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Best Christian Colleges in the U.S. - 2020

Churches and religious organizations are responsible for founding and maintaining some of the most prominent names in higher education. The following are just a few of the schools with long histories and Christian roots:

  • University of Notre Dame
  • Duke University
  • Brigham Young University

Over the years, they have been joined by hundreds of other pioneering institutions, such as Liberty University and Grand Canyon University which have grown into the largest online Christian colleges in the nation.

More than 150 schools in the U.S. and Canada are members of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU), and they enroll more than 520,000 students globally.

There are 260 Catholic institutions in the country according to the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities. More than 891,000 students were enrolled at Catholic colleges and universities in 2016-2017, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

What's more, there may be dozens of other traditional and online Christian colleges that are not members of these organizations. Overall, Christian colleges typically fall into one of the following categories:

  • Faith-based college: These schools may integrate religion or theology into their campus life and degree programs.
  • Christian heritage college: Some schools were founded on religious principles and continue to embrace that heritage but don't make any religious requirements of students. Degrees at Christian colleges such as these don't differ much from those offered at secular schools.
  • Bible college: Programs at bible colleges focus on biblical studies and are often intended to prepare students for ministry work.
  • Seminary: Students who attend a seminary are preparing to become priests or ministers.

Regardless of your career plans, there is likely a Christian college to meet your needs. Keep reading to discover the best Christian colleges in the country and learn more about the programs they offer.

The Best Christian Colleges in the U.S. - 2020

To find the best Christian colleges, we analyzed institutions for student success measures such as their retention and graduation rates. We also looked for those that had flexible learning options to meet the needs of both traditional and non-traditional students. You can read our full methodology below.

If you don't see a school that grabs your interest here, search our school database to find a college that may be more tailored to your needs.

1

University of Mary (Bismarck, North Dakota)

A Catholic institution, the University of Mary was founded by the Benedictine Sisters of the Annunciation in 1959. The school embraces Benedictine values that include community, prayer, hospitality and service among others. It offers nearly 60 undergraduate majors and more than a dozen graduate programs.

What makes Mary one of the best Christian colleges? Mary provides both a faith-based education and an exceptional value. It notes it is one of the most affordable private universities in the nation, and 99 percent of its students receive financial aid. Mary has a year-round campus, making it possible to earn a bachelor's degree in 2.6 years. Those who want to earn a master's degree can finish their education in four years. Evening and online classes are available in many programs.

Location:
Bismarck, ND
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$18,224
8
programs offered;
77
online programs
53.7%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
53.6%
Students working after graduating:
95.4%
2

Brigham Young University - Provo (Provo, Utah)

Provo is home to the main campus of Brigham Young University. The school was founded by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and continues to be guided by the church's mission today. More than 33,000 daytime students are enrolled in one of the hundreds of undergraduate and graduate programs offered at the school.

What makes BYU one of the best Christian colleges? BYU offers a comprehensive education at an affordable price. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints pay tuition that is nearly half the already affordable rate paid by other students. The school has a number of highly ranked programs, such as its MBA and education degrees. Students who need a flexible schedule can take blended or online classes through BYU Online.

Location:
Provo, UT
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$5,460
298
programs offered;
0
online programs
82.7%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
14.7%
Students working after graduating:
79.8%
3

Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia)

Founded in 1971 by Southern Baptist minister Jerry Falwell, Liberty University quickly became a favorite school for those seeking an education rooted in evangelical beliefs. The school says it trains Champions for Christ, and it offers an impressive 600+ programs of study. More than 100,000 students are enrolled at Liberty University either on-campus or online.

What makes Liberty one of the best Christian colleges? Liberty is notable for being one of the top online Christian colleges. The school has more than 200 online programs that cover both undergraduate and graduate degrees. It is also a military-friendly school that offers tuition discounts and waived fees among other benefits for service members, veterans and their spouses. To help its students succeed, Liberty offers a variety of support services including tutoring and peer mentoring.

Location:
Lynchburg,VA
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$21,310
69
programs offered;
127
online programs
47%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
85.7%
Students working after graduating:
84.4%
4

Madonna University (Livonia, Michigan)

Madonna University is one of the best Christian colleges for both on-campus and online degrees. The Catholic university was founded by the Felician Sisters in 1937 and adheres to the Franciscan values of peace and justice, reverence for creation, education for truth and service and respect for the dignity of each person. It offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees.

What makes Madonna one of the best Christian colleges? Offering more than 100 degree programs in career-focused majors, Madonna has been at the forefront of educational innovation. It was the first school in the country to offer a bachelor's degree in sign language studies and says its options for hospice and palliative care studies are one-of-a-kind. Madonna offers small class sizes and is one of the most affordable private, non-profit universities in Michigan.

Location:
Livonia, MI
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$20,700
205
programs offered;
22
online programs
69%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
46.4%
Students working after graduating:
88.6%
5

Regis University (Denver, Colorado)

As Colorado's Jesuit university, Regis University works to meet the needs of learners from all walks of life. It has campus-based programs, online degrees and special resources for military and veteran students. Founded in 1877, Regis University is one of only 28 institutions nationwide overseen by the Jesuit order of Catholic priests.

What makes Regis one of the best Christian colleges? The Jesuits have a nearly 500-year history of providing quality education globally. At Regis, the school's 13:1 student-faculty ratio means classes are small and instruction is personalized. It has a highly ranked neonatal nurse practitioner program and its pharmacy graduates have one of the highest passing rates for the American Pharmacist Licensure Examination. And those are just two of the more than 180 degree programs available at Regis.

Location:
Denver, CO
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$35,610
38
programs offered;
86
online programs
71.2%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
56.6%
Students working after graduating:
91.9%
6

Grace College and Theological Seminary (Winona Lake, Indiana)

Grace College and Theological Seminary provides a Christ-focused education that can prepare you for either a career in ministry or in one of more than 90 other fields of study. The school can trace its roots to 1937 and is affiliated with Charis Fellowship, which was previously known as the Fellowship of Grace Brethern Churches.

What makes Grace one of the best Christian colleges? Student success is a priority at Grace College. The school locks in students' first-year tuition rate to ensure their education will remain affordable, and 99 percent of undergraduates receive financial aid. There are accelerated degrees in virtually every major and several online programs. Graduates who can't find a job or secure entrance to graduate school within six months may be eligible for another year of undergraduate education tuition-free.

Location:
Winona Lake, IN
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$23,170
89
programs offered;
8
online programs
62.5%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
24.9%
Students working after graduating:
91%
7

Concordia University - Saint Paul (Saint Paul, Minnesota)

Founded in 1893, Concordia University - Saint Paul is one of 10 schools affiliated with The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. It is a Christian liberal arts university that offers dozens of undergraduate and graduate degrees, including nearly 50 online programs.

What makes CSP one of the best Christian colleges? Concordia prides itself on providing great value to its students. In 2013, the school initiated a tuition reset which nearly halved the listed price of attendance. The university says 95 percent of CSP graduates have a job offer within one year and they earn 44 percent more than the national average. However, CSP is about more than making students a good income. While students earn their degree, they can participate in initiatives such as the Solus Christus Fellows mentoring program to deepen their faith.

Location:
Saint Paul, MN
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$21,750
40
programs offered;
53
online programs
55.3%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
49%
Students working after graduating:
93.9%
8

Saint Leo University (Saint Leo, Florida)

Saint Leo University is the oldest Catholic school of higher learning in Florida. It was founded in 1888 and operates under the Benedictine tradition that promotes values such as excellence, community, respect and personal development. The school has education centers in seven states and is also known for its extensive online degree programs.

What makes Saint Leo one of the best Christian colleges? Saint Leo excels when it comes to flexible learning options. Students can take classes on the university campus in Florida or at one of dozens of education centers. They can also enroll in one of nearly 80 online programs. Many programs feature 8-week classes and six start dates per year so you won't have to wait to begin your education. Tuition at Saint Leo is lower than the average for private colleges, and the school is approved for military tuition assistance.

Location:
Saint Leo, FL
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$22,220
30
programs offered;
62
online programs
48%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
68.5%
Students working after graduating:
87.6%
9

Georgetown University (Washington D.C.)

With a history that stretches back almost to the birth of the nation, Georgetown University is the oldest Catholic institution of higher learning in the United States. It was founded by the Jesuit order of priests in 1789 and today draws 17,000 students from 135 countries worldwide. The school is a leading research university and offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

What makes Georgetown one of the best Christian colleges? Although not the cheapest Christian college, Georgetown is steeped in tradition that is hard to find elsewhere. Students are encouraged to pursue relentless inquiry while also nurturing their whole person. A first-year and transfer student retreat is part of the Georgetown experience, and more than two dozen faculty and chaplains live in-residence to provide guidance and support as needed.

Location:
Washington, DC
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$52,300
171
programs offered;
8
online programs
94.6%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
1.4%
Students working after graduating:
92%
10

Southern Methodist University (Dallas, Texas)

Southern Methodist University says it shapes people who will change the world. Founded by what is now The United Methodist Church, the university is nonsectarian in its teaching today. It has seven degree-granting schools that offer both undergraduate and graduate programs, including some online degrees.

What makes SMU one of the best Christian colleges? As a nationally ranked global research university, there is something at SMU for everyone. Those want to pursue a career in ministry can study in the Perkins School of Theology. Meanwhile, the Dedman School of Law was named one of the 2019 Go-To Law Schools by the National Law Journal. Other programs of study cover the humanities, engineering, business, arts and education. The school has an 11:1 student-faculty ratio which paves the way for students and professors to build strong relationships.

Location:
Dallas, TX
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$52,498
179
programs offered;
21
online programs
80.5%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
4.6%
Students working after graduating:
92.6%
11

Lewis University (Romeoville, Illinois)

The Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago helped establish Lewis University in 1932, and the De La Salle Christian Brothers took over in 1960. Today, Lewis University is a Catholic and Lasallian institution that embraces the values of knowledge, fidelity, wisdom, justice and association. The school offers more than 125 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

What makes Lewis one of the best Christian colleges? In addition to being grounded in a rich faith tradition, Lewis is notable for its value and flexible learning options. Students may be eligible for scholarships, grants, loans and work-study arrangements to help make their degree program affordable. There are accelerated programs in fields such as paralegal studies and business administration as well as nearly 20 fully online degrees.

Location:
Romeoville, IL
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$31,250
96
programs offered;
21
online programs
67%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
31.9%
Students working after graduating:
95.7%
12

Saint Louis University (Saint Louis, Missouri)

As another of the oldest Catholic institutions in the nation, Saint Louis University was founded in 1818. It's a Jesuit university that believes in educating the whole person. The university has more than 190 undergraduate and graduate degree programs that span 14 colleges, schools and degree-granting centers.

What makes SLU one of the best Christian colleges? Students at SLU are encouraged to put faith into practice and that means service learning is part of many programs. According to the Princeton Review, the university ranks second in the nation for community service. SLU is also highly ranked by a number of organizations for its value and academic excellence. For distance learners, SLU offers more than 30 online degrees and certificates that run on accelerated 8-week terms starting six times a year.

Location:
Saint Louis, MO
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$42,166
169
programs offered;
27
online programs
77.3%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
9.5%
Students working after graduating:
93.8%
13

Emory University (Atlanta, Georgia)

Emory University is a top-ranked institution that has Christian roots. It was founded in 1836 by The Methodist Episcopal Church and has since educated students who have gone to become CEOs, government leaders, artists and medical pioneers. The university offers undergraduate and graduate degrees.

What makes Emory one of the best Christian colleges? Emory is recognized as a top university by Christian and secular students alike. The school generates $734 million in research each year and is home to The Carter Center which was founded by Former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter to promote peace and improve health worldwide. Several of its degree programs, such as its online executive MBA, are nationally ranked. Plus, the Candler School of Theology at Emory is one of 13 seminaries within The United Methodist Church.

Location:
Atlanta, GA
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$49,392
203
programs offered;
0
online programs
90.9%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
1.9%
Students working after graduating:
91.7%
14

Duke University (Durham, North Carolina)

The Christian roots of Duke University stretch back to 1838. It was then that Methodist and Quaker communities founded the school that would become Duke University 1924. The university now draw students from across the globe and awards undergraduate and graduate degrees through 10 colleges and schools, including a Divinity School.

What makes Duke one of the best Christian colleges? Duke has impressive retention and graduation rates with 97 percent of students returning after the first year and 95 percent graduating within four years. Although its tuition rate may seem cost-prohibitive for some, the university says it meets 100 percent of students' demonstrated financial need. It has championship athletic teams and a highly respected health system. Popular majors at Duke include computer science, economics and public policy.

Location:
Durham, NC
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$53,500
224
programs offered;
1
online programs
95.4%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
0%
Students working after graduating:
94%
15

Saint Joseph's University (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Offering classes on-campus and online, Saint Joseph's University is another of the best Christian colleges. The Catholic school was founded by Jesuit priests and first opened its doors in 1851. Following the Jesuit tradition of educating the whole person, students are encouraged to put their faith into action.

What makes SJU one of the best Christian colleges? Students at SJU get personalized attention from experienced professors. The university notes 100 percent of tenure-track faculty hold a terminal degree, and the school has an 11:1 student-faculty ratio. Learning by doing is promoted at SJU, and 87 percent of students have an experiential learning experience prior to graduation. For adult learners and those who need flexible class schedules, part-time and online degree programs are available.

Location:
Philadelphia, PA
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$43,880
109
programs offered;
30
online programs
82%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
21.9%
Students working after graduating:
94.9%
16

Creighton University (Omaha, Nebraska)

Encompassing nine colleges and schools, Creighton University is a top-ranked Catholic institution. It was founded by the Jesuit order of priests in 1878 and is one of 27 colleges and universities run by the religious order nationwide. Creighton University has more than 140 academic programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

What makes Creighton one of the best Christian colleges? Creighton provides a variety degree options to meet every learning style. In addition to its on-campus programs, the university offers online and hybrid degrees. There is even an accelerated bachelor's to master's option that can help students save money and move into the workplace more quickly. Creighton ranks high for service learning, and 83 percent of students complete an internship or participate in academic research. Creighton EDGE resources help prepare students for employment success after graduation.

Location:
Omaha, NE
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$38,750
112
programs offered;
22
online programs
80.6%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
33%
Students working after graduating:
95.2%
17

Siena Heights University (Adrian, Michigan)

Siena Heights University was founded by Dominican Sisters in 1919. At that time, the school was known as St. Joseph College. In the past 100 years, the Catholic university has grown and evolved to now offer more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs across eight campus locations as well as online.

What makes SHU one of the best Christian colleges? At SHU, students learn in a small environment that promotes excellence. The school has a 12:1 student-faculty ratio and has been nationally ranked as offering good value. Approximately 90% of those enrolled receive financial assistance as well. The SHU online learning program has 15 years of experience and a 98% student satisfaction rate. For those interested in theological studies, the school has a certificate program approved by the Diocese of Lansing.

Location:
Adrian, MI
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$25,932
89
programs offered;
60
online programs
42.7%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
43.5%
Students working after graduating:
91.1%
18

Ashland University (Ashland, Ohio)

The Brethren Church founded Ashland University in 1878, and the school continues to embrace its Christian roots today. Through its Office of Christian Ministry, the school offers Bible studies, retreats, mission trips and other opportunities for students to grow their faith. Academically, Ashland University offers more than 70 programs for on-campus and online students.

What makes AU one of the best Christian colleges? Ashland combines its Christian heritage with a teaching philosophy that focuses on personal attention from professors. Academic programs are offered through four colleges as well as schools devoted to graduate students, continuing education and online studies. The Ashland Theological Seminary offers graduate programs at four locations for those who want to work in ministry or counseling.

Location:
Ashland, OH
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$20,700
107
programs offered;
12
online programs
59.9%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
44.1%
Students working after graduating:
94.1%
19

Lipscomb University (Nashville, Tennessee)

Nashville-based Lipscomb University was founded in 1891 by two ministers who wanted to create a school that fused academic and Biblical instruction. Today, Lipscomb University continues to embrace its Christian identity and integrate faith on its campus and in its more than 225 undergraduate and graduate programs.

What makes Lipscomb one of the best Christian colleges? It isn't just its strong statement of faith that makes Lipscomb one of the best Christian colleges. The school also has small classes, a strong athletic program and vibrant campus life. It is home to one of the best Christian-based engineering programs in Tennessee as well as top-ranked business programs. Students who can't make it to campus for class can choose from one of Lipscomb's fully online degrees.

Location:
Nashville, TN
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$30,932
158
programs offered;
4
online programs
59.2%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
36.9%
Students working after graduating:
93.7%
20

Dallas Baptist University (Dallas, Texas)

Established in 1898, Dallas Baptist University has a mission of providing students with a quality, Christ-centered education. It offers 85 undergraduate programs and more than 45 graduate programs. Students can choose to learn either on-campus or online. Dallas Baptist University is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

What makes DBU one of the best Christian colleges? With classes that average only 13 students, DBU provides a personalized learning experience. Among the university's nine colleges and schools, two are devoted to Christian studies: the Mary Crowley College of Christian Faith and the Graduate School of Ministry. Other colleges within the university are focused on fields such as education, fine arts and business. Accelerated degrees are available in many majors, and these allow students to earn both a bachelor's degree and master's degree in a shortened period of time.

Location:
Dallas, TX
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$27,480
100
programs offered;
52
online programs
57.9%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
40.1%
Students working after graduating:
90.5%
21

Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, Texas)

As one of 21 institutions associated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Jesus), Texas Christian University has a mission of educating students to become ethical leaders and responsible citizens. It was founded in 1873 and today enrolls nearly 10,000 students from around the nation and the globe.

What makes TCU one of the best Christian colleges? TCU strives to provide rigorous academics, and it has been ranked by The Economist as having the number one MBA faculty in the world. It is also ranked second in the nation for student engagement by the Wall Street Journal and has a 91 percent freshman retention rate. Students have plenty of education choices too. They can select from more than 200 fields of study although business administration is the most popular major.

Location:
Fort Worth, TX
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$44,760
176
programs offered;
7
online programs
82.6%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
0%
Students working after graduating:
94.4%
22

Johnson University (Knoxville, Tennessee)

An education at Johnson University combines God's word, God's work and God's world. The university was founded as the School of Evangelists in 1893, and it sums up its beliefs in the saying "No creed but Christ." In addition to its Tennessee campus, Johnson University holds classes in Kissimmee, Florida and online.

What makes Johnson one of the best Christian colleges? At Johnson, undergraduate degrees include both an arts and sciences core as well as a biblical core to ensure graduates have a well-rounded education. The university is also an affordable option with a tuition rate that is less than half the national average for private schools. Johnson is unique among the Christian colleges on this list in that it offers associate degrees, and online programs are available at all levels.

Location:
Knoxville, TN
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$14,920
42
programs offered;
20
online programs
62.8%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
29%
Students working after graduating:
91.4%
23

Mississippi College (Clinton, Mississippi)

As the oldest institution of higher learning in Mississippi, this college was founded in 1826. Mississippi College is affiliated with the Mississippi Baptist Convention and offers more than 80 undergraduate areas of study as well as more than 50 graduate areas of study. What's more, it offers professional degree programs in law, educational leadership and professional counseling.

What makes MC one of the best Christian colleges? MC is no stranger to college rankings. It has been recognized for its overall academic quality, its online programs and its affordability. Some of its notable programs include an online master's degree in homeland security and online accounting degrees. Some programs are available in an accelerated format that lets students study online or in the evenings on an 8-week course schedule.

Location:
Clinton, MS
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$17,392
84
programs offered;
27
online programs
59.2%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
31.6%
Students working after graduating:
92.4%
24

University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, Indiana)

The University of Notre Dame says its defined by its Catholic character. The school was founded in 1842 by a priest from a French missionary order, the Congregation of Holy Cross. Since then, the school has grown to be an educational leader, combining scientific inquiry with religious belief. It offers 75 undergraduate majors through its eight colleges and schools.

What makes Notre Dame one of the best Christian colleges? Notre Dame is a highly selective school known for its academic excellence. The school has a 10:1 student-faculty ratio, and more than 90 percent of its faculty have doctorate or terminal degrees. The university is home to the highly respected Mendoza College of Business, and the educational programs at the Notre Dame are supported by dozens of centers and institutes.

Location:
Notre Dame, IN
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$51,505
159
programs offered;
1
online programs
95.2%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
0.02%
Students working after graduating:
95.2%
25

Spring Arbor University (Spring Arbor, Michigan)

For an education grounded in Christ, consider Spring Arbor University. It's a liberal arts institution that was originally formed as a seminary by Free Methodists in 1873. Today, Spring Arbor University offers more than 70 majors and programs as well as more than a dozen online degrees.

What makes SAU one of the best Christian colleges? Overall, 92 percent of students report positive outcomes from their education at SAU. The school has been recognized for being both veteran-friendly and a good value. It has also seen a number of its programs nationally ranked. These include its bachelor's degree in social work and an MBA which can be completed in as little as 18 months thanks to an accelerated schedule.

Location:
Spring Arbor, MI
Average in-state tuition and fees, 2017-18:
$27,750
81
programs offered;
12
online programs
59.4%
graduation rate
Students enrolled in distance education:
38%
Students working after graduating:
90%

Curriculum and Degrees at Christian Colleges

While bible schools and seminaries may only have degrees in subjects such as theology, divinity and biblical studies, many other Christian colleges have the same majors found at secular schools. However, these schools may have faith-based core class requirements as part of their curriculum.

Here are a few examples:

  • Georgetown University requires two theology classes as part of its core requirements. One of these must be either The Problem of God or Introduction to Biblical Studies.
  • Creighton University uses a Magis Core Curriculum that includes 18 components rooted in Jesuit and Catholic intellectual tradition. These include traditional subjects such as science, literature and foreign language as well as faith-based classes in Christian tradition, biblical tradition and ultimate questions.
  • Johnson University has a Bible & Theology core that is a part of all undergraduate baccalaureate degree programs. It includes required classes in the Old Testament and New Testament as well as electives in subjects such as theology, worship and Christian history.

Students from many faith backgrounds may enroll at Christian colleges, and many colleges have the same majors found at secular schools.


Religious requirements at Christian colleges

Students from diverse faith backgrounds may enroll at Christian colleges, and many of these schools have no religious requirements for attendance. Others may expect those enrolled to adhere to a certain code of conduct or meet worship requirements.

For instance:

  • Liberty University holds a Convocation on Wednesdays and Fridays that all on-campus and undergraduate commuter students are required to attend.
  • Brigham Young University requires students obtain a Continuing Student Ecclesiastical Endorsement each academic year and adhere to a comprehensive Honor Code that includes grooming standards, mandates church participation and prohibits alcohol, tobacco, coffee and tea.
  • Dallas Baptist University requires chapel attendance for all students on Mondays and Wednesdays and first-year students on Fridays. All freshmen must also participate in six hours of service per month.

Online Programs at Christian Colleges

a picture of a cross on a notebook next to a laptop

Studying online can be a convenient way to earn a degree. There is no need to get to campus at a specific time for classes, and students may eliminate the need for room and board, commuting and childcare expenses. What's more, some online programs run on an accelerated schedule with shortened terms to help distance learners finish their degree early and enter the workforce more quickly.

However, online students may worry they will miss out on opportunities to deepen their faith if they aren't on campus. Fortunately, many Christian colleges work to connect online students in the following ways:

  • Livestreaming chapel services
  • Recording worship services and making them available online
  • Offering online counseling and spiritual guidance
  • Creating online forums and groups for Bible study and discussion

Accreditation for Christian Colleges and Universities

When it comes to Christian college accreditation, schools can be accredited by several different organizations. For institutional accreditation, the same regional accrediting organizations review Christian and secular schools. Depending on where a school is located, it may be accredited by one of the following:

  • Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) Western Association of Schools and Colleges
  • Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
  • New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

Some colleges claim accreditation, but make sure the college of your choosing is accredited by an organization recognized by the Department of Education to avoid problems down the road.


Christian colleges may also receive accreditation from specialized accrediting organizations such as these:

  • Association for Biblical Higher Education
  • Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools
  • Traditional Association of Christian Colleges and Schools

Be aware that some schools may claim accreditation by organizations that are not recognized by the Department of Education. Students who enroll in schools that don't have recognized accreditation may not be eligible for federal financial assistance programs. Before applying, double-check the Department of Education's website to ensure the school you're considering has proper accreditation.

Christian Professional Organizations

Christian colleges help integrate your faith into your education, and there are numerous professional organizations that can help you combine your spiritual life with your career. The following are just a few examples.

  • The Christian Business Network - This group was founded nearly 20 years ago to provide a way for Christian businesspeople to connect with one another.
  • Nurses Christian Fellowship - Since 1948, NCF chapters have provided mentoring resources to students and nurses seeking to grow in their faith and their profession.

Methodology

To get our list of the best colleges, we ranked 473 four-year Christian colleges and universities in the U.S. Each school was scored on a 100-point scale, using the following data points and the weights specified. In order to be included in the ranking, schools had to report data for each of the following data points:

  1. The in-state tuition and fees for full-time undergraduates, National Center for Education Statistics, 2017-18
  2. The average amount of institutional grant aid awarded to full-time, first-time undergraduate students as a percentage of in-state tuition and fees, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016-17
  3. Percent of full-time first-time undergraduates awarded any financial aid, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016-17
  4. Median debt of graduates, College Scorecard, 2016-17
  5. 3-year student loan repayment rate of graduates, College Scorecard, 2016-17
  6. of degree and certificate programs offered on campus, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016-17
  7. of degree and certificate programs offered via distance education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2016-17
  8. Percent of students enrolled in any distance education classes, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2017
  9. Full-time student retention rate, National Center for Education Statistics, Fall 2017
  10. Graduation rate within six years, National Center for Education Statistics, 2017-18
  11. Percent of students working and not enrolled 6 years after entry, College Scorecard, 2014-15
  12. Flexibility and student services, based on whether the school offers the following services, National Center for Education Statistics, 2017-18
    1. Dual credit
    2. Credit for life experience
    3. Advanced Placement credit
    4. Programs of study that can be completed entirely on weekends or in the evening
    5. Remedial services
    6. Academic and career counseling
    7. Job placement services for graduates
    8. Guaranteed tuition plan
    9. Tuition payment plan
    10. Any other alternative tuition plan

 

Note: Tuition prices are based on data for the 2017-18 academic year reported to the National Center for Education Statistics. The actual cost of tuition may vary.

Article Sources
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