Saturday, February 17, 2024

Defying the College Apocalypse

Several of my posts here have been about the ongoing college apocalypse. Colleges, universities, and seminaries are shutting down as revenue drops and expenses increase. All that while tuition remains incredibly high for the most part across the country. One school bucking this trend is Louisville Bible College, which actually shut down in 2015, only to reopen a year later. Now, they're debt-free.

In a time when higher education institutions are grappling with financial hardships, the story of Louisville Bible College (LBC) stands out. Established in 1948 with a mission to educate preachers and other Christian leaders for the independent Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, LBC has weathered its share of storms, including a significant debt crisis that led to the temporary suspension of classes in the 2015-16 academic year.

The turnaround for LBC began with the return of Dr. Tom Mobley for a second tenure as president. Under his leadership, the college embarked on a "rebooting" process that prioritized the elimination of all college debt. This financial restructuring was crucial for the institution's survival and future growth. In 2018, Christian Financial Resources stepped in with a 15-year loan agreement to underwrite the college's indebtedness, a move that set LBC on a path to financial stability.

Remarkably, LBC's commitment to fiscal responsibility and the support of its community led to the college paying ahead on its loan. In November 2022, LBC refinanced the remaining debt with the Christian Restoration Association at 0 percent interest through the Recycled Riches program. This strategic financial management not only alleviated the college's debt burden but also demonstrated the power of collaborative partnerships in the Christian community.

The culmination of LBC's 75th anniversary in 2023 was marked by a significant milestone: the completion of a fundraising campaign, "With an Eye to the Future," which aimed to raise $75,000 to help eliminate the remaining debt. 

Now, to be sure, I'm not presenting this as good news in general. Uniformly, Bible colleges are centers of indoctrination that minimize liberal arts education and focus on teaching a particular perspective on the Bible. They are anti-LGBTQ and anti-feminist. People who graduate from these institutions usually have had both a suspicion of science and a proclivity towards a persecution complex driven into them. 

What's noteworthy about Louisville Bible College isn't the college itself, but the simple fact that it has been pulled back from the brink, unlike so many other schools. It makes me wonder if others could accomplish the same. Perhaps only with enough financial backers who really believe in the school's mission.