Are you interested in earning a degree but concerned about secular worldviews, potential cost, or long time commitments? If you are seeking a different kind of education experience, you might be interested in the Verity Institute. Verity is a college-level program that helps you obtain a fully-accredited, debt-free Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree from a biblical perspective. It is also accelerated, meaning that you normally get the degree in two years, at a fraction of the cost of traditional higher education. Campus, distance-learning, commuter programs, and dual enrollment (high school + college) are available. All students on campus help with various duties to keep costs down, which also gives them work experience.
Founded in 2001, Verity Institute was established to disciple college students to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ as they pursue excellence in their studies. Verity seeks to integrate God’s truth (“verity”) into every area of life and learning. Verity uses the CLEP credit-by-examination program, so they have to teach about evolution, but they are six-day creationists and Biblical literalists, and give a Christian spin on everything.
Verity Institute is reminiscent of College Plus since is not an accredited agency or a degree-granting institution, but rather offers programs to help students complete their degree and receive their diplomas through an outside, fully-accredited college. Verity partners with Thomas Edison State College as well as Excelsior College, Charter Oak State College, and Liberty University Online. The main difference between Verity and College Plus is that Verity actually has its own campus, plus they supply texts and study resources that have a Christian focus rather than just suggesting texts.
While Verity does not grant degrees or academic credits, their programs help students with the planning, coordination, and study aspects of getting their degree. Verity provides advisement, accountability, and a structured study environment for mature and highly motivated students who desire to earn credit through independent study, testing, portfolios, and distance-learning courses. Basically, Verity helps students study for and pass various CLEPs, DANTES exams, and Thomas Edison exams, in order to obtain a degree from a regionally accredited distance learning institution. They do this with a variety of strategies – test prep books, instantcert.com, in-person classes, and online classes.
If all a student wants to do is take CLEP tests, then it would be more financially beneficial for them to pursue this on their own without enrolling in Verity. However, students who want more accountability and wish to secure a Bachelor’s degree online through Verity receive the following:
- fully-accredited bachelor’s degrees earned in an innovative 21-month program, which includes 2 academic years (September-May) and a summer term
- academic teaching from a Biblical perspective
- life skills and leadership training from a Biblical perspective
- access to a student forum
- all of the books that are required
- DVDs of the class sessions they teach on campus
- flashcards and PowerPoint notes
- a proposed schedule to follow during your course of study
- practice tests
- advising services
- low tuition
- study guides for each test developed by the Verity curriculum department created to help students know where to focus their attention
On-campus students have access to all of the above mentioned items while also being able to enjoy the “college experience.” Located in the middle of farm country approximately twenty minutes southeast of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana, the 25-acre Verity campus (housed in a historic old hospital building at 11850 Brookville Road) offers a variety of benefits to students:
- conservative Christian atmosphere
- dorm rooms with wireless internet, individual full baths, and walk-in closets
- cafeteria, lounges, and laundry facilities
- live classroom instruction
- student group study sessions
- onsite testing center
- lending library for textbooks, DVDs, and other resources
- music practice rooms
- a guys’ weight room, and a girls’ fitness center
- soccer field, outdoor volleyball, and ping-pong tables
- a wide variety of shopping and restaurants located only five minutes away
- senior missions trip and graduation ceremony
Verity staff members have traveled to various home school conferences. One of them stated, “As you know, we are not a college, do not give credits for work completed, and do not grant degrees. We are simply a group study center helping young people prepare for their futures in an atmosphere of Biblical discipleship.” Some students may not like the stress involved in studying for tests in a compressed time, or the lack of grades (pass/fail only). But Verity helps students avoid the pitfalls of traditional college campuses such as non-Christian professors, secular humanism, and loose campus morals. Verity Institute is a great place for Christians to go to earn an accredited bachelor’s degree without compromising their faith.
Verity Institute is a division of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, a nonprofit corporation founded by Bill Gothard that is dedicated to serving youth and families through God-ordained leaders and ministries around the world. Gothard encourages homeschooling, and IBLP publishes its own Advanced Training Institute homeschool materials. The work of the Institute also includes the Oak Brook College of Law and Government Policy, the Air Land Emergency Resource Team (ALERT), and the Telos Institute, which has been approved by the State of Indiana as a Certified Nurse Aide (nursing assistant) training facility. See http://www.billgothard.com/websites for more information on these other programs.
Want to learn more about Verity? Come to the Fall Open House! This event will allow you to tour the campus, meet the friendly staff and students, experience student life, attend informative presentations, and learn how you can earn a bachelor’s degree quickly. To register for the Open House which will be held on November 2-3, 2012, go to http://verityinstitute.org/experience/openhouse. You can also contact the Admissions Office at 1-866- 9VERITY or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a campus visit at any time. For degree options and costs, see: http://verityinstitute.org/admissions/whatdoesitcost/distance/totals. NOTE: Verity’s agreement with Thomas Edison State College allows Verity students to receive TESC’s in-state tuition rate, resulting in a significant discount; that’s the reason for the reduced pricing on many of the degrees.
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As a former student of Verity Institute, I cannot recommend this organization. Their tuition may be “affordable,” but it comes at the cost of decent housing, heating, air conditioning, food, upkeep, and, worst of all, trained and capable staff members. Many of the staff members, including PAs and ministry leaders, are still working on their degrees and have limited training and experience to be in their positions. Worst of all, when it comes to the advertised spiritual aspects of the Institute, the reality is far from what is advertised and far darker.
As a current Verity student myself, I want to highly, highly, highly recommend this program and urge all Christian homeschooling parents to send their college students here. There are just too many great pluses for Verity Institute to turn it down.
In addition to protecting students from the scandalous immorality and godless atmosphere that has come to characterize most colleges and universities in our nation, this program also helps to disciple and strengthen them in their faith, provides them with an excellent opportunity to meet other godly Christian friends who can encourage them in the Lord (Hebrews 10:24), and also teaches them to defend the faith and see everything from a biblical worldview. Add to that the fact that Verity is so much cheaper and takes so much less time to get a college degree, and I don’t see why any Christian homeschooling parent wouldn’t prefer it over a traditional university as an option for a son/daughter.
So I urge you, if you are a student considering college or a parent with a young person who is in that process, go to http://www.verityinstitute.org and see what they have to offer. You won’t be disappointed!