Southern Christian University (SCU) is an independent, coeducational institution dedicated to the spirit of its ideals and heritage. Southern Christian University's mission is to prepare men and women, through a commitment to academic excellence and spiritual vitality at the undergraduate and graduate levels, for a lifetime of learning, leadership, and service to the professions, society, and family. The University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
SCU has video and audio recording systems linked to cameras and microphones in every classroom. Through these systems, distance education courses are offered in synchronous (at the time the course is being held) and asynchronous (after the course is presented for review or to see a missed class) configurations where video and audio are sent over the Internet to students. Also, students and faculty communicate via e-mail, discussion boards and chatrooms established within the University's distance education courseware and by telephone through toll free numbers.
SCU offers all of its degree programs to distance education and onsite students. These include:
- Bachelor of Science degrees in Management Communication, Human Development, Liberal Studies, Human Resource Leadership, Public Safety and Human Justice, and Bible/Ministry;
- Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies;
- Master of Arts degrees in Biblical Studies: Practical Theology, Marriage and Family Therapy, Organizational and Behavioral Leadership, Professional Counseling;
- Master of Divinity in Ministry, Marriage and Family Therapy, Professional Counseling, Pastoral Counseling, Ministerial Leadership;
- Master of Science degrees in Organizational Leadership, Pastoral Counseling, and Ministerial Leadership;
- Doctor of Ministry in Ministry and Family Therapy; and
- Doctor of Family Therapy
The University is on the semester system with the fall semester generally starting in late August or early September, the spring semester starting in early January, and the summer semester starting in late April or early May.
Through the SCU web site, individuals can review admission requirements, degree and course offerings, login as a guest to observe a class session, and request an admissions package, which includes admissions applications and student financial aid information. Once admitted, students can register via the Internet for all courses. Also, by calling the University's toll free number, students can get assistance with academic and financial aid counseling as well as technical support in accessing and using distance education technologies and systems.
The University was given waivers for both the 50 percent rules in Sections 102(a)(3)(A) and 102(a)(3)(B) of the HEA and the provision that defines a telecommunications student in Section 484(1)(1) of the HEA.
Financial Aid Issues/Alternatives
The primary issue related to SCU's participation in the demonstration program is its ability to handle significant enrollment increases in its distance education programs. Students enrolled in a program under the Distance Education Demonstration Program have, depending on the specific student eligibility, an opportunity to participate in a full range of Federal Title IV Student Financial Assistance programs that includes Pell Grants, SEOG, Subsidized Loans, Unsubsidized Loans, Plus Loans, and Work Study. Approximately 85 percent of SCU students enrolled in the distance education program receive some form of financial aid. SCU has an extremely low default rate on student loans, 2.8 percent.
Additional Goals for Participation
SCU developed goals for annual enrollment growth in its distance education programs and for increasing the number of students who are minorities, and ensuring an appropriate completion rate. For the 2003-04 academic year, SCU has established the following targets:
- Add 75 unduplicated distance learning students per year.
- Completion rate of at least 70 percent.
- Continue to increase enrollment of minority students.
- Implement Quality Enhancement Plan "Enhancing Student Learning Through a Comprehensive Student and Faculty Orientation Program."
Demonstration Program Cohort
Southern Christian University joined the Distance Education Demonstration Program in July 1999 as part of the initial cohort.