Education is shifting. Computer screens supplant classrooms. YouTube and Skype dominate lecture circuits. Not only can you go to class in your pajamas, you might not need to get out of bed.
Meanwhile, student demands are as steep as ever. Schools need to be low cost, high quality, easy access, and give “cash-value” results. A tough job market and competitive global economy have pressed colleges to serve this changing student profile.
In this setting, online education is fast replacing traditional brick-and-mortar classrooms, providing Christian colleges with a golden opportunity to fuse faith-integrated learning with the access and flexibility of online education. The following Christian colleges and universities are very Christian, educationally solid, and committed to online learning.
The list of online Christian colleges is gathered from multiple sites, including U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, OnlineChristianColleges, Christian Colleges.com, Onlineeducation.net, and Best and Worst Online Degree Providers.
The Christian colleges grading criteria revolve around three components: (1) the Christian character of the school; (2) academic prestige; and, of course, (3) the extent and quality of their online programs.
Telling signs of a good candidate online Christian college include full accreditation, low student-to-teacher ratio (less than 20:1), confessional status (i.e., teachers/students are required to sign a Christian doctrinal statement), “anytime access” lecture archives, around-the-clock technical support, affordability, variety of degree options, 100% online degree programs, and other factors.
* * *
Top 20 Online Christian Colleges:
Liberty University takes top honors in the top online Christian colleges list for several reasons, including variety, cost, Christian integrity, and ease of access.
Liberty carries a strong reputation for online learning in a conservative evangelical setting. As America’s largest, private, nonprofit university, Liberty offers 160 fully accredited programs spanning certificates, high school classes (home school and dual-credit), associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, and other postgraduate studies.
Courses range from 8 to 17 weeks, together with multiple enrollment dates, allowing great flexibility. Students can supplement their online work with Intensives—one-week-long classes for non-resident students to experience “resident” life at LU.
Also offered are innovative “Experiential Learning Credits, ” where work experience can count as credit hours, to hasten graduation for the time-pressed professional. Students can also benefit from the Online Communities program designed to help online students stay spiritually connected and nourished in the course of their study.
Liberty is affordable, with classes starting at $495 per class for dual-credit and $250–570 per credit hour for undergraduate through doctoral classes.
2. Regent University (Virginia Beach, VA)
Non-denominational conservative Christian powerhouse, Regent University, has climbed to the top of several lists for Online education.
They are ranked tenth best overall in “Best and Worst Online Degree Programs, ” tenth for Online Bachelor’s Programs, and #43 for Online Graduate Programs, by U.S. News & World Report.
Regent, a Christian college, keeps the costs low (5 per hour) and the quality high. Regent features a Blackboard™-based “anytime” access lecture archive, so students can plan their studies around work and family. However, the 30:1 student-to-teacher ratio could be better.
The university features seven schools of study: Business & Leadership; Arts & Sciences; Communication & the Arts; Divinity; Education; Government; and Psychology & Counseling—for a total of 56 degree tracks. The Christian college offers certifications, associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree options.
Founded by Pat Robertson, Regent has always been a hot spot for the “Moral Majority” and the “Christian Coalition.” As such, Regent is known for its government and leadership degrees, but is also nationally ranked in business and education degrees. And of course, they serve the whole gamut of liberal arts options.
Regent is relatively young for a university (founded in 1978), but while most online programs elsewhere are only a few years old, Regent has been pushing the envelope with 10 years of experience in online education.
3. Colorado Christian University (Lakewood, CO)
Taking top online honors—and general honors elsewhere—Colorado Christian University (CCU) comes in third here.
This rare gem in the Colorado Rockies offers fewer degree options (46)—and higher tuition rate ($427 per credit hour)—than Liberty or Regent. Still, CCU outclasses many competitors with its “anytime access” online classes, “cohort model” communities, and a 9:1 student to faculty ratio.