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Liberty University hits 100,000 enrolled, ranks among nation's top 5 online educators

June 4, 2013 : Liberty University News Service

Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. announces Liberty University surpassed 100,000 in total enrollment at Liberty's 40th Commencement on May 11.

Liberty University has surpassed 100,000 in total enrollment, another milestone for the 42-year-old university as it continues to extend its influence as the seventh largest university in the nation and the world’s largest Christian university. Liberty remains the largest private, nonprofit four-year college in the country and the largest college in Virginia.

Chancellor and President Jerry Falwell, Jr. predicted at last year’s Commencement that Liberty would enroll 100,000 students within one year. He announced at Liberty’s 40th Commencement on May 11 that the goal was reached on May 7.

Recent enrollment data also shows Liberty University Online has risen to No. 5 among the nation’s largest online educators, moving up two slots from a year ago. Liberty Online, the only private, nonprofit institution on the list, also marked the second-highest growth rate over the past year (23 percent). With 90,000 online students, Liberty remains the nation’s largest private, nonprofit online educator.

Liberty celebrated its largest graduating class to date this year, with more than 15,000 graduates, 80 percent of whom studied with Liberty University Online. As a pioneer in distance education, Liberty Online gives those who would otherwise be unable to do so the chance to earn a college degree. With 166 unique programs of study, Liberty Online is innovative and distinctly Christian.

Liberty has been recognized by several media outlets for its unprecedented growth and unwavering commitment to its Christian identity. The Washington Post heralded it as “an evangelical mega-university with global reach” and the reporter admired the university’s “turbocharged” growth, primarily through strides in its online program. Bloomberg News also touted this, describing Liberty as a leader in online education that is “also helping chart a course for other schools to expand online.”

“As part of Liberty’s Christian mission, we have always sought to make Christian education as affordable and as accessible for as many individuals as possible,” Falwell said. “Liberty University Online is achieving this objective every day, making the dreams of tens of thousands of men and women come true.”

Liberty’s net worth (exceeding $1 billion) now equals that of much older schools like Pepperdine, Georgetown, and Tulane, according to the Washington Post. Falwell said Liberty’s goal is to achieve what very few universities in history have — “to become the first school in the country to achieve academic and athletic prominence, but also to stay true to our Christian roots for generations to come.” Many universities in the New World strayed from their theological foundations in order to attract donations needed for survival, he said, but “Liberty’s financial strength will help avoid a similar fate.”

As the university continues to grow online, so does its residential campus. Liberty is currently undergoing a $400 million campus rebuilding, which includes new high-rise residence halls, upgrades and additions to its athletic and academic facilities, and the state-of-the-art Jerry Falwell Library. Read more about these projects at www.Liberty.edu/MasterPlan.