Christian Colleges in Wisconsin

Christians comprise the majority of Wisconsin's adult population. According to Pew Research Center, 71% of adults in the state identify as Christian, the majority of whom are either Catholic or Protestant. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 3.2 million Christians in Wisconsin. Among this population, 74% state that their religion is important to how they live and treat others. Nearly 70% of Christian adults in Wisconsin attend religious services at least weekly. This strong faith base accounts for the prevalence of Christian colleges in Wisconsin, including private Bible colleges, seminary schools, and secular public institutions that support flourishing Christian communities.

There are more than 3.2 million Christians in Wisconsin. Pew Research Center

Because of the large number of Catholics in the state, Catholic colleges in Wisconsin represent the bulk of the state's private institutions. There are also plenty of interdenominational colleges and seminaries in the state, and students can take advantage of distance education options.

Online Christian colleges in Wisconsin offer accessible programs for busy students. Through learning platforms such as Moodle, Blackboard, and Canvas, learners access asynchronous classes at their convenience, completing assignments and contributing to online discussions according to their schedule. Distance education allows students to customize their program; some learners take classes part time to accommodate work, family, or church responsibilities, while others take accelerated courses year-round to earn a bachelor’s in two or three years. Christian online colleges offer low tuition rates, and renewable scholarships and grants are available specifically for online learners. Additionally, distance learners typically save money on transportation and accommodation costs.

These institutions support the religious needs of distance learners through online worship forums, personalized spiritual counseling, and live streams of worship services.

Online Bible colleges in Wisconsin cultivate an atmosphere conducive to worship and faith-based community engagement, diminishing negative influences that can distract learners from their scholastic and professional development. Students take classes grounded in Christian ethics, philosophy, and logic, and they pursue extracurricular activities with peers, professors, and religious leaders. These institutions support the religious needs of distance learners through online worship forums, personalized spiritual counseling, and live streams of worship services.

Online Christian colleges in Wisconsin integrate religious doctrines into all program curricula, regardless of discipline. However, specific pedagogies vary by school. Some colleges ground academic programs in the liberal arts and require diverse general education coursework, while others emphasize focused studies in the student's field. Similarly, some Christian colleges in Wisconsin highlight spiritual self-reflection through the study of literature, history, and theory, while others incorporate a hands-on approach to religious life by preparing students to grow Christian businesses and develop global outreach initiatives.

Christian colleges typically have small student populations, which allows individual students to receive personal attention from faculty and school leaders.

Prospective students should also consider location. Though most Catholic colleges in Wisconsin are based in small towns, students can also attend schools in urban areas, such as Marquette University based in Milwaukee. Even online students should choose a school that fosters a safe, positive campus environment and provides opportunities for communion through Bible study groups, student organizations, and a ministry connected to national or international faith networks. Developing professional relationships on campus creates opportunities for internships, fellowships, research grants, and job placements. Christian colleges typically have small student populations, which allows individual students to receive personal attention from faculty and school leaders. Small student populations also foster relationships among students who share core values.

Seminary Schools vs. Bible Schools

Seminary schools and Bible colleges in Wisconsin differ mainly in degree levels and fields of study. Bible colleges grant associate and bachelor’s degrees in conventional majors, such as criminal justice, anthropology, and healthcare administration. However, unlike secular schools, Bible colleges embed principles of scripture and related social and political values into coursework, especially in general education requirements. Students may take courses such as Bible as literature or sociology of church communities. Students at Bible colleges in Wisconsin benefit from fully accredited degrees and from an academic environment that affirms their faith.

Seminary schools offer master’s and doctoral degrees that directly relate to Christian thought and community organizing. Students pursue fields of study including pastoral counseling, church leadership, and cross-cultural ministries. Learners prepare for faith-based careers as clergymen and mission directors. However, Christian students planning to pursue careers outside the church also benefit from attending a seminary school; these institutions teach skills that prepare students for positions as family counselors, university professors, and program administrators.

Accreditation for Christian Colleges

To grant valid degrees, Christian colleges in Wisconsin must hold accreditation from a regional or national body. Six organizations grant regional accreditation, depending on the institution's location. The Higher Learning Commission awards regional accreditation to Wisconsin schools that meet academic and professional standards of quality. National accreditation is less common, and regionally accredited schools rarely accept credits or degrees earned from nationally accredited institutions. The Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the U.S. Department of Education (ED) oversee the country's accrediting bodies. In return for maintaining academic standards, colleges and universities gain access to policy advocacy and institutional support from CHEA and federal funding from the ED, including grants, scholarships, and loans for their students. The ED maintains a list of accredited institutions on its website.

The Higher Learning Commission awards regional accreditation to Wisconsin schools that meet academic and professional standards of quality.

Beyond regional and national accreditation, colleges and universities can obtain specialized recognition for programs such as nursing, business management, and information technology. Faith-based schools often hold specialized accreditation from organizations such as the Commission on Accrediting of the Association of Theological Schools and the Association for Biblical Higher Education. To ensure universal recognition of their degree programs, religious institutions typically maintain multiple forms of accreditation. For example, Catholic colleges in Wisconsin often receive support from the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities International in addition to regional and national accreditation.

Seminary schools and Bible colleges in Wisconsin produce graduates who are skilled in their area of expertise and rooted in their faith. Graduates who remain in the state have plenty of career opportunities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wisconsin boasts the 9th-lowest unemployment rate in the country, at 2.9% as of March 2018. The BLS cites average pay for all occupations in the state as $46,270 per year. This salary, coupled with the state's relatively low cost of living, makes Wisconsin an ideal place to pursue a career. According to Payscale, even the cost of living in metropolitan areas, such as Green Bay, Milwaukee, and Eau Claire, falls below the national average.

National trends from the BLS indicate that the fastest-growing jobs are in the technology, information analytics, healthcare, and energy industries. The Wisconsin state government details similar increases, especially for computer programmers, nurse practitioners, and research analysts. The table below highlights expanding professions that align with the skills and ethics of graduates of online Christian colleges. The BLS projects a 7% to 8% growth in faith-based careers.

Community and Social Service Occupations in Wisconsin
Occupation Employment Average Hourly Wage Average Annual Wage
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors 1,810 $23.00 $47,830
Marriage and Family Therapists 1,000 $21.95 $45,650
Mental Health Counselors 2,550 $21.58 $44,890
Rehabilitation Counselors 1,840 $16.49 $34,290
Child, Family, and School Social Workers 3,470 $23.53 $48,940
Healthcare Social Workers 2,690 $24.41 $50,780
Social and Human Service Assistants 12,600 $16.26 $33,810
Clergy 620 $22.65 $47,110
Directors, Religious Activities and Education 110 $21.99 $45,750
Source: BLS, May 2017

Though Christian online colleges generally provide affordable tuition rates, the cost of higher education still adds up. Fortunately, ample scholarships and grants are available specifically for Wisconsin residents, Christian students, and Christian students in Wisconsin. In addition to the opportunities below, you can browse awards from businesses, community groups, and professional organizations.

Christian Scholarships

Catholic Financial Life College Scholarship Up to $1,000

Who Can Apply: This award is available to CFL members and their relatives. Applicants must have dedicated at least 10 hours of volunteer service to an approved Christian organization. View Scholarship

The United Church of Christ Undergraduate Scholarship Up to $1,500

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be a UCC member younger than 25 years old. Applicants must hold a minimum 3.0 GPA and be currently enrolled in a four-year program. View Scholarship

National Presbyterian College Scholarship Up to $2,500

Who Can Apply: Candidates must in their first year at an approved university. They must be members of the Presbyterian Church and must hold at least a 2.5 GPA. View Scholarship

InFaith Community Foundation Scholarship $5,000

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be a Wisconsin graduating high school senior affiliated with an InFaith church. They must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and must have been accepted to an approved four-year program. View Scholarship

Wisconsin United Methodist Church Academic Scholarships Varies

Who Can Apply: These awards support Wisconsin residents who are WUMC members. Applicants must be enrolled in an accredited college or university. View Scholarship

Scholarships for Wisconsin Residents

Higher Education Aids Board Grants and Scholarships Up to $3,000

Who Can Apply: These awards are available to Wisconsin residents with a high school diploma or GED. Applicants must be enrolled in an undergraduate degree or certificate program at a nonprofit college or university. View Scholarship

Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin Scholarship Up to $4,000

Who Can Apply: Applicants must be residents of a participating Wisconsin county and must be enrolled in or have been accepted to a college or university in the state. View Scholarship

Edwin E. and Janet L. Bryant Foundation Scholarship $2,000–12,000

Who Can Apply: Candidates must hold a high school diploma or GED and must be enrolled in an accredited institution in Wisconsin. Applicants must have attended high school in one of 10 counties: Stoughton, Neillsville, Black River Falls, Mineral Point, Viroqua, Bloomer, Wautoma, Arcadia, Muscoda, or Montello. The scholarship amount is renewable up to five times. View Scholarship

Wisconsin Hispanic Foundation Scholarships Varies based on need

Who Can Apply: The award supports Wisconsin residents who demonstrate at least 25% Hispanic heritage. Applicants must be enrolled full time in a Wisconsin college or university and must have a minimum 2.5 GPA. View Scholarship

Allan H. Selig Scholarship $2,500

Who Can Apply: Applicants must have graduated from a Wisconsin high school and must be attending a college or university in the state. The scholarship amount is renewable up to four times. View Scholarship

Find a Church in Your Community

Students who attend Bible colleges in Wisconsin benefit from websites such as ChurchFinder and USAChurches, which help users find worship and service opportunities in their communities. Users search for churches by denomination and location. Each profile details service times, contact information, and special programs, such as Bible study groups and church leadership training.

Get Connected

Beyond opportunities from online Christian colleges in Wisconsin, students can find academic scholarships, research and service mission opportunities, and career listings through professional Christian organizations.

  • The Christian Business Network The CBN strengthens Christian communities through its Global Connectivity Platform, which connects students with businesses and industry experts, often resulting in internship opportunities and job placement. Members have access to online resources including webinars and articles.
  • Association of Christian Schools International The ACSI advocates for Christian students and families through legal and governmental policy initiatives. Members enjoy financial assistance and professional development opportunities, including certification and continuing education programs.
  • His House Christian Fellowship His House provides Wisconsin students with opportunities to connect through community service and mission events. The organization provides listings for paid internships and career opportunities.

Find Christian Ministries

For some students, Christian colleges in Wisconsin do not fit their academic, professional, or financial needs. Christian learners attending public institutions in the state can participate in the organizations below. These groups provide opportunities for worship and community involvement and connect students with Christian ministries around the world.

Interdenominational
  • Campus Crusade for Christ Founded in 1951, Cru has more than 100,000 members. Christian students benefit from Bible study materials, leadership training, job opportunities, and networking and alumni events.
  • Chi Alpha Conceived in 1947, Chi Alpha operates campus ministry offices across the country. Members can take advantage of community service and worldwide mission opportunities.
  • International Fellowship of Evangelical Students IFES members have access to an online library of spiritual manuscripts and study guides, along with mission and job opportunities. The IFES connects members through regional conventions and its World Assembly.
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes The FCA helps more than 113,500 college athletes and coaches strengthen their faith through Bible study guides, leadership training camps, and international service trips. Members also have access to local ministries.
Catholic
  • Catholic Campus Ministry Association The CCMA operates 500 campus ministries throughout the U.S. and supports Christian students with annual conferences and online webinars. The association facilitates certification and graduate programs at Catholic colleges in Wisconsin and across the country.
Lutheran
  • Lutheran Student Movement USA Founded in 1969, the LSM-USA organizes collegiate summits and alternative spring break trips. Through nine regional branches, the organization provides student leadership training and campus ministry gatherings.
Presbyterian
  • Reformed University Fellowship The RUF is the official campus ministry network for the Presbyterian Church of America. In addition to providing leadership training and conference opportunities, the RUF builds churches in college towns to strengthen community bonds.
  • UKirk UKirk connects student leaders through a national summit and global, cross-cultural mission trips. The organization supports college ministers with program grants and print materials, including logos and group discussion guides.
Baptist
  • Baptist Collegiate Ministry Life The BCMLife facilitates social gatherings and mission events, including the international Welcoming the Nations summit. Christian students benefit from leadership training workshops, an online resource library, and career opportunities.

Public Universities in Wisconsin with Christian Ministries

  • University of Wisconsin–Madison: The flagship institution for the state’s public higher education system, UW-Madison offers more than 450 academic programs. Christian students benefit from campus ministry and faith-based student groups, such as the Christian Students Union. Major organizations present on campus include Cru, Chi Alpha, IFES, FCA, and InterVarsity.
  • University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire: UW-Eau Claire offers more than 80 undergraduate programs and supports Christian students through campus ministry programs in partnership with Cru, Intervarsity, the FCA, and Chi Alpha.
  • University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee: UW-Milwaukee enrolls more than 25,000 students annually. The university offers worship and faith-based community involvement through programs sponsored by the Coalition of Campus Religious Centers.
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