The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has selected 19 colleges and universities for its controversial probe  of whether colleges are favoring male applicants in admissions decisions, and whether any such preference is appropriate. The commission, seeking to minimize costs, selected colleges close to Washington, but included a range of four-year institutions, including public and private, historically black and predominantly white, religious and secular, and institutions of varying degrees of admissions competitiveness. While commission members say that they are just investigating a relevant issue, some advocates for female athletes view the effort as a way to raise questions about Title IX  of the Education Amendments of 1972.
The colleges and the characteristics cited by the commission in selecting them are as follows:
- Historically black colleges: Howard University, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania, University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Virginia Union University.
- Religious colleges: Catholic University of America, Loyola College in Maryland and Messiah College.
- Highly selective private institutions: Georgetown University, Johns Hopkins University and Gettysburg College.
- Very selective private institution: University of Richmond.
- Moderately selective private institutions: Goucher College, Goldey-Beacom College, Washington College and York College of Pennsylvania.
- Moderately selective public institutions: Shepherd University, Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, University of Delaware and University of Maryland-Baltimore County.