March 7, 2013
NEW-TIME GOSPEL EDUCATION:
Virginia's Liberty transforms into evangelical mega-university (Nick Anderson, March 4, 2013, Washington Post)
Posted by Orrin Judd at March 7, 2013 8:27 PMThe small Baptist college that television preacher Jerry Falwell founded here in 1971 has capitalized on the online education boom to become an evangelical mega-university with global reach.In the almost six years since Falwell's death, Liberty University has doubled its student head count -- twice.Total enrollment now exceeds 74,000, with nearly 62,000 working toward degrees online in fields such as psychology, business, education, criminal justice and, of course, religion. That makes Liberty the largest university in Virginia -- with more than double the number of students at No. 2 George Mason -- and the largest private, nonprofit university in the country. With a slogan of "training champions for Christ," Liberty also is the nation's largest university with a religious affiliation.The surging enrollment for a bastion of Christian conservatism in the central Virginia foothills highlights the school as a market leader at the crossroads of religion and higher education. Liberty figured out how to recruit masses of students via the Internet years before elite universities began ballyhooed experiments with free online courses.