Christian Colleges in New York

Christians make up 60% of the adult population in New York, according to the Pew Research Center, and 63% of New Yorkers report attending religious services at least semi-regularly. More than 30% of New Yorkers identify as Catholic, while nearly as many follow Protestant denominations. With New York's diverse religious landscape, it's no surprise that the state is home to many Christian colleges, including several Christian colleges in New York City.

Christians make up 60% of the adult population in New York, and 63% of New Yorkers report attending religious services at least semi-regularly. Pew Research Center

Christian colleges in New York offer both two-year and four-year degrees, with degree options in subjects such as religious studies, biblical languages, and ministry. Many also provide degrees in liberal arts subjects, such as the social sciences, humanities, or hard sciences, while still maintaining a religious focus. For example, Christian colleges may require religious coursework as part of the general education requirements while granting degrees in a variety of subject areas.

New York boasts a number of prestigious Christian colleges with a liberal arts focus, such as Fordham University. In addition to undergraduate religious schools and Bible colleges, Christians may also consider seminary schools, which grant graduate degrees in ministry and theology. New York state is home to many seminaries, and some, like the Northeastern Seminary, offer degrees for over 30 denominations. With so many options, students can find the right Christian college in New York to meet their professional goals.

In addition to on-campus Christian colleges in New York, more and more students are considering online options. Many students benefit from attending Christian online colleges, which provide several advantages over on-campus programs. The flexibility of online colleges allows students to work from the comfort of home, arranging their coursework around work or family obligations. Full-time working professionals, students with children, or those with church obligations may prefer the flexibility of an online degree.

Online students can access a variety of support services, such as online spiritual counseling, live streams of student worship services, and online forums for students to connect with each other.

Students on a budget benefit from the affordability of online Christian colleges. Unlike students attending in-person programs, who spend money on dorms or other on-campus fees in addition to commuting costs, online students keep their costs low. Many colleges provide a tuition discount for their online classes, and often offer the same online tuition rate for in-state and out-of-state residents.

Christian online colleges integrate religious topics into their online offerings. In addition to coursework, online students can access a variety of support services, such as online spiritual counseling, live streams of student worship services, and online forums for students to connect with each other. Today, many Christian colleges in New York provide online courses and degrees.

Choosing the right Christian college is an important process -- and it's about more than just academics. Prospective students need a school that fits their religious values and can help them grow professionally. By considering several key factors, such as the campus size and its values, the surrounding community, online resources, and program offerings, Christians can find the best fit for their interests and goals.

Many students start by evaluating campus values. Some Christian colleges set conservative lifestyle expectations, such as banning co-ed housing and asking students to sign a morality pledge. Many also prohibit the use of drugs and alcohol. Prospective students need to find the values that best align with their own. For example, some students prefer an institution where all community members attend required chapel or must meet service obligations to graduate.

Many Christian colleges provide a liberal arts-based education with a biblical focus, while others mainly confer degrees that are ministry focused.

The size of the school also matters. Most Christian colleges are smaller than public colleges, which often translates into a closer community experience and a low student-teacher ratio. Students at small schools often benefit from attentive faculty, which can prove beneficial in post-graduation job searches. Additionally, the surrounding community plays an important role. Some Christian students may prefer a religious community off campus, while others may focus on finding an area with many opportunities for service and volunteering. Some students seek out Christian colleges in New York City for an urban college experience. When considering Christian online colleges, students can research the school's resources for integrating religion into the online learning experience.

Finally, prospective students must consider a school's program offerings. Many Christian colleges provide a liberal arts-based education with a biblical focus, while others mainly confer degrees that are ministry focused. Some students prefer the option of a variety of programs, while others planning on working in ministry benefit from specialized Bible colleges in New York.

Seminary Schools vs. Bible Schools

Seminary schools and Bible schools both focus on religion, but they offer different degrees. Bible schools provide a well-rounded bachelor's education with a focus on religion, while seminary schools typically provide graduate-level training for church or ministry-related professions. As such, many seminaries focus on a particular Christian denomination. The institution's coursework may include theology, pastoral counseling, and biblical languages like Greek and Hebrew. Seminaries, which may also be called divinity schools, grant graduate degrees, such as a master's in divinity.

Bible schools, by contrast, provide undergraduate-level degrees with a biblical focus. A Bible college is a Christian institution that offers several types of degrees with an emphasis on religious studies. Many Bible colleges in New York include religious coursework as part of their general education requirements, but also offer degrees in other fields, such as business or education.

Accreditation for Christian Colleges

Accreditation is an important marker of academic excellence. Institutions of higher education voluntarily seek accreditation from regional, national, and specialized accrediting agencies. These agencies review the institution's academic standards, faculty qualifications, student outcomes, and the institution's improvement plans. Many colleges and universities hold several different types of accreditation, which can help students choose the right institution.

In New York, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education grants regional accreditation.

Regional accreditation, conferred by six different accrediting agencies across the country, is the highest standard for colleges and universities. In New York, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education grants regional accreditation. Regionally accredited institutions qualify for federal financial aid, and credits earned at these institutions transfer to nearly any other college or university. Some graduate programs also only accept bachelor's degrees from regionally accredited universities.

Unlike regional accreditation, national accreditation may not meet the requirements for federal aid or transfer credits. Particular programs or colleges within an institution may also hold specialized accreditation based on the program's field, such as teaching, business, or social work. By researching accreditation, prospective students learn about the institution's commitment to excellence and continued improvement. Learners can check the accreditation status of any institution through the U.S. Department of Education.

New York state boasts a strong economy both in the country's largest city, New York City, and in the upstate region. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the state has over nine million workers in a variety of industries, including diverse fields such as healthcare, management, sales, and construction. In New York, the average worker earns a mean hourly wage of $28.90 and an annual mean wage of just over $60,000. New York state's unemployment rate is 4.6%, which is slightly higher than the national average.

The New York Department of Labor reports that the fastest-growing industries include home care aides, followed by electrical equipment assemblers, data communications analysts, and home health aides. Numerous professions, such as pharmacists, preschool teachers, registered nurses, and human resources specialists, grew by over 10% in New York in the past decade.

Christian students may consider community and social service occupations after graduation. These careers can be both rewarding and lucrative. Many counselors and therapists, for example, including those specializing in substance abuse, mental health, and family issues, earn over $20 an hour. Social workers earn the highest wages in the field, with healthcare social workers averaging over $60,000 per year.

Community and Social Service Occupations in New York
Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors 7,600 $24.21 $50,350
Marriage and Family Therapists 720 $21.28 $44,260
Mental Health Counselors 6,970 $20.23 $42,070
Rehabilitation Counselors 8,730 $17.27 $35,930
Child, Family, and School Social Workers 22,630 $27.87 $57,970
Healthcare Social Workers 12,540 $28.88 $60,060
Social and Human Service Assistants 33,350 $17.38 $36,140
Clergy 8,490 $25.28 $52,570
Directors, Religious Activities and Education 3,350 $20.05 $41,700
Religious Workers, all other 530 $15.67 $32,600
Source: BLS, May 2017

New York students attending Christian colleges and universities benefit from many scholarship opportunities. In addition to scholarships tied to church membership in a certain denomination, New York residents can also qualify for residency-related opportunities like the New York State tuition assistance program.

Christian Scholarships

Womens Missionary Union (WMU) Foundation Scholarships Varies

Who Can Apply: The WMU offers multiple scholarships to Baptist students. Applicants complete an application form and submit two online endorsement forms, one of which must be from a WMU leader. View Scholarship

Student Opportunity Scholarship Up to $3,000

Who Can Apply: The Presbyterian Church (USA) awards scholarships to eligible Presbyterian students who have completed their first year of college at an accredited institution. Applicants must hold a GPA of 2.5 or better and demonstrate financial need. View Scholarship

Young Christian Leaders Scholarship $1,000

Who Can Apply: Buttafuoco and Associates funds this scholarship for Christian students who are active in their local church. Applicants must hold a GPA of 3.0 or better and be permanent residents of New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut, but may attend college outside of the tri-state area. View Scholarship

United Methodist Church General Scholarship $500-1,000

Who Can Apply: The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry provides numerous scholarship options, including this scholarship for Methodist students with a GPA of 2.5 or better. View Scholarship

Knights of Columbus Scholarships Varies

Who Can Apply: The Knights of Columbus provides multiple scholarships to students attending a Catholic college or university. Some scholarships require students to be either members of the Knights of Columbus or the children of members. View Scholarship

Scholarships for New York Residents

New York State Tuition Assistance Program Up to $5,165

Who Can Apply: This program funds eligible New York residents attending approved colleges and universities in the state. Applicants must be full-time students with a minimum "C" average. View Scholarship

Excelsior Scholarship Full Tuition

Who Can Apply: The state government offers this scholarship for New York residents attending a New York state public college or university. Applicants must be full-time students and U.S. citizens. View Scholarship

Ascend Educational Fund Scholarship Up to $20,000

Who Can Apply: This fund awards scholarships to graduating seniors from New York City high schools who are immigrant students or the children of immigrants. Applicants must enroll full time at an accredited public or private college or university. View Scholarship

New York State Memorial Scholarship Up to $23,000

Who Can Apply: Children, spouses, and dependents of deceased firefighters, police officers, peace officers, and emergency medical service workers who died in the line of duty qualify for this scholarship. Recipients must be full-time students in good academic standing. View Scholarship

Financial Service Centers of New York (FSCNY)/MoneyGram Scholarship $2,000-7,500

Who Can Apply: FSCNY and MoneyGram International offer scholarships to graduating high school seniors from public schools in New York City and the surrounding counties. Applicants must demonstrate academic achievement and volunteer service experience. View Scholarship

Find a Church in Your Community

College students can find a church in their local community using several resources. Church Finder identifies local churches in New York state, and USA Churches also connects students with churches near them. Using these resources, Christian students can build a local church community even when attending college far away from home.

Get Connected

Christian students rely on Christian networking sites to build connections with colleagues and find job opportunities after graduation. These organizations bring together Christian professionals from New York and around the world.

  • Christian Business Network An international organization, CBN connects Christians through collaboration services, content management, and professional promotion services.
  • The Christian Union This organization aims to develop Christian leaders by connecting university students and graduates through its networking site, conferences, and mentorship programs. The union offers both university-focused groups and city groups, including one based in New York City.
  • Legatus Legatus, a community of Catholic professionals, operates several chapters in New York state. Members network and benefit from forums, conferences, and retreats.

Find Christian Ministries

While some students prefer to attend a Christian college in New York, others may prefer a public university but seek religious community. In addition to considering online Christian colleges, students can also benefit from Christian ministries at public universities. The following organizations provide religious support for Christian students.

Interdenominational
  • Campus Crusade for Christ With chapters on over 5,000 college campuses, including many at Christian colleges in New York, Campus Crusade for Christ connects Christian students and offers internships, mission trips, and Bible studies.
  • Chi Alpha Founded in 1953 at Missouri State University, Chi Alpha has since grown into a network of over 300 Christian ministries found on university campuses around the world.
  • International Fellowship of Evangelical Students Founded in 1947 at Harvard, IFES is now active in 160 countries. The organization boasts 590 campus locations in the U.S., including several at Christian colleges in New York.
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes FCA connects Christian student athletes across the country, at the youth, college, and professional levels. Founded in 1954, FCA offers small group Bible studies, Christian sports camps, and local volunteer opportunities.
Catholic
  • Catholic Campus Ministry Association A leading voice in college campus ministry, CCMA offers chapters at over 500 colleges in all 50 states, including Catholic colleges in New York.
Lutheran
  • Lutheran Student Movement USA This student-led organization brings together Lutheran college students on campuses across the country, including at Bible colleges in New York.
Presbyterian
  • Reformed University Fellowship RUF is the official campus ministry of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). The organization offers Bible studies, retreats, conferences, and internships.
  • UKirk UKirk provides community and professional support for Presbyterian college students. The organization offers local service opportunities for students at Christian colleges in New York.
Baptist
  • Baptist Collegiate Ministry Life This organization runs campus groups on college campuses across North America, including Bible colleges in New York. The organization offers large worship groups, community ministry opportunities, and mission trips.

Public Universities in New York with Christian Ministries

  • Binghamton University: Binghamton University, part of the state university system, features multiple Christian ministries, including a local organization called Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
  • Stony Brook University: A member of the State University of New York system, Stony Brook features several on-campus Christian ministries and an interfaith center.
  • City College of New York: CCNY, the founding institution of the City University of New York, is home to multiple Christian ministries, including Campus Crusade for Christ.
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