We are excited to publish our second annual top 50 ranking of Christian Colleges and Universities in the U.S. for the upcoming 2015-2016 academic year. This ranking seeks to highlight intentionally Christian colleges and universities that excel in categories of personal attention to their students, selectivity, readily available financial aid and overall student satisfaction. Christian Universities Online (CUO) strives to be the go to and trusted resource for students and their parents in deciding which school to attend. At CUO we understand how important a decision this is and offer up this ranking as a great starting point.
The methodology behind this ranking began with schools with enrollment of at least five hundred students that have been accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS), the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) or the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI). 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.
Frost Hall by Elizabeth B. Thomsen
Gordon College, located in Wenham, Massachusetts, was established in 1889 by founder Rev. Dr. Adoniram Judson Gordon, originally under the name of Boston Missionary Training School. Since those early days, Gordon has grown into a thriving institution, made up, currently, of over 1,700 students representing over 50 Christian denominations. Yet, throughout all the years of changes and growth, what has remained the same at Gordon is the commitment to integrating faith in Christ with learning – a heritage lost in many historic institutions, including Gordon’s neighbor, Harvard University of Boston. Gordon seeks to prepare students by honing those qualities which are highly valued by employers – “the ability to think holistically, reason analytically, communicate persuasively and – even more importantly – to act morally.” Gordon currently offers 38 majors, 42 concentrations and 11 interdisciplinary and pre-professional minors as well as two graduate programs. The school holds both high retention and graduation rates and has been named in the Top 9% Forbes Magazine list of Best Colleges.
Arizona Christian University
Arizona Christian University (ACU), located in Phoenix, Arizona, is a private, nondenominational Christian university established in 1960 under the leadership of pastors from the Sun Valley Conservative Baptist Association. ACU exists for the purpose of educating and equipping students as followers of Christ to transform a culture with the truth of the gospel. The school’s mission, clearly stated, is to provide “a biblically integrated education that prepares its graduates to serve the Lord Jesus Christ in ministries and professional occupations” Total enrollment at ACU is over 600 and under nine departments, ACU offers 16 undergraduate degree options and pre-professional studies, including recently added Psychology major. All students required to minor in Biblical studies.
Geneva College is, a private, comprehensive Christian college, located northwest of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Originally established in Ohio in 1848, under the sponsorship of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, the school was moved in 1880 to Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania where it operates today. Named in honor of Geneva, Switzerland, which served as a key location during the 16th Century Protestant Reformation, Geneva College’s motto is simply: “For Christ and Country”. Geneva has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a 2015 Top 6 Best Value Schools out of all North Region colleges. Geneva’s student body is currently made up of 1,335 enrolled undergraduate students, 70% of whom complete internships. 36 undergraduate majors are offered at Geneva and the school has an impressive post-graduation employment track record, with 90% of students reportedly employed or in grad school within 6 months of commencement.
Lincoln Christian University
Lincoln Christian University (LCU) is located in Lincoln, Illinois and is affiliated with independent Christian Churches and Churches of Christ. Established in 1944, LCU’s mission is to build-up individuals with a Biblical worldview for the purpose of serving and leading in the church and throughout the globe. This focus on ministry and service comes as no surprise when considering that 36% of undergraduates earned their degree in Ministry with another 18% in Intercultural Studies (Missions) and 14% in Bible. LCU is made up of three schools, for undergraduate studies, adult and graduate studies, and a theological seminary. 17 bachelor degrees are offered at LCU along with a variety of graduate-level degrees. Total enrollment at LCU is approximately 1,200, including 500 traditional undergraduate students, 70% of which live on-campus. Student satisfaction is high with most students agreeing that they would recommend LCU to others. Students come from many walks of life and from a variety of church denominations.
Vanguard University of Southern California
Vanguard University of Southern California (VU) was established in 1920 and is located in Costa Mesa, California. A private, Christian university of liberal arts and professional studies, VU was named a 2014 “Best in the West” College by The Princeton Review and ranked one of the top 10 colleges in the west by U.S. News & World Report. Affiliated with the Assemblies of God denomination, VU’s mission is to equip each student “for a Spirit-empowered life of Christ-centered leadership and service.” Truth, virtue, and service are three of the core values upon which VU is founded. 25 undergraduate majors are offered at VU as well as five graduate-level degree programs. Over 2,000 students are enrolled at VU and with its vibrant community, scenic and central location, students can be sure that there is always somewhere or something to do, go, or see whether on-campus or not.
Houghton College, of Houghton, New York, was established in 1883 under the sponsorship of The Wesleyan Church. Named one of America’s Top Colleges in 2013 by Forbes; “Best College in the Northeast” by The Princeton Review; and ranked in the first tier national liberal arts college by U.S. News & World Report, Houghton College has without a doubt received prestigious recognition. 1,000 students are enrolled at Houghton, hailing from 41 states, 31 countries and representing 30 Christian denominations. Houghton offers an impressive amount of undergraduate majors to choose from (over 40), along with a large variety of pre-professional studies and graduate-level degree programs. Committed to providing an education that is not only academically challenging but also Christ-centered, Houghton’s mission is to equip students from all walks of life to “lead and labor as scholar-servants in the changing world.”
Dallas Baptist University
Dallas Baptist University (DBU), was founded in 1898 as Decatur Baptist College and is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. DBU’s vision is to build “a great Christian university that is pleasing to God by producing Christ-centered servant leaders who are transforming the world.” Located on a beautiful 292 acre campus, DBU currently enrolls well over 5,000 students. For such a large school, DBU has an impressively low student/faculty ratio and the average class size is 13, keeping students from becoming just another face in the crowd. Repeatedly named among U.S. News & World Report’s list of “America’s Top Colleges”, DBU offers 71 undergraduate majors, 27 master’s programs, and many more. There is truly something for everyone at DBU.
Bluffton University, located in Bluffton, Ohio, is a Christian liberal arts college affiliated with the Mennonite Church USA. Established in 1899, Bluffton has been named among the top colleges in Midwest region, by U.S. News & World Report. Bluffton has currently enrolled over 1,000 students, 84% of whom are residential students. Bluffton’s beautiful campus is located on 65 acres of wooded land and runs along the banks of the Little Riley Creek. Bluffton’s mission is to prepare students from all walks of life to live and serve as responsible citizens for the blessing of others, to the glory of God and the purpose of His eternal kingdom. One of Bluffton’s unique features is its emphasis on honesty; tests, for example are taken based on the honor system and students are asked to sign a pledge of honor at the end of each exam. 85 majors, minors, and interdisciplinary programs are offered at Bluffton, along with two graduate programs and a variety of continuing and professional education opportunities.
Houston Baptist University
Houston Baptist University (HBU), located in Houston, Texas, is a private university founded in 1960 by the Baptist General Convention of Texas. An institution that freely admits the name of Christ, HBU’s mission, clearly stated, is to “provide a learning experience that instills in students a passion for academic, spiritual, and professional excellence as a result of our central confession, ‘Jesus Christ is Lord.’” Over 3,000 students are enrolled at HBC, but the school is committed to keeping classes small so that no student is ever just a number. Every student is also assigned an advisor to help them navigate their way throughout their stay. Over 40 majors and minors, 8 pre-professional programs, and 16 graduate-level degree and certification programs are offered through HBC’s eight schools. A tight-knit college community located in the fourth largest city in the United States, HBC is dedicated to providing a holistic educational approach and students can rest assured that there is always something to do in and out of the classroom at HBC.
Erskine College is a small, private Christian college located in Due West, South Carolina in historic Abbeville County, SC – an area filled with rich history from the colonial, Revolutionary War, and Civil War eras. Erskine boasts a low student/faculty ratio and a high retention rate. Established in 1839 by the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, Erskine offers 18 majors for undergraduate students to choose from. Each class is taught by professors and not graduate students from a curriculum that is based on the liberal arts tradition. Erskine places a strong emphasis on mentoring and relational learning which is designed to provide a richer, more personalized learning experience in order to spur on their students to do great accomplish great things, for the glory of God.
John Brown University
John Brown University (JBU), established in 1919, is a private, Christ-centered interdenominational, liberal arts institution located in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. The school offers over 40 undergraduate majors and a variety of international study programs. Over 2,800 students attend JBU, representing 40 nations and 42 states. The school boasts high retention and graduation rates and has been ranked #1 among Regional Colleges in the South and put on the Best Value List by U.S. News & World Report. Succinctly put, JBU’s vision is to “Honor God, and serve others”; the university seeks to provide an education that makes Christ its center focus and one which prepares individuals to be used by God to “serve others by developing their intellectual, spiritual and professional lives.” JBU’s summarizes their mission with two historic mottos: “Christ over all, and Head, Heart and Hand.”
Bryan College, a Christian liberal arts institution located in Dayton, Tennessee, was founded in 1930 in response to the Scopes Trial for the purpose of establishing an institution that would teach higher education from a Christian worldview. The college was named after William Jennings Bryan, who during the famous ‘Monkey Trial’, communicated the wish that a school that would “teach truth from a Biblical perspective might be established on one of Dayton’s scenic hills.” Founded by individuals from a variety of denominations, Bryan College is not affiliated with any particular Christian denomination. Their motto, emblazoned on the college logo, is “Christ Above All” and today Bryan College has the goal of “educating students to become servants of Christ to make a difference in today’s world.” Bryan College offers 21 majors with 44 unique fields of study for undergraduate students, as well as 4 graduate-level programs with 7 options. Over 1,600 students are currently enrolled, representing 41 states and 9 foreign countries.
Dordt College is a private, Christian liberal arts college, established 1955. Located in Sioux Center, Iowa, Dordt is a one hour drive from both Sioux City, Iowa and Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Affiliated with the Christian Reformed Church, Dordt is committed to the Reformed Christian perspective and firmly upholds the truth found in the bible that scripture and creation reveal a sovereign God. Named after the Synod of Dordrecht which was held in the Netherlands from 1618-1619, Dordt’s motto is: Glory to God Alone. 1,400 students are currently enrolled, representing over 30 states; 8 Canadian provinces; and 25 other foreign nations. 85% of students live on-campus and the school offers dozens of clubs and activities for students to participate in and enjoy while not studying. There are a variety of undergraduate programs to choose from, along with 12 pre-professional programs and one graduate-level degree in education.
William Jessup University
William Jessup University (WJU), a Christian liberal arts intuition, was established 1939 during the Great Depression era by Dr. Eugene Sanderson and William Jessup. A nondenominational school, WJU’s motto is: “Transforming tomorrow…Today.” With an emphasis on building upon a biblical foundation and a commitment to the teachings and practices of scripture, WJU’s main vision and purpose is to “educate transformational leaders for the glory of God.” Just over 1,200 students are enrolled at WJU and there are nearly 20 areas of study available for undergraduate students. WJU’s main campus is located in Rocklin, California with a second location in San Jose, CA.
Lancaster Bible College
Lancaster Bible College (LBC) was established in 1933 by Henry J. Heydt with no more than eight day-students and 14 evening-students enrolled in the original class which met in a hall in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Today, LBC thrives with students learning and growing in seven locations: Lancaster PA, where the school’s main campus is located, as well as Philadelphia, PA; Greenbelt, MD; Springfield, VA; Indianapolis, IN; Boca Raton, FL; and Memphis, TN. Despite their amazing growth, at least one thing at LBC has remained unchanged and that is their mission. For the last 80 year’s LBC’s mission and purpose has been: “to educate Christian students to think and live a biblical worldview and to proclaim Christ by serving Him in the Church and society.” LBC offers over 20 undergraduate degree programs and over 20 graduate-level degree and certificate programs. Over 1,600 students are enrolled at LBC, representing 32 states and 15 foreign countries; most of the students live on-campus in Lancaster.
Biola University, located in La Mirada, CA, was established 1908 as the Bible Institute of Los Angeles. A non-denominational, evangelical Christian institution, Biola’s vision is to be “a community abiding in truth, abounding with grace, and compelled by Christ’s love to be a relevant and redemptive voice in a changing world.” Over 145 academic programs – ranging from B.A. level to Ph.D. – are offered through Biola’s six schools; undergraduate students have 40 majors and 80 concentrations to choose from. Courses are offered both on-campus and off as well as online. Biola provides its students with 20 study abroad options, both within the US and around the globe, providing an exciting option for a well-rounded college education and experience.
Seattle Pacific University
Courtesy of Seattle Pacific University
Seattle Pacific University (SPU) was established in 1891 by the Free Methodist Church as Seattle Seminary, before becoming Seattle Pacific College in 1915 and finally Seattle Pacific University in 1977. SPU’s 40-acre city campus is located in a residential neighborhood, 10 minutes from the heart of downtown Seattle, Washington. SPU also owns and operates a wilderness island campus and field station as well as a seaside campus/retreat facility. Of SPU’s 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 34% come from an ethnic minority group and over 50 denominations are represented in SPU’s student body. A historically orthodox and strongly evangelical institution, SPU seeks to have everything they do firmly rooted and grounded in the gospel of Christ and is committed to “engaging the culture and changing the world” by graduating students of character who display competence and wisdom. Over 100 majors and minors are available for undergraduate students to choose from, along with over 25 graduate-level degree options.
University of Northwestern
University of Northwestern (UNW) is a private evangelical Christian college, located on a 107 acre campus on beautiful Lake Johanna, in Roseville, Minnesota, a Minneapolis St. Paul suburb. Established in 1902 as Northwestern Bible and Missionary Training School by Dr. William Bell Riley, Billy Graham served as the school’s second president from 1948 to 1952. A nondenominational school, UNW boasts a high retention rate and has 1,682 traditional undergraduate students enrolled, with six foreign countries represented in the student body. Over 70+ areas of study are available for undergraduate degrees, with six master’s degree programs also offered. Class sizes tend to be smaller and the school has a relatively low student/faculty ratio, allowing students to have more personal interactions and build relationships with faculty and professors.
Taylor University, of Upland, Indiana, is a Christian liberal arts college. Originally established in 1846 as a Female College, before becoming co-educational in 1850, Taylor University is well known for one of its more notable scholars, young Liberian Christian, Samuel ‘Kaboo’ Morris who attended the school before his untimely death in 1893. Most notable among its accolades, Taylor has been named #1 in the Best Regional Colleges in the Midwest eight years in a row by U.S. News & World Report. Nearly 2,000 students are enrolled at Taylor, representing 42 states and 30 foreign countries. It is obvious that Taylor celebrates cultural diversity; Missionary and Third-Culture students as well as home school students are welcomed. With the motto of, “Light and Faith” Taylor’s commitment is to developing “servants who lead, not leaders who serve.”
Asbury University, located in Wilmore, Kentucky, is a Christian liberal arts institution. Established in 1890, the school’s heritage is rooted in the Wesleyan-Holiness tradition, though today the university is nondenominational. With a strong commitment to both academic excellence and spiritual vitality, Asbury has 1,764 students enrolled, representing 44 states and 15 countries, most of who choose to reside at the school’s 65-acre suburban campus. Asbury offers 14 academic departments with 54 majors. Opportunities for student involvement extend themselves both on and off campus: internships, exchange programs, missions and community service opportunities are available and part of the curriculum in almost every major.
LeTourneau University (LETU), of Longview, Texas, is a private, nondenominational Christian university. Established 1946 by founder, R. G. LeTourneau, the school was originally founded as a technical institute to serve GIs returning home from serving in WWII. Today, under the motto of, “Faith brings us together. Ingenuity sets us apart,” LETU offers 90 graduate and undergraduate academic programs in the areas of engineering, aeronautical science, education, and business, among others. LETU’s main location is its 162 acre-campus in Longview, but the school also offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs for working adults online and at education centers in Dallas, and Houston. LETU currently has 1,537 students enrolled, most of whom live on-campus and 19% of which are former home school students. With over 50 recognized student organizations on campus and small average class sizes, LETU promises to provide a vibrant and highly relational learning community.
Fresno Pacific University
Fresno Pacific University (FPU), located in Fresno, California with regional campuses in five additional areas, holds the distinction of being the Central Valley’s only accredited Christian university. Established 1944 in affiliation with the Mennonite Brethren Church, the school was originally known as Pacific Bible Institute. Today, the school enrolls 3,500 undergraduate students, most of whom are the first in their families to attend college. FPU’s mission is to prepare individuals who are biblically grounded and taught from a distinctively Christian perspective to be leaders in their professions; to serve society; and to transform the culture. Under its five schools, FPU offers 27 majors and 60 areas of study for undergraduates and 45 graduate-level programs. Ranked in the top tier for their category by U.S. News & World Report, FPU has also been named in the Top 10 Hispanic Serving Institutions by The Chronicle of Higher Education. A high percentage of FPU’s School of Business internships turn into jobs and the school has a four-year graduation guarantee.
Westmont College, established in 1937, is located in Santa Barbara, California on a suburban, 100+ acre campus. An interdenominational, Christian liberal arts college, Westmont’s enrollment reaches over 1,300 students, most of whom live on-campus in Santa Barbara. 39 states, 17 countries, and 30+ denominations are represented within Westmont’s student-body. Boasting both high retention and graduation rates, Westmont offers nearly 30 undergraduate majors and programs as well as a variety of off-campus programs and internships, allowing students to gain both knowledge and experience through real-world learning opportunities. Westmont’s mission is to serve Christ’s kingdom, by “cultivating thoughtful scholars, grateful servants and faithful leaders for global engagement with the academy, church and world.”
Simpson University (SU), located in Redding, California was established in 1921 as Simpson Bible Institute by W. W. Newberry. Named in honor of Albert Benjamin Simpson, a Presbyterian minister and later founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA), SU remains affiliated with the C&MA to this day and is California’s only Christian university north of Sacramento. A private, liberal arts college, SU has a suburban 92-acre campus and 1,300 students enrolled. The school offers nearly 40 undergraduate major and minor options along with nine graduate level programs including two master degrees with the school’s seminary, the A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary. Study abroad options are also available to students, as are online/distance learning programs.
North Park University
North Park University (NPU), established in 1891 by the Evangelical Covenant Church and located in Chicago’s north side, describes itself as “distinctively Christian; intentionally urban; and purposefully multi-cultural.” Recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation’s best universities, NPU has currently enrolled over 2,000 full time undergraduate and graduate students and offers 40 undergraduate majors and pre-professional options including law, medicine, and art therapy. Committed to providing not only quality academic programs but more importantly emphasizing faith in Christ as applicable to all parts of life, including education, NPU’s motto sums up the institution’s mission and goal: “Preparing Students for Lives of Significance and Service”
Roberts Wesleyan College
Located in Rochester, New York, Roberts Wesleyan College (RWC) is a Christian liberal arts college established in1866 by Rev. B. T. Roberts as the first educational institution for Free Methodist in North America. Originally named Chili Seminary, the school’s mission from the beginning was to “prepare well-educated young people who could become the kind of servant-leaders of high character which [Rev. Roberts] believed were greatly needed in America.” Today, RWC has a total of 1,762 students enrolled and offers 50+ undergraduate majors and programs; 8 online programs; 13 graduate programs; and 5 degree completion programs. Life on RWC’s beautiful campus is vibrant with over 50 clubs and organizations for resident students to join. RWC boasts a high retention rate and has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report, and The Princeton Review.
Cedarville University (CU) of Cedarville, Ohio, was established in 1887. Originally affiliated with the Reformed Presbyterian Church, CU is now an independent Baptist school with a strong commitment to biblical Christian values, including the inerrancy and authority of scripture and a creationist approach to scientific research and study. CU’s commitment to academic excellence and a solid Christian foundation is emphasized through their motto:“For the Crown and Covenant of Christ,”. Classes are rigorous and a minor in Biblical studies is required for all of CU’s academic programs. 111 areas of study are available at CU and the school has currently enrolled 3,620 undergraduate, graduate, and online students. The school has both a high retention and graduation rate and offers mission and study abroad opportunities to their students.
A co-educational, comprehensive Christian institution, Eastern University’s main campus is located just west of Philadelphia in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1925 as Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, the collegiate division began in 1932 and the school was chartered as a four-year college in 1952. The institution became Eastern University in 2001 and the Seminary was renamed Palmer Theological Seminary in 2005. Though affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA, the institution has an interdenominational Christian student body, faculty and administration. Nearly 4,000 students are enrolled at Eastern and the school offers 35 majors and 33 minors in their undergraduate programs, along with 20 graduate-level degree programs. Eastern’s goal and mission is to be “dedicated to the preparation of … students for thoughtful and productive lives of Christian faith and service.”A military-friendly school, Eastern was named one of the “50 Best Colleges for Older Students” by BestColleges.com and ranked in the Top Tier of North Regional Universities of “America’s Best Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report magazine.
Eastern Mennonite University
Eastern Mennonite University (EMU), established 1917, is private, Christian liberal arts university affiliated with the Mennonite Church. EMU’s main campus is located in the gorgeous Shenandoah Valley in Harrisburg, Virginia with a satellite campus in Lancaster, PA; many of EMU’s courses and two degrees are also offered online. In keeping with the school’s motto of “Preparing students to serve and lead globally”, the majority of EMU degrees are service-oriented. With a strong heritage and affiliation with one of the historic peace-churches, EMU may be best known worldwide for its Center for Justice and Peace-building (CJP), which has educated and trained more than 3,000 individuals from 119 countries. EMU offers over 50 undergraduate majors and minors and nearly 2,000 students are enrolled. Class sizes are kept small and the student/faculty ratio is low, allowing for professors to know each one of their students and develop a personal, mentoring relationship with them. Nearly 90% of graduates are employed in their field of study within one year after graduation.
Johnson University (JU), located in Knoxville, Tennessee, formerly known as Johnson Bible College, is a private, co-educational, Christian college. The school was established in 1893 by Ashley S. Johnson, who had a burden to train earnest men in preaching, JU’s motto expresses the heart and desire of its founder: “Open day and night to the poor young man who desires above every other desire, to preach the Gospel of Christ.” In keeping with its heritage, JU continues to be committed to keeping tuition costs low for those who desire to spread the gospel of Christ, their vision being “to bring glory to God… by preparing promising students for excellence in Christian ministry through affordable, community-oriented, Christ-centered worship”. Studies are available both on-campus at JU’s main location in Tennessee; at JU’s second campus in Florida; as well as online. JU offers over 70 areas of study for undergraduates and 13 graduate-level degrees and certificates.
Anderson University, of Anderson, Indiana, is an accredited, private, Christian liberal arts university. Established 1917 and affiliated with the Church of God, Anderson has been recognized as one of the top colleges by a variety of sources, including U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Boasting a low student/faculty ratio and a high retention rate, Anderson offers 60 undergraduate majors including Bachelor of Science in Engineering. Over 2,000 students are enrolled at Anderson, and last year students volunteered over 24,000 hours through service and ministry. Built upon the five pillars of Integrity, Excellence, Servant Leadership, Responsibility, and Generosity, Anderson’s mission since the beginning has been to instill a global perspective into its students and to graduate people “who are competent, caring, creative, generous individuals of character and potential.”
Spring Arbor University
Spring Arbor University (SAU) was established in 1873 and is affiliated with the Free Methodist Church. The second-largest Evangelical Christian university in the state of Michigan, SAU’s main 100-acre campus is located in Spring Arbor, Michigan. Since its founding, SAU’s goal and purpose has been to aid its students in the pursuit of wisdom through offering an education that is grounded in Biblical faith. Today, over 4,000 students are enrolled at SAU and the school boasts a high retention rate. With the motto of “Faith, Living, Learning,” SAU offers 70 undergraduate majors and programs; 9 degree completion programs; 2 associate programs; and 12 graduate programs. SAU’s education programs are available in a variety of formats, including on-campus, online, and on site at 17 locations throughout Michigan and Ohio.
Bethel College of Mishawaka, Indiana was founded in 1893 by Mennonite Brethren in Christ founder, Daniel Brenneman, originally as a training institute. By 1947, the school transitioned into a Christian liberal arts college, changing its name to “Bethel”, meaning “house of God”. Affiliated with the United Missionary Church and built upon the Wesleyan tradition, Dr. Gregg Chenoweth serves as the school’s president and approximately 2,000 undergraduate and graduate students are currently enrolled. Over 50 areas of study are available for Bethel’s undergraduate students to choose from, along with a variety of pre-professional programs and graduate study options. Listed as one of the Best Colleges for Your Money by Money Magazine, Bethel has also been ranked in the top 16% of all baccalaureate colleges nationally by the U.S. News & World Report.
Milligan College, one of the South’s premier Christian liberal arts colleges, is located in the Northeastern mountains of Tennessee, just minutes outside of downtown Johnson City in Milligan College, TN. Established 1866 with the motto “Go with God in Faith and Love,” Milligan is affiliated with non-denominational Christian Churches/Churches of Christ and is also a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Rated as the #2 Best College for Veterans by U.S. News & World Report, Milligan is known for its military-friendliness and has also been named one of the nation’s Top 25 Baccalaureate Colleges by Washington Monthly. Milligan offers 100 majors, minors, and pre-professional degrees and concentrations. The school has a low student/faculty ratio as well as a high retention rate and more than 70% of Milligan’s traditional students live on-campus.
Lipscomb University, a private, coeducational, liberal arts university, is located in the Green Hills area of Nashville, Tennessee. Established 1891 and affiliated with the Churches of Christ, Lipscomb offers undergraduates 117 fields of study to choose from along with 52 graduate-level degrees and certificate programs. A total of 3,390 full time undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled at Lipscomb, with representatives from 43 states and 42 nations, 18% of which are ethnic minority students. Built upon the five pillars of Faith, Community, Knowledge, Innovation, Service, these core values describe Lipscomb and its mission along with the school’s commitment to “intentionally, courageously, and graciously obey God’s will.” Lipscomb has received a number of recognitions and awards, including being named among the Top 20 Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report and making Kiplinger Personal Finance list of 100 Best Values in Private Universities for 2015.
Wheaton College, of Wheaton, Illinois, is a well known name when it comes to solid academic results and strong Christian values. Known for being the alma mater of many notable Christian figures, including Jim and Elisabeth Elliot, Nate Saint, Billy Graham, and John Piper, Wheaton’s school motto is a fitting one: “For Christ and His Kingdom”. Established in 1860, Wheaton, with its campus just 25 miles outside of west of Chicago, currently enrolls 2,400 undergraduate students, hailing from 50 states, 45 countries and representing 55+ church denominations. 20% of students come from ethnic minority groups and 7% of Wheaton’s students are Missionary Kids (MK) or Third Culture Kids (TCK). The college offers 40 majors and has received a variety of awards and recognitions from U.S. News & World Report, The Princeton Review, and Business Insider, among others, and is ranked 20th liberal arts college in the nation for the number of alumni who go on to earn their PhD.
Messiah College (MC), a private Christian liberal arts college, is located in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania with a second campus located in state capital, Harrisburg. Established in 1909, MC’s motto is “Christ Preeminent”, pointing to the school’s firmly held understanding that Christ and faith in Him is “relevant to every dimension of life.” Though originally founded by Brethren in Christ Church, MC is currently non-denominational and welcomes students from a variety of Christian denominations and traditions and celebrates the diversity found within the body of Christ. 3,234 undergraduate and graduate students are currently enrolled, representing 38 states and 23 countries. Named a “Best Regional College” by The Princeton Review and #5 Best Regional College- Northeast by U.S. News & World Report, MC offers over 80 undergraduate majors and 19 graduate-level degree and certificate programs. MC offers 40+ locations for study abroad options and on-campus resident-students are encouraged to serve in various areas of community-engagement.
Whitworth University (WU) is a private, Christian, liberal arts college, located in Spokane, Washington on a 200 acre campus. Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA), WU has currently enrolled over 2,000 undergraduate students with representatives from 30 states and 29 countries. The school, formally known as Whitworth College, until 2007, when the institution changed its name, boasts high retention and graduation rates with 85% of students graduating within four years. Founded in 1890, WU’s motto is simply, “Education of the Mind and Heart,” which the university seeks to do, focusing not only on educating students in the classroom setting, but also through mentoring relationships with their student-life program. Ranked among the top 10 in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of Best Colleges and Universities in the West, WU has also been named one of the “Best in the West” by The Princeton Review.
Toccoa Falls College
Toccoa Falls College (TFC), located in the foothills of the northeast Georgia mountains in Toccoa Falls, GA, is a fully accredited, private, Christian liberal arts college. Founded in 1907, Dr. Robert M. Myers currently serves as the school’s president. TFC’s stated mission is to “glorify God through seeking and developing Christian servant leaders who will impact their world with the love and message of Jesus Christ.” TFC currently enrolls over 900 students and offers 29 majors and 39 minors in three schools: Professional Studies, Arts and Sciences, and Christian Ministries. Named #35 in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking of the Best Regional Colleges – South, TFC has also received recognition from Affordable Colleges Online in their list of the Best In State Online Colleges for 2015.
Liberty University was founded in 1971 by Dr. Jerry Fallwell, Sr. and is affiliated with the Southern Baptist denomination. The largest Christian university in the world and the fifth largest university in the nation, Liberty’s 7,000 acre campus is set in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Lynchburg, Virginia. Over 110,000 students are currently enrolled in Liberty’s on-campus and online degree programs. The school offers an impressive number of 330 residential programs and 243 online programs ranging from undergraduate to the doctoral level. Under the motto of “Knowledge Aflame”, Liberty’s mission to “develop Christ-centered men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential to impact tomorrow’s world.” Liberty has been named in U.S. News & World Report’s list of Best Regional Universities in the South and the institution is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Crown College was established in 1916 and is located in Saint Bonifacius, Minnesota – 30 minutes west of Minneapolis. Originally known as St. Paul Bible Institute; the school changed its name to Crown College in 1992. Affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination, the school’s motto is “Called to serve, prepared to lead.”Crown has been recognized for its military-friendliness by G.I. Jobs and has also been ranked as one of the Best Regional Colleges-Midwest by U.S News & World Report. Crown offers over 40 accredited undergraduate majors and also provides a variety of online and graduate degree options. 70% of Crown’s faculty hold their doctorate degrees and the school boasts a low student/faculty ratio, allowing students to receive more personalized attention from professors. With five key values guiding their approach – Christ-Centered; Academic-Excellence; Global-Connection; and Affordable –Crown College seeks to fulfill its mission of equipping students to be Christian-leaders in the church and the world through bible-based education.
Calvin College (CC), located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was established in 1876 in affiliation with the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA). Named after the famous reformer, John Calvin of Geneva, CC is committed to equipping students who will “think deeply, act justly, and live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world.” CC as an institution is guided by and draws its understanding of the Scriptures from the historic creeds and confessions of Reformed Christianity. The school’s motto is simply and eloquently: “My heart I offer to you Lord, promptly and sincerely.” With an enrollment of nearly 4,000, 47 states, five Canadian provinces, and 55 foreign countries are represented in CC’s student body. A top-ranked liberal arts college, CC offers over 100 majors and minors, along with a variety of study-abroad programs. 99% graduated of students are reported to be employed or enrolled in a graduate school.
Hope International University
Located in the heart of Orange County in Fullerton, California, Hope International University (HIU) is an accredited, private Christian university. Established in 1928 in affiliation with non-denominational Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, the school’s mission is to “empower students through Christian higher education to serve the Church and impact the world for Christ.” HIU has an attractively low student/faculty ratio of 14:1 and smaller classroom sizes, providing students with valuable one-on-one attention from professors. HIU is made up of five colleges providing a variety of options not only for students seeking a traditional undergraduate degree but also online students, and students pursuing their graduate level degree. With an enrollment of over 2,000, HIU’s student-body is a diverse one, representing 35 states and 40 countries. This year HIU was named by Affordable Colleges Online as #5 Best Colleges in California.
Abilene Christian University
Abilene Christian University (ACU) is a private university, affiliated with the Churches of Christ, and located in Abilene, Texas. Founded in 1906, ACU has become known as a leader in Christian higher-education and has approximately 4,600 students enrolled into their degree programs (including 800 graduate students). Daily chapel services and mandatory Bible courses are required of all and the majority of students volunteer for community service. The mission of ACU is clearly stated as having the goal of educating students for “Christian service and leadership throughout the world.” ACU offers an impressive 71 baccalaureate majors that include more than 125 areas of study, as well 25 graduate programs and a single doctorate program.
Union University (UU), located in Jackson, Tennessee, is the oldest institution in the nation affiliated with the Southern Baptist denomination. A private, four-year, coeducational liberal arts-based university, UU’s stated mission is to provide a “Christ-centered education that promotes excellence and character development in service to Church and society”. UU’s academic program is offered through eight schools of study covering a multitude of degree options. Extension campuses are located in Germantown and Hendersonville, TN. Known as one of the top tier institutions in the Southern Region, UU has received a number of major recognitions, including a ranking by U.S. News & World Report as 12th among regional universities in the South and was named one in the list of Kiplinger’s Best College Values 2015.
Corban University is a private, independent Christian institution, located in Salem, Oregon. Originally established as a bible institute in 1935 in Phoenix, Arizona, the school moved twice – once to Oakland, CA in 1946 and then to Salam, OR in 1969 – before obtaining the university status it holds today. Called after an ancient Hebrew word meaning, “a gift dedicated to God”, the name Corban is what the university seeks to be and do through its students – prepare men and women who will offer themselves, heart and mind, as a gift dedicated to the service of Christ. Aside from holding the distinction of being one of the first universities to make online learning available to its students, Corban offers 10 majors for students to choose from as well as 15 study-abroad programs. Ranked as one of the Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, Corban was listed at #5 in the Best Colleges in the West category.
Goshen College (GC), located in Goshen, Indiana, is a nationally recognized liberal arts institution. Established in 1894, GC is known for its low student/faculty ratio (10:1) which allows students to receive more one-on-one attention from professors. GC is officially affiliated with the Mennonite Church USA, however, students of all faiths and backgrounds are admitted with a strong emphasis placed on intercultural and international education. With over 35 majors to choose from, approximately 1,000 students are enrolled in GC and 80% of students study abroad, earning GC recognition from U.S. News & World Report. GC’s international student program, the Study-Service Term (SST), is a semester long program in which students are immersed into the foreign culture, spending several weeks studying their chosen country’s history, language, and culture before living with host families in small towns and rural areas where they perform service work.
Columbia International University
Columbia International University’s (CIU) establishment is due largely in part to the prayers of seven faithful women who had a burden for Columbia’s mill workers and their families to have the opportunity to better learn the Scriptures. Founded in 1923, CIU’s motto has been, “To Know Him and To Make Him Known” and the school has diligently sought to stay true to its Biblical foundation. World Evangelization is one of the CIU’s five core values as the school seeks to “educate from a biblical worldview to impact the nations with the message of Christ.” Home to 1,100 students, CIU offers 19 undergraduate majors and their average class size is 20 students. CIU has been listed as one of the Top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News & World Report since 2006 and Victory Media has listed the university in the top 20% of schools known for military-friendliness.
Point Loma Nazarene University
Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) is located in beautiful San Diego, California. A school with a long and rich heritage, PLNU was founded in 1902 by Dr. Phineas Bresee for the purpose of meeting the need for a Christian institution in the southern California area. With the motto of “Grace, Truth, Holiness”, PLNU is committed to not only excelling in the areas of teaching and learning but also to providing “an intentionally Christian community.” With a focus on providing students with a global perspective through their international study programs and short-term mission programs, PLNU is known as a place of cultural diversity, 40% of its students coming from different ethnic backgrounds. Offering over 60 undergraduate areas of study, and five graduate degree programs, PLNU has been ranked among the best regional colleges by U.S. News & World Report. Named one of America’s 100 Greenest Schools by the Sierra Club, PLNU takes seriously the responsibility to be good stewards of God’s creation and has been recognized as a national leader in sustainability initiatives.
College of the Ozarks
Located in Point Lookout, Missouri, College of the Ozarks (C of O) is arguably one of the most unique institutions highlighted in this ranking. The feature that makes C of O stand out from the rest is simply this: students are charged $0 tuition. Since its founding in 1906, C of O’s mission has been to “provide the advantages of a Christian education… especially [to] those found worthy, but who are without sufficient means to procure such training.” One of the key ways in which C of O accomplishes this mission is by providing deserving students with the opportunity to earn their degrees free from dollar-expense through federal and state grants, scholarships, and the school’s on-campus work program. Known as “Hard Work U” the school has earned its place in U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 rating as #4 Best Regional College in the Midwest. Aside from its attractive low-price tag and the real-world work experience it provides, C of O also offers an impressive 42 majors in their undergraduate academic program along with 36 minors and 10 pre-professional programs.