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School history

Founded in 1971, by Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr., Liberty University has grown quite a bit in the years since opening its doors. It was the largest university in the state of Virginia as of 2015, for starters, and there's no other nonprofit private institution in the U.S. that matches its size. On top of all that, it's the largest university anywhere in the world that specializes in education in accordance with Evangelical Christian values, including religiously oriented coursework and codes of on-campus conduct for all students.

Liberty students can choose from more than 450 campus-based and online degree programs, for which in-person classes are conducted at the expansive campus in Lynchburg, Virginia. Both traditional and online degree programs can be taken at all levels, from non-degree certificates to professional or research-oriented doctoral degrees, and include dedicated departments to serve students of law, osteopathic medicine, business and theology.

Distinctions

The degree programs at Liberty have been accumulating accolades and landing on regional and national university rankings lists for several years. Here's a table of some of the more recent distinctions awarded to the university, along with the name of the awarding institution and the school's rank:

Award

Rank

Awarding institution

Award year

Best Regional Universities, Southern U.S.

80

U.S. News and World Report

2015

Best Colleges for Veterans

37

U.S. News and World Report

2015

Best Online Graduate Education Programs

97

U.S. News and World Report

2015

Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs

75

U.S. News and World Report

2015

Best Law Schools - Affordability

B+

The National Jurist

2013

Best Law Schools - Diversity

B+

The National Jurist

2013

Best for Vets: Business Schools

30

Military Times

2014

Best Online Colleges

18

Create a Career

2014

Best Teacher Education Colleges, Virginia

1

Online College Database

2013

Best Regional Colleges, Southern U.S.

180

Forbes

2015

Best Private Colleges

385

Forbes

2015

Cost to attend

The tuition and fee amounts Liberty expects individual students to pay can vary, based on their chosen major, their student status and their enrollment in certain special programs. Resident tuition rates for various programs at Liberty are listed as follows for the 2015-16 academic year:

  • Undergraduate tuition, full-time: $21,300 per year
  • Undergraduate tuition, part-time: $730 per credit hour
  • Master of Arts tuition: $540 per credit hour
  • Master Seminary, part-time: $380 per credit hour
  • Master Seminary, full-time: $2,650 per class block
  • Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences, part- or full-time: $580
  • Master of Theology: $540 per credit hour
  • Doctor of Ministry and Ph.D. programs: $570 per credit hour
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice: $570 per credit hour

Tuition rates for online students may differ from those listed for residents. Here are the rates reported for students in online degree programs at Liberty during the 2015-16 academic year, listed per credit hour unless otherwise noted:

  • Undergraduate, full-time: $375
  • Undergraduate, part-time: $435
  • Graduate, full-time: $540
  • Graduate, part-time: $590
  • Educational Specialist and Doctorate, full-time: $570
  • Educational Specialist and Doctorate, part-time: $625
  • Military Undergraduate, part- or full-time: $250
  • Military Graduate or Education Doctorate Programs, part- or full-time: $275
  • Willmington School of the Bible: $115
  • High school/Homeschool dual enrollment programs (LUOA/EDGE): $500 per course

Financial aid

Students are encouraged to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, as their first step toward financial assistance for their education. Standard federal grant programs such as the Pell Grant, the TEACH Grant and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant may all be available to students who qualify, and the university accepts both subsidized and unsubsidized loans awarded at the federal level.

Liberty also offers an extensive list of institution-specific scholarships and grants to qualifying undergraduate, graduate and online students, which includes, but is not limited to, the following awards:

  • Liberty Scholars Grant Program
  • Tobacco Region Scholarship
  • Virginia Two Year College Transfer Grant
  • Virginia: Brown v. Board of Education Scholarship
  • Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant (VTAG)
  • Army National Guard Scholarship
  • Montgomery GI Bill (Active Duty/Selected Reserves), Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance Program
  • Missionary Scholarship
  • Heroes Fund Scholarship
  • Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia
  • Virginia High Achievers Scholarship
  • National Merit Scholarship
  • Phi Theta Kappa

Highlighted programs

Criminal Justice

Liberty offers degrees in criminal justice at the associate, bachelor's and master's level, and the cornucopia of programs is especially friendly to online students. The Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree in Criminal Justice is a two-year program that can be earned on campus as well as online, combining core courses in corrections, criminology, criminal law and the judicial process with general education subject matter in science, math, political science, English, divinity and critical thinking.

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) students in criminal justice at Liberty can earn a broadly applicable degree on campus or enroll online to specialize in one of seven cognates:

  • Business administration and management
  • Criminal psychology
  • Forensics
  • Homeland security
  • Public administration
  • Strategic intelligence
  • Youth corrections

Graduate students can pursue an administrative path in the field through two distinct academic tracks, with an online-only Master of Science (M.S.) in Criminal Justice and a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) criminal justice specialization open to residents as well as online students.

Accounting

Working adults looking to gain accounting skill and advance their careers can enroll in Liberty's online A.A. degree in accounting, which was named one of the top three online accounting degree programs in the country in 2013 by TheBestColleges.org. Most students hoping for a full-time accounting career continue their education to the bachelor's level, which is typically required to take the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam. Liberty University also offers a B.S. in accounting, with both residential and online degree programs available.

Liberty also features an online M.S. in Accounting, consisting of advanced courses in auditing, taxation, analytical reasoning, business ethics, computer literacy and research-focused approaches to the accounting craft. Although CPA licensing requirements vary by state, the online accounting programs at Liberty work to help students meet as many of their local requirements as possible.

Education

The education programs at Liberty have also gained considerable acclaim, being named in the top 100 graduate education programs by U.S. News and World Report and taking the No. 1 spot on TheBestColleges.org's 2015 list of top online teaching degrees. Associate degree options include a non-licensure online A.A. in Education and an online A.A. in Early Childhood Education that may accept professional certifications such as the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential as credit earned toward a student's degree.

Bachelor's degrees for aspiring teachers can be earned per subject--with English, math, science, social science and Spanish listed as available specialties--or as interdisciplinary degrees. B.S. in Special Education degrees may be earned on campus or online. Graduate and post-graduate programs in education are numerous as well, including online Master of Education (M.Ed.) options such as the following:

  • School counseling
  • Education technology
  • Educational law
  • Administration
  • Leadership
  • Student services
  • Gifted education

Post-master's options at Liberty consist of both Education Specialist (Ed.S) and Doctor of Education (Ed.D) degrees in curriculum and instruction, educational law and educational leadership.

Student life data

Here's a breakdown of student demographics at Liberty, as documented by the National Center for Education Statistics IPEDS database.

Breakdown by student age:

Demographic breakdown by full-time student age (Fall 2013)

Age range

# undergraduates

# graduate students

18-19

4,773

1

20-21

5,696

78

22-24

3,671

1,416

25-29

2,886

2,230

30-34

2,471

1,764

35-39

1,878

1,443

40-49

2,722

2,211

50-64

1,398

1,221

Breakdown by gender and ethnicity;

Demographic breakdown by full-time student sex/ethnicity (Fall 2013)

Ethnicity

# undergraduates

# graduate students

Caucasian

14,183

12,158

Black or African-American

2,947

6,431

Hispanic or Latino

468

410

Asian

209

274

Two or more races

620

519

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander

38

33

American Indian or Alaskan Native

133

135

Nonresident Alien

959

698

Race or ethnicity unknown

6,354

9,216

Total women

14,882

18,051

Total men

11,029

11,823

Sources:

About Liberty, Liberty University, http://www.liberty.edu/aboutliberty/

Liberty University Quick Facts, Liberty University, http://www.liberty.edu/aboutliberty/index.cfm?PID=6925

Liberty University, Overall Rankings, U.S. News and World Report, http://colleges.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-colleges/liberty-university-232557/overall-rankings

Best Graduate Schools, Best Education Schools, U.S. News and World Report, http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/best-graduate-schools/top-education-schools/edu-rankings

Liberty University School of Law, School Rankings, The National Jurist, http://www.nationaljurist.com/law-schools/liberty-university-school-law/rankings

Best for Vets: Business Schools 2014, Military Times, http://projects.militarytimes.com/best-for-veterans/business-schools/2014/

The 25 Best Online Colleges for 2014, Create a Career, http://createacareer.org/25-best-online-colleges-2014/

"Liberty University Named Top College in Virginia," Liberty University, December 19, 2013, http://www.liberty.edu/online/liberty-news/?mid=108251

Liberty University, America's Top Colleges, Forbes, http://www.forbes.com/colleges/liberty-university/

Resident Tuition and Fees, Liberty University, http://www.liberty.edu/financeadmin/financialaid/index.cfm?PID=22516

Liberty University Online General Tuition Rates: 2015-16, Liberty University, http://www.liberty.edu/financeadmin/financialaid/index.cfm?PID=22517

EDGE Dual Enrollment Terms & Policies, Liberty University, www.liberty.edu/onlineacademy/index.cfm?PID=24147

Online High School and Homeschooling Curriculum, Liberty University Online Academy, http://www.liberty.edu/onlineacademy/

Grants, Liberty University, http://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=299

Scholarships, Liberty University, http://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=298

"Programs Ranked by Top Colleges Online," Liberty University, Heather Usewicz, September 12, 2012, http://www.liberty.edu/online/liberty-news/?mid=63923

Undergraduate Degree Programs, Liberty University, http://www.liberty.edu/academics/index.cfm?PID=6908

Graduate Degree Programs, Liberty University, http://www.liberty.edu/academics/index.cfm?PID=27267

Associate of Arts in Criminal Justice (A.A.) - Residential Program, Liberty University, http://www.liberty.edu/academics/helmsschoolofgovernment/index.cfm?PID=27546

Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, Liberty University Online, http://www.liberty.edu/online/bachelors/criminal-justice/

Master of Business Administration - Criminal Justice Administration, Liberty University Online, http://www.liberty.edu/online/masters/business-administration/criminal-justice/

Associate of Arts in Accounting, Liberty University Online, www.liberty.edu/online/associate/accounting/

Accounting (B.S.), Liberty University, http://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?pid=28542

Master of Science in Accounting, Liberty University, http://www.liberty.edu/online/masters/accounting/

Top 10 Online Colleges for Teaching Degrees in 2015, TheBestColleges.org, http://www.thebestcolleges.org/the-top-10-online-colleges-for-teaching-degrees/

Department of Teacher Education, Liberty University, http://www.liberty.edu/academics/education/teacher/index.cfm?PID=70

Associate of Arts in Early Childhood Education, Liberty University Online, http://www.liberty.edu/online/associate/early-childhood-education/

Associate of Arts in Education (Non-licensure), Liberty University Online, http://www.liberty.edu/online/associate/education/

Liberty University, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/datacenter/Facsimile.aspx?unitid=adaeadb0b0b2

Disclaimer: Information on this page was not provided or commissioned by the featured school. Information has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the featured school.


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