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Updated Title IX Religious Exemptions List

Updated Title IX Religious Exemptions List

Title IX, the federal law banning sex discrimination in education, prohibits discrimination related to pregnancy and marital status, including discrimination against college students and employees who are pregnant outside of marriage, divorced, or have had an abortion. The federal law also requires universities to ensure equal opportunities for pregnant students and employees by allowing medically necessary leave related to pregnancy and related conditions. These protections cover the vast majority of educational institutions, however as we’ve previously reported, Title IX allows religious colleges to “opt-out” of following the law, if complying with Title IX would conflict with religious tenets of the institution.

The Pregnant Scholar has reviewed religious exemption requests filed with the Department of Education over the last 15 years, discovering over one hundred religious colleges and universities chose to opt-out of Title IX protections relating to pregnant and parenting students in that time. These institutions have formally declared they will not follow Title IX’s provisions related to pregnancy and parental/marital status, yet others may declare their exemption in the future. With the upcoming 2024 release of new Title IX regulations, students and employees of religious insitutions should pay close attention; many campuses will be re-evaluating their policies in light of the new regulations, and some may be considering opting out entirely.

Below is a list of the institutions that have received waivers related to Title IX’s pregnancy and parenting provisions from 2009 to 2024 with links to the institution’s waiver request. The requests often provide detail regarding the school’s reasoning, or more context on the situations in which it will refuse to follow Title IX:

You can learn more about Title IX religious exemptions and view a full list of institutions that have applied for or received an exemption for any reason, (including reasons not related to pregnancy, parenting or parental status) on the Department of Education’s webpage, here.

Are you considering attending a religious institution?

Students who want to enroll in a college with an exemption should weigh their risks and options carefully; they may not have legal protection against discrimination or be entitled to certain accommodations. Further, any student enrolling in any religious college or university should carefully consider their own risks and learn as much as possible about the insitution’s policies. While it is helpful to know which colleges have already declared a Title IX exemption, it is important to note that religious colleges that do not currently have an exemption may still choose to opt out of Title IX in the future. Admitted students may want to write a letter to admissions requesting that the college affirm its commitment to Title IX protections. A sample letter for students admitted to religious institutions that have not yet opted out of Title IX is available here. Students can also submit letters to colleges that have already invoked exemptions, expressing concern and requesting information about insitution-level policies. By sending these letters, admitted students can collect relevant information while also showing the college that this issue matters to their community.

Expressing your support for protecting pregnant and parenting students under Title IX is especially important as new Title IX regulations are implemented this year. Colleges and universities will be looking at these new regulations to determine whether they need to update their policies—and some religious institutions may be considering opting out. Please speak up now to ensure that all students, including those who wish to study at a religiously affiliated institution, have equal access to an education under Title IX.

Are you sending a letter? We’d love to hear about it and learn from any response you receive. Sign up here.

Need assistance understanding your rights?

The Pregnant Scholar’s team is happy to assist students and employees who need help understanding and/or asserting their rights.



New Title IX Regulations are HERE! To learn more and be the first to receive our updated materials, sign up here.
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