Pathway program opens door to educate LDS members

Friday , July 18, 2014 - 9:07 AM

By RACHEL TROTTER and JaNAE FRANCIS
Standard-Examiner staff

OGDEN – Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who want to start or finish college degrees now have an economical alternative using an innovative program through BYU-Idaho called Pathway.

At $65 per credit and with no application fee and a simple admissions process, getting an education may be a little bit easier for some.

Pathway is a one-year program where students take three academic courses and three religion courses over three semesters. Students also have regular weekly gatherings at a church meetinghouse to discuss what they are learning and participate in additional educational activities related to their academic coursework.

The program was introduced in three U.S locations in 2009, and will soon be in 32 countries worldwide. As of this fall, there will be 107 international sites and 136 in the United States and Canada. Ogden will join Orem as the two newest additions to Pathway’s effort in Utah this September. Sandy and Taylorsville also have Pathway sites that started in 2012 and 2013 respectively.

“Pathway is intended help people who are not pursuing a path, whether it be educationally, spiritually, or otherwise,” said Andy Cargal, Pathway communications manager. “The program has been built in every way to break down barriers and help people achieve their goals.”

All together, a student will earn 15 credits during Pathway and after that may apply to BYU-Idaho’s on-line degree program, apply to a local or college or university, or pursue other personal or career goals. Those who choose to move into the BYU-Idaho on-line degree program also keep the reduced tuition rate throughout the duration of their education.

Steve Broadbent, a service missionary called to help oversee Pathway in Ogden, is excited for the program to come to the area.

“It needs to be in areas where there is a specific need, where there can be longevity and where it can be sustained,” Broadbent said. “It gives people confidence and skills and the chance to say, ‘Life hasn’t passed me by.’” 

Broadbent and his wife, Julie, are one of several missionary couples who will look after the students who enroll at the local Pathway site. The Pleasant View couple is working with the other area service missionaries to educate people in the Top of Utah about the program, get them interested and signed up to participate.

Ward and stake priesthood leaders also are being educated about the program so they can better help their congregations, and service missionaries are called to represent certain areas for added help and support.

Pathway begins in Ogden on Sept. 15. Applications are being accepted online at pathway.lds.org until Aug. 25.

Broadbent said he is impressed with BYU-Idaho President Kim B. Clark’s energy and vision about education. President Clark said in his inaugural address: “I’m convinced that we will find new ways to use information technology, new ways to reach more students and to deepen the learning experiences of those we touch … In these experiences students will teach one another in new and powerful ways. The capacity to educate effectively across time and across space will allow us to leverage the capacity of the university and reach many more young people."

Broadbent agrees and can see that will be the case for LDS Church members in Ogden.

Testimonials, frequently asked questions and specific information for the program also are available on the website. Area service missionaries will be visiting local wards during Sunday services in the next few weeks with additional information.

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