In 1859, citizens of Valparaiso were so supportive of the placement of the college that they raised $11,000 to encourage the Methodist Church to locate there. The school opened on September 21, 1859, to 75 students, and was one of the first coeducational colleges in the nation. Students paid tuition expenses of $8 per term (three terms per year), plus nearby room and board costs of approximately $2 per week. Instruction at the college actually began with young children, and most of the students were in elementary and grade levels. Courses at the collegiate level included math, literature, history, sciences, and philosophy. Courses stressing the Christian faith included “moral philosophy” and “moral science. ” Due to the fallout of the Civil War, the school closed in 1871. At this time, most men (both students and administrative members) had enrolled in the army. In addition, Indiana passed an 1867 bill that provided state support for public education, and the Methodists’ broad statewide efforts toward higher education meant none of the schools were self-sustaining. The combination proved too much to overcome for the Male and Female College.
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