Approximately 64% of Vermont residents identify as Christian, according to a Pew Research Center survey on the religious landscape in America. Vermont Christians further break down into three larger groups: 22% are Catholic, 11% are evangelical Protestant, and 19% are mainline Protestant. Meanwhile, 67% of Vermonters said they believe in God's existence, with 41% saying they are "absolutely" believing. Fifty-seven percent of survey takers answered that religion is important in their lives, and 53% of Vermont residents attend religious services at least a few times a month or year. Of this group, 21% answered that they attend service on a weekly basis.
Vermont Christians break down into three larger groups: 22% are Catholic, 11% are evangelical Protestant, and 19% are mainline Protestant. Pew Research Center
The are only a few Christian colleges in Vermont. One of the smallest states in the union, Vermont is home to 24 degree-granting institutions, 17 of which are private, nonprofit schools. Christian institutions include the College of St. Joseph and Saint Michael's College. The College of St. Joseph is one of five colleges classified by Carnegie as a "master's college or university." The majority of colleges in Vermont confer four-year degrees. Given the low number of Vermont Christian college options, college-bound students might also consider online Christian colleges, which offer the same liberal arts-based education. Other aspects that make a Christian college experience unique, such as a Christ-centered community and spiritual growth, are still available from online schools, along with the ancillary benefits associated with online learning.
Attending a Christian online college affords students the same benefits as online education in general, such as convenience and affordability. Online Christian colleges offer Christians the same faith-based curriculum and student services they seek in their college experience. A Christian online college provides live streams of worship service, online spiritual counseling, and chapel podcasts. Students can also connect with other like-minded Christians through online forums.
Online Christian colleges allow students to complete their learning on their own schedule. Distance learning eliminates commute times and the prospect of missing a class. Most courses are taught asynchronously. For working students and students balancing life, family, or church obligations, this schedule flexibility is especially helpful.
Prospective college students must consider dozens of factors when deciding on a school, including the admission rate, class sizes, and accreditation. Students looking at Christian colleges in Vermont weigh all of these factors, plus a few more unique to the Christian college experience, such as campus values and volunteer opportunities. In their endeavor to find the right Christian college for them, students may also expand their search to include online Christian colleges.
Among the factors that a Christian student may want to focus on are campus size, location, and program offerings.
When researching Vermont colleges, students may want to create a short list of their most important factors. From this list, they can delve into the pros and cons of each school and compare. Among the factors that a Christian student may want to focus on are campus size, location, and program offerings. Christian colleges are usually smaller than public schools. Saint Michael's College in Colchester, for example, is situated on 440 acres and has an enrollment of 2,370 students. Smaller campuses tend to feel more close-knit, fostering community. Also, the smaller the college, the lower the student-to-faculty ratio.
Christian colleges aim to help students grow, not just academically but spiritually, personally, and socially. Location is also important. While a bigger city will offer more in the way of service opportunities, a smaller town has fewer distractions and offers a more communal atmosphere. Finally, program offerings should match a student's academic goals. While Christian colleges offer a liberal arts curriculum taught through a Christian worldview, students interested in Bible- or ministry-based degrees should look into attending Bible college.
Seminary Schools vs. Bible Schools
Students who wish to pursue a Bible- or ministry-based undergraduate degree can do so at a Bible college, either on-campus or online. Among Vermont colleges, there's Appalachian Bible College in Mount Hope, which offers certificates and degrees at the associate, bachelor's, and master's level. While Bible colleges can offer advanced degrees, these schools tend to align with undergraduate programs. Seminary schools offer graduate-level studies in theology and advanced training for careers in ministry or other pastoral professions.
Attending Bible college is not a prerequisite to enter seminary school, though it does provide a solid foundation for the type of academic work taught at seminaries or a divinity school. Most students major in religious studies at Bible colleges; however, these schools may also offer degrees in other areas such as counseling or music. A seminary school can be denominationally aligned, and thus, students train and study theology specific to a future career ministering in that faith.
Accreditation for Christian Colleges
Accreditation status is one of the major factors to consider when choosing a college. Accreditation not only provides assurance that a school has met standards of quality, but it also plays a role in the acceptability of transfer credit and student eligibility for federal financial aid. To receive federal aid, a school must be accredited by an agency recognized by the Department of Education (ED). While the ED recognizes all regional accrediting agencies, it doesn't recognize all national accreditors. Accreditation is a voluntary process of evaluation requested by schools.
The main national accrediting agencies for Christian colleges in Vermont and throughout the U.S. are the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools and the Association for Biblical Higher Education.
There are two types of institutional accreditation: regional and national. The older of the two, regional accreditation, began in the late 1800s. Regional accreditors mainly evaluate nonprofit, degree-granting institutions. In the U.S., there are six regional accrediting agencies. The New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) grants status to Vermont colleges. National accreditors evaluate a wider selection of schools, including for-profit and single-purpose schools, such as vocational colleges. The third type of accreditation is called specialized, which is usually programmatic.
The main national accrediting agencies for Christian colleges in Vermont and throughout the U.S. are the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools and the Association for Biblical Higher Education. For seminary schools, the main accrediting agency is the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada. The ED recognizes all three national accreditors. Also, to help with accreditation research, the ED maintains a searchable database of all accredited postsecondary institutions and programs.
With a population under 625,000, Vermont is the second-smallest state in the nation. Its unemployment rate is also one of the smallest, coming in at fifth with a rate of 2.8% as of March 2018. Vermont's hourly mean wage of $23.48 is just behind the national average of $24.34.
Many students who attend Christian colleges are interested in occupations in community and social service. Vermont is home to a variety of such positions. Below, we have compiled relevant employment and financial information for many of these jobs.
|Occupation||Employment||Average Hourly Wage||Average Annual Wage|
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors||340||$23.74||$48,340|
|Marriage and Family Therapists||670||$19.79||$41,160|
|Mental Health Counselors||520||$20.83||$43,330|
|Child, Family, and School Social Workers||400||$26.95||$56,050|
|Healthcare Social Workers||2,480||$16.23||$33,770|
|Social and Human Service Assistants||2,480||$16.23||$33,770|
As tuition costs continue to rise, students must make the most of the financial assistance available to them. Students who plan on attending Christian colleges in Vermont, which are all private schools, should seriously consider scholarships and grants. The season for scholarships begins on February 1st, and the best strategy is to start local and then expand your search as time permits. There are also local- and state-level scholarships created solely for Christian students and Vermont residents.
Trinity College of Vermont Memorial Scholarship $1,000
Cecile Leduc Memorial Scholarship Up to $1,000
4th Degree Pro Deo/Pro Patria Scholarship $1,500
National CCAA Scholarship $1,000
WMU Foundation Scholarships Varies
Scholarships for Vermont Residents
Horatio Alger Association State Scholarships $10,000
St. Johnsbury Rotary Community Service Award $500-1,500
Vermont EPSCoR First Generation Scholarship $5,000
NIADA Foundation Regional Scholarships $3,500
The Roothbert Fund Scholarship $2,000-3,000
Nichols Family Scholarship $6,000
Find a Church in Your Community
For students new to an area, learning about their local community is an important first step to their college experience. Websites like ChurchFinder.com and USA Churches are helpful, as they offer comprehensive information on churches throughout the U.S. Students can browse by city or denomination, and search by specific keyword. These sites are home to tens of thousands of church profiles.
By joining a Christian networking website, Christian professionals can connect with like-minded individuals, share ideas on business and the marketplace, and get the latest on job opportunities.
- The Christian Business Network The CBN uses technology to bring together business developers, content providers, community seekers, recruiters and entrepreneurs, and employers and job seekers who share a faith in God and a common vision in the marketplace.
- Christian Business Fellowship The CBF is a community of Christian small business leaders and owners who share in an exchange of ideas, peer counsel, and insights. The CBF emphasizes leadership and a belief that business accountability should be a priority.
- CBMC International CBMC International is an interdenominational organization dedicated to marketplace ministry and the influence of Christ on business practice for business of every size. CBMC maintains ministry teams in 80 countries.
Find Christian Ministries
Attending a Christian college may not be possible for every Christian student. As an alternative path, Christian students can deepen their faith through a campus ministry at a secular school. A vast number of public colleges and universities today welcome these faith-based groups where students can find fellowship, grow spiritually, and serve the community.
- Campus Crusade for Christ A parachurch organization, Cru supports 5,300 campus ministries and community programs in 35 cities around the world. Founded in 1951 at UCLA, Cru provides spiritual guidance through evangelism and discipleship.
- Chi Alpha Through its network of more than 300 campus ministries, Chi Alpha provides its members with fellowship, discipleship, and communities of prayer. More than 20 campus podcasts are available to listen.
- International Fellowship of Evangelical Students The IFES supports ministering efforts in evangelism, leadership development, and pioneering. The IFES launched in 1947 and connects more than 500,000 students in over 160 countries.
- Fellowship of Christian Athletes Founded in 1954, the FCA is an international sports ministry of athletes and coaches focused on sharing Christian faith, serving the local community, and impacting the world through sports for Jesus Christ.
- Catholic Campus Ministry Association The CCMA works to "lead, link, and leverage influence" in the realms of higher education and the Church. It was founded in 1908 at Purdue University and has since grown to have a presence on 955 campuses with 700 campus ministries today.
- Lutheran Student Movement USA Founded in 1969, this Christ-driven organization provides fellowship for Lutheran college students. The Chicago-based organization splits into nine regions that match the same for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
- Reformed University Fellowship Since the mid-1970s, the RUF has served as the official campus ministry of the Presbyterian Church of America. RUF ministers gather students for group meetings of teaching, worship, and fellowship on campus.
- UKirk Since 2012, UKirk has served as a hub of support for professionals of campus ministries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). UKirk assists members in finding service and mission opportunities, establishing connections, and sharing resources.
- Baptist Collegiate Ministry Life BCM Life is a network of Baptist campus ministries working together to connect students and those in the academic community to God. In partnership with supporting Baptist churches, BCM Life campus-based ministries help evangelize and disciple students through group worship, community/social ministry opportunities, and leadership development.
Public Universities in Vermont with Christian Ministries
- University of Vermont: UVM offers 22 student organizations dedicated to diversity, culture, and religion. Christian students can join for spiritual growth, community, and service opportunities.
- Castleton University: Students of Castleton University in Castleton have more than 40 student organizations and clubs to choose from, including Christian fellowships like the FCA and InterVarsity for large group meetings, as well as small group Bible studies.
- Johnson State College: Johnson State offers a variety of club offerings, including Christian fellowship options that allow students to participate in both large and small group meetings where they can explore their faith, study the Bible, and forge new friendships.