Notre Dame of Maryland University will admit male students to its freshman class beginning in fall 2023, the university announced Tuesday.
The board of trustees voted unanimously Monday to approve the change after a task force examined enrollment data for women’s colleges and other undergraduate programs, according to a statement from the university.
Fewer than 2 percent of female students enroll at private, nonprofit women’s colleges and universities, Notre Dame said. In addition to women’s declining interest in single-sex education, the school cited higher education gaps for men, who graduate from college at lower rates than female students.
As of 2020, there were 36 women’s colleges in the United States, down from 230 in 1960, according to the Women’s College Coalition.
“By going co-ed, Notre Dame of Maryland University is uniquely positioned to deliver on its mission to advance inclusive and transformational education to more women and men and to equip them to realize their goal of attaining a college degree,” said Dr. Marylou Yam, the school’s president, in a statement.
Founded in 1895 by the School Sisters of Notre Dame, Maryland’s only all-women’s undergraduate institution was the first Catholic college to allow women to earn four-year degrees. The founders approved the change, the university said.
“The School Sisters of Notre Dame established an enduring legacy that continues to guide Notre Dame of Maryland University into the future. Their future-focused vision and spirit still animate this community of faith, learning, and service,” said Charmaine Krohe, provincial leader of the SSND Atlantic-Midwest Province, in a statement.
The Baltimore private university first admitted men to its weekend adult undergraduate program in 1975 and its graduate programs became coed in 1984.
Male students can apply now for the fall 2023 class, and the school’s nursing program already is accepting male transfer students. They will live in Doyle Hall, a residence hall that already houses men, while Meletia Hall will remain an all-female dorm “for the next few years,” the school said on its website. Sports teams for men will be added next year.
The private university, formerly called the College of Notre Dame, has a 60-acre campus in Homeland and enrolls about 2,200 students, of which about 800 were undergraduates in fall 2021.