April 15, 2020

COLUMBIA, SC – (APRIL 14, 2020) – After careful deliberation, Columbia College has made the decision to expand its coeducational practices and policies, beginning Fall 2020. This decision is an important milestone for the Columbic College community as the College transitions from single-gender to coeducational in their undergraduate day program. This is an exciting shift for part of the plan announced by Columbia College Board of Trustees earlier this year, that the College would begin admitting male students to the undergraduate residential day program, beginning Fall 2021.

Columbia College, founded in 1854 as Columbia Female college, is traditionally a women’s college, however, the college began exploring enrollment models to strengthen the College’s position back in 2017. With this announcement, the College declared its decision to accelerate the process of going coed to begin this coming fall semester, providing an exceptional opportunity for all students to benefit from the Columbia College experience. Columbia College president, Dr. Peter T. Mitchell and the Board of Trustees have taken the first steps to refining the vision of the already distinguished College and attribute this decision to two unexpected impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic:

1. The possibility that all colleges and universities will be forced to continue conducting courses remotely via distance learning and online platforms.

2. Many students and parents are already declaring that if campuses are open in the fall, they plan to attend college close to home or to commute locally to avoid the possibility of having to leave in the middle of a semester again.

“These factors are likely to make the summer of 2020 a crucial window in which to enact the expansion of our brand of high-quality, leadership-focused, liberal arts education at a time when it is sorely needed. This is the same motivation that compelled the College to open to men for a brief period after World War II,” stated Columbia College President Peter T. Mitchell

Although male students will begin being admitted for Fall of 2020, they will be admitted only as commuter students as the school continues to prepare to support male students in residential or athletic programs. These options will become available Fall 2021. Columbia College leadership, faculty and staff are continually planning for this transition, and are confident in the future of Columbia College as they position themselves as a national model for coeducational higher education.

For 166 years, Columbia College has provided opportunities for women to develop their voices and their leadership potential. This commitment to empowering women remains central to the College’s mission and vision for the future. Becoming a coeducational college provides the unique opportunity for the College to design the ideal learning environment for women and men to master the knowledge and skills necessary for success in their careers, and to craft a life of meaning and purpose in the post-COVID-19 world. “We are living in an unsettling time. The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the way we all go about our daily lives. As an institution, it’s changed our operations and the way our students learn. In turbulent times, it is important for Columbia College to focus on the needs of our students, while also preparing for a Post COVID-19 future,” said Toby W. Goodlett, Chair of the Columbia College Board of Trustees.

For more information: https://www.columbiasc.edu/about/envisioning-the-future

« Back to News