Texas institution ranked higher than Texas A&M is Rice at 13th. The only other Texas school citied is SMU, which ranks 48th.
Women now account for almost half of the 60,000+ students at Texas A&M, which ranks among the top five universities in the nation in student body size. Last fall, women totaled 30,677 in the university’s overall enrollment, with men totaling 33,699.
Not only are a lot of women enrolled at Texas A&M, but many of them also are serving in key leadership positions. For example, the 2016-17 student body president is a woman, Hannah Wimberly of Friendswood, as is the commander of the university’s Corps of Cadets, Cecille Sorio, formerly of San Antonio.
Opened in 1876 as Texas’ first public institution of higher learning, Texas A&M was essentially an all-male institution until 1963, when enrollment of women was formally allowed on “a limited basis.” The limitation stipulated that women could enroll at Texas A&M if that was the only public institution in the state that offered a woman her desired course of study. Soon afterwards, women started enrollment in ever increasing numbers without regard to their courses of study, university records show, and on-campus housing was made available to them beginning in 1972.
“This ranking accentuates universities that provide exceptional academic programs and thorough support services for women and individuals passionate about gender equality,” notes the College Choice editors. “We began with a base list of hundreds of regionally accredited schools who are ranked highly by the Women’s Choice Award for being top colleges for women. From there we ranked the schools according to affordability, financial aid awarded, female student satisfaction, return on investment, and academic reputation. We are confident that the list will provide a great launching pad for all looking for a quality school with thoughtful programming and services that promote gender equity.”
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