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25 Best Christian Colleges and Universities in the West 2017

best-christian-colleges-and-universities-in-the-westAs the next chapter in a series, Christian Universities Online is happy to present the Top 25 Christian Colleges and Universities in the West for 2017.  Not merely a subset of the national top 50; this ranking only narrows the geographic criteria and starts from square one with the evaluation criteria.  CUO offers these rankings not because any one area is superior to another, but that while not necessarily a top consideration in the decision, geography can often play a part in school selection.  There are certainly some familiar names on this list; some new schools are showcased as well.  It is our hope that those who may need to limit their school selection based on geography will be well-served by this ranking.

The methodology behind this ranking began with schools in our West region that are members or member eligible of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). We then collected publicly available data for these schools in the following categories: 1) Faculty-to-student ratio, 2) Percent of full-time beginning undergraduates receiving grant or scholarship aid, 3) Selectivity, 4) Overall retention rate and 5) Overall graduation rate. Each category received equal weight in calculating the final ranking.

25

Oklahoma Baptist University

Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) is a private, coeducational, Christian liberal arts institution located in Shawnee, Oklahoma, about 30 minutes east of Oklahoma City. Owned by the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma, OBU’s roots reach back to 1910 when the University was initially founded. Since that time, OBU has experienced significant growth and has been named one of the top 10 regional colleges in the West by U.S. News & World Report consecutively for more than two decades. OBU has also been recognized as one of the best colleges and universities in the western United States by The Princeton Review among other national recognitions and accolades. Today, OBU describes its mission as being to transform lives “by equipping students to pursue academic excellence, integrate faith with all areas of knowledge, engage a diverse world, and live worthy of a high calling of God in Christ.”

Oklahoma Baptist University boasts a total enrollment figure of nearly 2,000, the majority of whom are undergraduate students with an average student to faculty ratio of 15 to 1. OBU’s student body is filled with diversity, as students hail from at least 40 states and 35 foreign countries.  Students under the age of 21 years are required to live on OBU’s campus and the University offers an array of housing options including traditional dormitories, suites and apartment complexes. A total of 10 bachelor’s degrees are available in more than 80 areas of study along with five master’s degrees, and several certificate programs. OBU holds its accreditation through the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. A selective institution, OBU admits 61% of applicants and boasts an overall retention rate of 74% with an overall graduation rate of 52%. Financial aid options are readily available to students, as evidenced by the fact that 100% of full-time, beginning undergraduates receive some type of financial assistance.

  • Student-to-faculty ratio:  15-to-1
  • Percent of Full-time, Beginning Undergraduates Financial Aid: 100%
  • Admittance: 61%
  • Overall Retention Rate: 74%
  • Overall Graduation Rate: 52%

24

Vanguard University of Southern California

Vanguard University is a private, comprehensive, Christian university of liberal arts and professional studies, located in Costa Mesa, California and affiliated with the Assemblies of God denomination. Vanguard University’s began in 1920 when the school was opened with the intention of preparing Christian workers for the various ministries of the church. Originally named the Southern California Bible School, by 1939 the institution was chartered by the State of California and was made eligible to grant degrees, becoming the first four-year institution of the Assemblies of God. The school’s name was then changed to Southern California Bible College as the college continued to grow, receiving regional accreditation and eventually membership in the Western Association of Colleges and Schools. By 1999, the college was granted university status and its current name was adopted.

Vanguard University is comprised of multiple academic departments, including: the Department of Anthropology and Sociology; Department of Biology; Department of Business & Management; Department of Chemistry; Department of Communication; Department of English; Department of History and Political Science; Department of Kinesiology; Department of Liberal Studies; Department of Mathematics; Department of Music; Department of Psychology; Department of Religion;  and the Department of Theatre Arts. A four-year Bachelor of Arts or Science degree is available in 30 majors and concentrations in addition to a number of Adult Degree Completion programs and Graduate Study options. More than 2,000 students are enrolled at Vanguard, including over 1,800 undergraduate students with an average student to faculty ratio of 15 to 1. A selective University, Vanguard admits 68% of applicants and boasts an overall retention rate of 78% with an overall graduation rate of 56%. Financial aid is readily available to students, and 98% of full-time beginning undergraduate students receiving some type of financial aid.

  • Student-to-faculty ratio:  15-to-1
  • Percent of Full-time, Beginning Undergraduates Financial Aid: 98%
  • Admittance: 68%
  • Overall Retention Rate: 78%
  • Overall Graduation Rate: 56%

23

Oral Roberts University

Oral Roberts University (ORU) is a private, coeducational, interdenominational, Christian comprehensive liberal arts university located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Named in honor of its founder, evangelist Oral Roberts, the University was established in 1965. ORU purpose is to educate the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and promises students a thorough education that is taught in the context of a “vibrant Christ-centered community.” A charismatic university, ORU’s motto is, “Make no little plans here.” The University’s declared mission is to “build Holy Spirit-empowered leaders through whole person education to impact the world with God’s healing.” ORU is situated on a 263 acre campus located in south Tulsa, Oklahoma, the state’s second-largest city, which, as a thriving metropolis, offers a wide array of both internship and professional opportunities in addition to its cultural and recreational resources.

Oral Roberts University holds its accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Comprised of five colleges, these include the College of Arts and Cultural Studies; the College of Business; the College of Education; the College of Nursing; the College of Science and Engineering; and the College of Theology and Ministry. More than 65 undergraduate majors are offered as well as 14 graduate programs and two doctoral programs and a number of adult degree completion programs and online degrees. ORU’s five most popular majors include Nursing; Ministry & Leadership; Business Administration; Media; and Biology. ORU’s total enrollment exceeds 3,500, including over 3,000 undergraduate students, with an average student to faculty ratio of 16 to 1. A selective school, ORU admits 64% of applicants and boasts an overall retention rate of 80% with an overall graduation rate of 58%. Financial aid is readily available and 96% full-time beginning undergraduate students receive some type of financial assistance.

  • Student-to-faculty ratio:  16-to-1
  • Percent of Full-time, Beginning Undergraduates Financial Aid: 96%
  • Admittance: 64%
  • Overall Retention Rate: 80%
  • Overall Graduation Rate: 58%

22

Northwest Christian University

Northwest Christian University (NCU) is a private, coeducational, Christian, liberal arts institution located in Eugene, Oregon. NCU is historically affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the Christian churches and churches of Christ. Established in 1895 by Eugene Claremont Sanderson, the school was originally known as the Eugene Divinity School (EDS). The school’s name was changed multiple times before its current one was adopted in 2008. The University’s mission statement declares its intention “to develop competent, ethical leaders for service in the workplace, community, Church and world,” and the school aspires to be “a University characterized by its commitment to equip students to discover and answer God’s call in their lives.” NCU’s core values include excellence in Christian higher education, faithful stewardship and Christ-centered community with the intention of developing purposeful graduates who will “apply skills and knowledge into practice as productive and contributing members” in society.”

Northwest Christian University holds its accreditation through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The University offers a wide variety of undergraduate majors, adult degree programs, and graduate programs of study; NCU’s most popular areas of majors have proven to be in Accounting, Business Administration, Exercise Science, Psychology, and Teacher Education (K-12). NCU has a total enrollment of just over 700 students, with a female/male ratio of about 60/40. NCU’s student to faculty ratio is 12 to 1 with an average class size of 16. Thanks to this low ratio, faculty members are able to provide students with personal attention, helping to “guide and nurture [their] faith and education”.  A selective institution, NCU admits 68% of applicants and boasts an overall retention rate of 69% with an overall retention rate of 53%. The university offers an excellent scholarship program and more than 97% of fulltime, beginning undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid, whether grants or scholarships.

  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 12-to-1
  • Percent of Full-time, Beginning Undergraduates Financial Aid: 100%
  • Admittance: 68%
  • Overall Retention Rate: 69%
  • Overall Graduation Rate: 53%

21

Concordia University Irvine

Concordia University Irvine (CUI) is a private, coeducational, Christian institution of higher education located in Irvine, California. CUI was established in affiliation with the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod in 1976 for the purpose of serving students in the Pacific Southwest. Originally named Christ College Irvine, in 1993 the school’s Board of Regents voted to change the institution’s name to Concordia University Irvine, making CUI the tenth campus within the national Concordia University System.  Today, the University’s mission statement declares its commitment to being “guided by the Great Commission of Christ Jesus and the Lutheran Confessions, [to empower] students through the liberal arts and professional studies for lives of learning, service and leadership.” CUI has a total enrollment figure of more than 4,500, including nearly 2,000 undergraduate students, with an average student to faculty ratio of 15 to 1.

Concordia University Irvine holds its accreditation through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges which granted its initial accreditation in 1981. The University offers a wide range of undergraduate, graduate, and online degree completion programs. Undergraduate majors include Actuarial Science, Art, Athletic Training, Behavioral Science, Biblical Languages, Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Christian Education Leadership, Coaching, Communication Studies, Director of Christian Education, Director of Parish Music, Early Childhood, Economics, Education Specialist, Elementary Education, English, Exercise and Sport Science, Forensics, Global Cultural Studies, Graphic Design, Healthcare Management, History and Political Thought, Humanities and Fine Art, International Studies, Liberal Studies, Lutheran Teaching Ministry, Mathematics, Medical Science Professions, Music, Physics, Pre-Deaconess Studies, Pre-Law, Pre-Nursing, Pre-Seminary Studies, Psychology, Secondary Education, Theatre, Theology, Theological Studies, and Worship Arts Leadership. A selective institution, CUI has an acceptance rate of 59% and boasts an overall retention rate of 72% with an overall graduation rate of 61%. 97% of beginning, full-time undergraduate students receive some type of financial aid.

  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 15-to-1
  • Percent of Full-time, Beginning Undergraduates Financial Aid: 97%
  • Admittance: 59%
  • Overall Retention Rate: 72%
  • Overall Graduation Rate: 61%

 

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