Access to higher education at Baylor University from 1900 to 1920 was susceptible to a variety of environmental influences, thereby limiting entry and academic opportunities for particular groups. Gradual culture shifts resulted from the women’s suffrage movement, World War I, and the policies and behaviors of other universities. Baylor’s actions were further shaped by institutional commitments to faith, service, coeducation, and fostering student leadership. Baylor started to invest in campus opportunities that would reduce inequality across three different domains: study abroad opportunities, women’s education, and financial aid availability. However, larger social and institutional forces limited Baylor’s response to the opportunities it could provide to the different student groups.
Students at Baylor between 1900-1920 continued to face narrowed access despite the growing awareness of globalization, institutional awareness of students’ varying financial needs, and policies that hampered women’s rights. Although students were gaining a historical understanding of global societies, cultures, and languages, only professors, missionaries, and distinguished others were granted access to international trips. From 1900 to the start of World War I, access to study abroad programs and international education was desired by students but not yet available.
Similarly, even though Baylor was coeducational, women still faced unequal treatment in housing, financial access, and educational opportunities as a result of a male-dominated society. Students in financial need were also affected by limited opportunities. Baylor’s accommodations for these students were confined to offering a few scholarships to specific groups of students, providing an avenue for work through an employment bureau, and establishing the department of correspondence that reduced costs through distance education. Ultimately, Baylor began to advocate for students interested in studying abroad, women, and students with financial needs, but pre-existing social and cultural norms and expectations prevailed over adequate access to a Baylor education.
Follow links below for Baylor University access papers:
Access to Higher Education: Baylor’s Response to Student’s Financial Needs. (by Alejandra Mendoza-Muñoz)
Co-Education at Baylor University: Constraints on Women’s Access to Education (by Chelsea Cichocki)