Set up in 1965 to increase female enrolment at the time, Lucy Cavendish is one of three women’s-only colleges at the University of Cambridge and only accepts students aged 21 and over.
However, for the first time in the college’s 54 year history, Lucy Cavendish has announced it is to amend its admission regulations from October 2021, with the aim of widening participation by making more places available for students from under-represented backgrounds.
The president of the college, Professor Dame Madeleine Atkins, said:
"Women of all ages now have access to all Cambridge colleges as undergraduates, graduates and fellows.
"The demographics of participation in higher education have also changed, and there are now relatively fewer women unable to go to university at 18 or 19, regardless of their background."
However, not everybody has welcomed the announcement. Some former students of the college expressed their disappointment with the proposed move, with one writing:
"Nobody in their right mind would argue with outreach activities but now Lucy will be like every other Oxbridge College, instead of the amazing, unique place it was."
Embedded content: https://twitter.com/CaronFreeborn/status/1105091559148662786
While another former student wrote:
"I wouldn't have dared compete with 'normal age students' - I didn't have the confidence - but I did dare to apply when I thought the students were all mature women."
Prior to the announcement, a representative of the college stated that it consulted more than 2,500 people, including current staff and students, alumnae and donors, and that the feedback they received was positive with the overwhelming majority supporting the college 'going mixed'.
The college, which offers courses such as Medicine, English and Law, has assured interested parties that it will still to be providing women-only accommodation and rooms for mature students upon request.