SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Ensign College and Brigham Young University — Idaho are offering three-year degrees through BYU-Pathway beginning April 2024, according to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The new online bachelor’s degrees will reportedly be offered in the fields of business, technology, communication, health, family services, and professional studies.
The degrees preserve all required major and general education courses while eliminating elective credits, according to the Church.
BYU–Idaho, Ensign College, and BYU-Pathway Worldwide are part of the Church Educational System. According to the Church, CES tries to make higher education more accessible to a diverse worldwide audience.
According to Elder Clark G. Gilbert, CES Commissioner, providing access to affordable education everywhere the Church is organized is “critical to what we do.”
He said that this new degree structure will make completing a degree a possibility for more people, particularly those who felt higher education was not a viable option for them.
BYU Pathway-Worldwide President Brian Ashton said BYU-I and Ensign College online students serviced through BYU-Pathway are typically first-generation students who work full time and struggle to make ends meet. He said those students need options to help them efficiently earn a degree, and this new degree structure can do that.
The new degree structure increases the likelihood of graduation and prepares students for jobs and careers, he said.
BYU-I and Ensign College are among the first institutions to receive accreditation for this degree-structure, according to the Church. However, “other innovators in higher education have for years explored degree options that are based more on learning outcomes than the actual time in the classroom,” the press release states.
BYU-I recently participated in the “College-in-3” consortium of schools to explore different ways to approach higher education, according to the Church.