Where Liberty University Gets Its Money

Via the Washington Post:

Liberty University is not just your average school down the road. The once small Christian college founded in 1971 by the Rev. Jerry Falwell now has the largest student body of any private nonprofit university in the country. With over 70,000 students, the university has become a destination for political candidates seeking the GOP’s more conservative favor. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) kicked off his campaign during a convocation at Liberty. In May, former Florida governor Jeb Bush (R) followed in the footsteps of John McCain and Mitt Romney by giving Liberty’s commencement address. The irony: The exponential growth of Liberty University has been fueled by billions in federal student aid made possible by President Obama and congressional Democrats. In the late 1990s, Liberty students received less than $20 million in aid. Students now receive over $800 million dollars a year in federal aid. As with any federal financial aid, the grants and loans are awarded to students, not the university. Liberty does not receive any other federal funds, but its growth has come by attracting Christian students who qualify for aid.

About 75% of Liberty University’s students are “distance learners” who take online courses. (Tipped by JMG reader BKMN)

  • oikos

    Damn we are funding this diploma mill of ignorance and hatred. That needs to stop.

    • tristram

      The entire online degree business is enormous – and it’s 90% scam. Unfortunately both parties have large constituencies that milk it; so nobody wants to regulate it.

      • oikos

        The feds have been cracking down on it. Phoenix was put on probation for their accreditation and there are new rules to mandating actual instruction to make sure course are not merely a correspondence scam.

        • JustSayin

          Dominion the largest of all the for profit school groups has been shut.down. some brands have been sold but most closed.

    • MDB

      Except 54% are not graduating (undergraduate) !!!
      Law school graduation rate, OTOH, fluctuates around 70-75% graduation rate.

      69.0% of all undergraduate students at Liberty University utilize federal student loans to help pay for their college education, averaging $7,836 per year. This amount is 39.2% higher than the $5,631 amount borrowed by freshmen, indicating an increasing gap between available funds and college costs, and an increasing reliance on student loans.
      * collegefactual.com

      • oikos

        Well that’s a bit of silver lining.

      • JustSayin

        7800 per year is nothing. Most for profit schools are charging between 6 & 8 thousand a semester for undergrad and grad degrees at 750 ( or More) per credit hour for a masters.

    • bkmn

      True to form they don’t even use lube.

    • Sk3ptic

      One way is to make sure Liberty doesn’t receive accreditation.

    • ExGayTherapyKills

      “Liberty” University is making lawyers and politicians who are anti-gay Christians who are attacking LGBT rights and trying to make laws to stop LGBT people. There is real evil there thanks to Jerry Falwell and we need to shut them down before they do real damage.

      • Six Pins Delores

        eEHemm, that is reverend FARTWELL thank you very little.

  • Gustav2

    Losing the Federal funding for the students is what they are afraid of if they don’t get their enhanced RFRA’s. They, from the little food pantry to the huge school, are very afraid. They have seen this happen to Bob Jones University with interracial dating/marriage.

    • clay

      “Liberty” “University” (in particular) can lose that federal funding a lot quicker if they don’t have actual qualified instructors interacting with those on-line students who are actually succeeding. When’s their next accreditation visit?

      • MDB

        For year 2013:

        The following information is based off of data for students who were “Full Time Undergraduate Degree Seekers”. With only 68.0% of students staying on to become sophomores, Liberty University has freshman retention rates below the national average of 69.4%.Out of the 46,133 undergraduate students at Liberty University, this group of 24,700 represents about 54%. 53.8% of students at Liberty University failed to graduate within 150% of the expected time.
        * source: collegefactual.com

  • ben

    Didn’t this school once try to ban the College Democrats from campus?

    • Gyeo

      They didn’t try. They did.

  • Ian

    What we call in the business “the long grift”.

  • bkmn

    Professional grifters.

  • Dale082

    And the vast majority of these conservative christians would never dream of voting for a Democrat although the Democrats are the ones helping them through school! Aaaaargh!

    • HoneyBoySmith

      So, they’re like the majority of Republicans, then.

      They love the party that campaigns to hurt them and hate the party that tries to help them.

      • David L. Caster

        Follow the money to see what is being incentivised.

  • Gyeo

    So, they’re no different from those anti-welfare anti-socialism Conservative who are on welfare. Ironic that.

    • oikos

      One and the same. Their kids go to learn how to hate professionally on our dime.

      • Gyeo

        I wonder what would happened if I turn on grindr near Lib U.

        (bah stupid hangover)

        • oikos

          Grindr will light up like an Xmas tree.

  • Phil

    So is a degree from LU even worth the paper it’s printed on?

    • barracks9

      Only after you wipe your ass with it.

    • fred

      I think it was Bill Maher who said that Liberty University is where those who are rejected by the University of Phoenix enroll.

      • clay

        when the home schooled don’t want to leave home with their GED

  • Paula

    They recruit students among the military. Many of the G.I.s get tuition assistance to take courses when they are in service. The place is online degree mill.

  • JT

    About 75% of Liberty University’s students are “distance learners”

    They’re from another planet.

    • Hue-Man

      No, that’s the Scientologists. Same idea, different cult.

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    So, more conservatives that bitch about the federal government and then take almost a billion from it. If Christians can stop money paying forabortionsthen i should be able to stop my tax money from supporting a bunch of child kidnappers that want a theocracy.

  • Stev84

    Obscene. They shouldn’t receive anything. And non-profit? Hahaha. The reason they have so many online “students” is that they hardly cost them any money.

    “Liberty” “University” also has one of the largest – if not *the* largest – Air Force ROTC program. As if the AF didn’t already have enough issues with the Christian Taliban from the AF Academy.

  • Is this kind of federal funding for universities the norm?

    • CB

      It’s funding for students not the universities.

  • JaniceInToronto

    “About 75% of Liberty University’s students are “living in another dimension” who take online courses.”

  • Octavio

    Typical christains. You give them gubbernunt money and they give it to their church. And they don’t share their food at a chinese restaurant! Such dull children.

  • Hue-Man

    Liberty University North (AKA Trinity Western University) also qualifies for B.C.’s student aid program. It would be interesting to know how much govt money they get. TWU was already convicted of setting up a tax scheme to get students and their parents “charity” deductions for their tuition fees! https://studentaidbc.ca/apply/designated#search-designated

    Here’s a knock-down of their whining after the Ontario court unanimously denied their ability to qualify their future gay-hating law students in Ontario. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/douglas-judson/twu-law-school_b_7747408.html

    Money quote:
    “None of these outcomes is an assault on faith. They are simply the
    practical result of TWU’s insistence on maintaining a discriminatory
    policy which has no rational connection to evaluating the merits of law
    school applicants.”

  • bambinoitaliano

    I’m surprise The Disney company did not start it’s own university already. I’m sure they can go head to head with this university with as many iconic characters than the band of sky fairies.

  • ElJiffy

    Jesus, what a sweet grift! $8OOm per year in federal financial aid to the ‘students’ of this ‘university’. 7O,OOO students, only a quarter of whom are ever physically on ‘campus’. I wonder what the annual tuition rate is (do ‘distance learners’ pay the same?) and what the school staff are paid.
    “…As with any federal financial aid, the grants and loans are awarded to students, not the university.” Something of a distinction without a difference, as the students have to pay the school some or all of that money.
    I think the Justice Dept. or the Dept. of Education should crack down on these for-profit diploma mills. They’re all scams. But Liberty ‘University’ is in a class of its own, in fleecing the rubes and Uncle Sam, and in laying the groundwork for theocracy. What’s being taught there are fundamentalism and dominionism, that the Bible is literally true, every word, and that government and law should be based on Judeo-Christian concepts of right and wrong. As crazy as these ideas and people may seem to us, I don’t doubt that they are quite serious, and quite dangerous, as only true believers can be.
    I wonder what the American people would say if their taxes were being spent to finance a madrassah or to train future imams in sharia law…

  • willward

    How do the students have time to study when they are reading their bibles all the time to find out the true laws about marriage, weather, and women´s rights.

  • sword

    Online teaching is the future for faculty incomes. One of my co-workers only teaches online (the highest paid State employee) and makes twice the salary as our Governor.

  • Bj Lincoln

    This pisses me off and scares the hell out of me.

    • leastyebejudged

      Why ? Christian Universities have always been around.

      The people that graduate from them are in all levels of the private sector and government.

      They are the therapists that young gay people end up assigned to. I know, happened to me when I was younger. Fortunately I had the good sense to read my own file and confront and ditch the assholes.

      The damage they have already done is incalculable.

      At this point it’s just a running joke that isn’t very funny.

  • JustSayin

    What people should be scared about is that they are running ads on TV as if they were just a regular school. Not one word of crazy jeebus talk in them.

    • Phil

      They need to have their policies thoroughly examined, as they were at Bob Jones Univ. They also need to have their classes looked at to see if they meet standards for their respective fields, so the eligibility for federal funds is warranted, i.e. credentials of professors, curriculum, etc. If they are getting this much of their money from Uncle Sam, a serious audit is in order, and that would include their accounting practices.

      A serious comparison of other universities and colleges founded by evangelists might also be enlightening. Looking at Oral Roberts U., I see only one faculty of distinction and few graduates of note, other than sports figures, ministers/evangelists and entertainment figures. I would imagine that holds true with other such schools.

  • Greg B.

    A close friend of my friend’s son is off to Liberty in September. I saw the congratulatory posts in my Facebook feed. I had to fight really hard to resist the urge to comment. There was just so much I wanted to say.

  • Randolph Finder

    I think the largest private nonprofit university *not* counting distance learners in Brigham Young University at about 30,000 students. The distance learning that is done though the Church sponsored programs is at Brigham Young University – Idaho (formerly known as Ricks College).

    The LDS church about 10 years ago simply decided that BYU had reached its physical limitations and put a cap on the on campus students. Ricks College got turned from a classic small 4 year college into one where there are 3 semesters in the year (Winter: Jan->Apr, Summer: May->Aug and Fall Sep->Dec) where students are assigned which two semesters they are attending. They also worked to change the culture so that parents who didn’t get their kids into BYU didn’t feel like failures…

    The LDS wanted to make BYU “The Finest University in all the land”, the high number of LDS applicants has made the church able to raise admission standards…

  • KQCA

    Hate is profitable.