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LDS Church announces new, low-cost online education system, BYU-Pathway Worldwide

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced a new online education system, BYU-Pathway Worldwide, in a press conference on Tuesday morning.

“We have felt that now is the right time to give increased focus and direction to Pathway and online higher education in the Church,” said President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, at the press conference. “Pathway was created to make college educational opportunities available to those who otherwise would not have them. Pathway is a bridge into the world of online college education and a pathway to opportunities for a successful livelihood. The program combines online learning with religious education in local institutes or meetinghouses in an environment of faith, grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Current BYU-Idaho President Clark Gilbert was named the president of BYU-Pathway Worldwide. Gilbert became the 16th president of Brigham Young University-Idaho in April 2015. LDS apostle Elder Dallin H. Oaks will announce BYU’s new president a devotional Tuesday afternoon.

“BYU Pathway Worldwide opens doors to education,” Clark said in the press conference. “One of the ways it does that is by building confidence.”

BYU-Idaho President Clark Gilbert and his family take a picture with LDS apostle Elder Dallin H. Oaks and President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency, (far left) at the press conference announcing BYU-Pathway Worldwide. Gilbert will leave BYU-Idaho in May to be the president of the new online education system.

Headquarters for BYU-Pathway Worldwide will be in Salt Lake City, Utah. The program will officially begin operating on May 1, 2017.

BYU–Pathway Worldwide is rooted in BYU–Idaho’s Pathway program, which was organized in 2009. The program has grown to nearly 500 sites in 50 countries and has served 57,000 students.

The new online educational program will be responsible for Pathway and all other CES online higher education certificate and degree programs, which includes English language certification, technical and skills-based certificates, and online degrees.

Another aspect of the program is local gathering activities for students in close proximity. Students will meet in local institute or chapel in approved Pathway sites for religious education, group discussions and workshops.

BYU-Pathway Worldwide will not require an ecclesiastical endorsement to take pathway courses, according to Elder Kim B. Clark, Church Commissioner of Education. This makes the program available to people outside of the church. However, the program encourage those enrolled to strive to meet the Church’s standards.

“That opened the opportunity for Pathway to anyone who was a member of the church irrespective on their situations in their lives,” Clark said. “We wanted to have pathway be an opportunity for people to find education and to find a better path.”

In addition, the LDS Church is making BYU-Pathway Worldwide by making it more affordable.

“The tuition is tied to the income level in the countries of the world,”  Clark said.

For example, Clark explained the tuition costs in the United States would be $69 per credit hour while tuition would cost about $10 a credit hour in Ghana.

Learn more at pathway.lds.org.

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