All young returning missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints now have a path to begin their college studies. Returning missionaries automatically receive preapproval for admission to BYU-Pathway Worldwide’s PathwayConnect program, a one-year, low-cost, online program.
“This initiative is a way to provide the means and access to a university degree to those who otherwise may not have pursued that opportunity,” said Clark G. Gilbert, president of BYU-Pathway Worldwide.
Under the one-year online PathwayConnect program, students build spiritual confidence and learn foundational academic skills. Students also gather once a week with other students, either in person or virtually through online groups. After completing PathwayConnect, students can apply their course credits to earn a job-ready certificate. This is a first step in earning a bachelor’s degree, wherein the length of time will vary depending on the number of credits taken each year. All certificates and degrees are offered through BYU-Pathway Worldwide and accredited through BYU-Idaho.
Young elders and sisters will receive notification about 90 days into their missions, and an email inviting them to apply for admission to BYU-Pathway Worldwide will be sent 90 days before they complete their mission service. Early release and service missionaries are also eligible to apply for admission.
“When returning missionaries have other plans for higher education upon returning home, we encourage them to continue to pursue those plans. But for those who aren’t planning on higher education because they can’t afford it, they aren’t confident or they feel they don’t have the time, BYU-Pathway offers a viable solution,” said President Gilbert.
Because BYU-Pathway Worldwide’s courses are offered in English, non-English-speaking missionaries are encouraged to learn English during their missions.
“Our returned missionaries sacrifice up to two years of their lives to serve the Lord, and all too often they come home without any concrete direction or opportunities for what lies ahead,” explained President Gilbert. “By making it easier for them to enroll in BYU-Pathway Worldwide, we are giving many of them hope and ultimately blessing their families for generations to come.”
More than 40,000 students in more than 100 countries participate in BYU-Pathway Worldwide programs. While not yet available in all countries, BYU-Pathway is working to overcome some remaining regulatory challenges to make that happen. For more information, visit byupathway.lds.org.
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