Church offers new take on affordable college education
When it came to college, Rebekah Strecker, an 18 year-old from Fridley, wanted to investigate nontraditional options.

"Both of my older siblings go to expensive colleges and seeing how much debt they are in, has opened my eyes to it," says Strecker. "I’m trying to do a different route."

Strecker is one of a dozen or so students enrolled in Virtues Campus, a new affordable option for college students currently offered at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Coon Rapids.

"It’s the best of online learning, with an accredited university, combined with face to face interaction on a local church campus," explains David Glesne, president of Virtues Campus.

Glesne is part of a team that worked to shape and launch the first Virtues Campus.

How it works

Students meet in a local church in a small group setting to work with an academic pastor on citizenship skills, career readiness, faith studies and even money management. Over the course of two years, students complete Virtues Campus curriculum as well as their associate of arts degree from Waldorf University. Students receive a degree from Waldorf, and can transfer to any other four year college or university. If they choose to attend Waldorf in Forest City, Iowa they are eligible to receive a $25,000 scholarship.

Emphasis on smart money management

Besides an emphasis on faith, Virtues Campus also emphasizes graduating from college without student loan debt. Students are encouraged to work part-time and attend money management classes.

"For two years, every other Friday, we talk about finances," says Glesne. "We think it’s very important. Our students are graduating with a mountain of debt, which saddles them for the next decade."

Glesne says the cost of the program, both Virtues Campus and Waldorf University Online, is under $10,000 for a year.

Glesne hopes to expand Virtues Campus through the metro and the Midwest. For more information." www.virtuescampus.com

Shannon Slatton, reporting
on Twitter: @sslatton


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