Flexible, Faith-Based Education at Heritage Christian

Heritage Christian University appears in our ranking of the 50 Most Affordable Master’s in Theology Degree Programs Online.

Ranked America’s 114th best Bible school by College Factual, Heritage Christian University is a small, nonprofit Churches of Christ CCCU member in North Alabama that offers two undergrad and three master’s degrees face-to-face or fully online at a 5:1 student-teacher ratio. For example, the Associate of Arts in Biblical Studies has a 65-credit, two-year curriculum led by Dr. Edmon Gallagher with concentrated 15-week courses from World Literature to Homiletics for entry-level Church vocational careers. Chaired by Dr. Bill Bagents, the 128-credit Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies encourages undergrads to volunteer with Big Brothers/Big Sisters, find internships like Mitchell-Hollingsworth Center, attend Chapel, join the SGA, and complete missions from Montgomery to Mumbai.

Online via McGraw-Hill’s Tegrity system, the Master of Arts in Christian Scripture follows a 36-credit, ABHE-accredited plan under Dr. Jeremy Barrier with Greek or Hebrew emphases for graduates to further theological expertise in 500-level courses like Old Testament Studies. Since 2000, the Master of Ministry has developed a 36-credit, 18-month online or Florence degree advised by Dr. Rosemary Snodgrass with Ministerial Counseling, Pastoral Care, Biblical Studies, and History of Biblical Interpretation tracks for servant leadership. Headed by Dr. Michael Jackson, the Master of Divinity is Heritage Christian University’s premier 75-credit, practice-based option where future Church ministers complete the Spiritual Formation Program and conduct thesis research in the Ezell Biblical Institute.

About Heritage Christian University

Heritage Christian University originated in 1871 when T.B. and Esther Gresham Larimore opened Mars Hill Academy in Florence to prepare Christian ministers for God’s service. In 1887, the 12-room schoolhouse on the Larimore Family’s estate was closed. Six decades later, it was revived when Dr. William Wallace Alexander started the Mars Hill Bible School for PreK-12 education. In January 1966, its Board of Directors added the T.B. Larimore School of Evangelists for an inaugural class of 70 men. In 1969, the first bachelor’s degree was formed through the Southeastern Institute College of the Bible. In 1971, it was called the International Bible College. In 1974, its 136,000-volume Overton Memorial Library was erected. Accredited since 1988, it adopted the Heritage Christian University name in 2001. A Master of Divinity program was launched in 2011. The “Military Friendly School” now serves about 100 students on its 67-acre Shoals Area campus and online.

Heritage Christian University Accreditation Details

On February 28, 2019, Heritage Christian University was formally notified by the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) Commission on Accreditation (COA) that its Level III accreditation status was reaffirmed through Spring 2029 under its fourth president, Dr. Wilburn “Kirk” Brothers, an active Churches of Christ member. Headquartered 703 miles down Interstate 75 in Orlando, this 50-state, inter-denominational accreditor is authorized by the U.S. Education Department and Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Heritage Christian isn’t regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) like most Yellowhammer State schools. However, HCU is properly licensed by the State of Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education.

Heritage Christian University Application Requirements

Admission to Heritage Christian University is classified “non-competitive” by Peterson’s because 100 percent of the 63 Fall 2017 applicants were selected for open access. First-year AA/BA in Biblical Studies majors still must exhibit college readiness with a secondary diploma or GED equivalent though. Cumulative GPAs of 2.0 or better are expected. Freshmen generally need a minimum 900 SAT or 18 ACT score. Non-traditional students aged 31 or older can skip testing. Undergrad transfers who’ve finished 30+ accredited credits graded “C” or higher are also exempt. International students have an extra step to achieve 80 TOEFL iBT scores, including at least 20 in Reading and Writing. Non-U.S. residents on F-1 visas must be enrolled half-time or more. Validating financial support for no less than $1,450 per month is mandated. Graduate programs require the completion of four-year bachelor’s with GPAs above 2.0. Only the Master of Divinity doesn’t check for satisfactory GRE or MAT scores.

Heritage Christian University has set final undergraduate deadlines of July 21st for Fall, December 1st for Spring, and April 15th for Summer starts. The Office of Enrollment Services only considers master’s cohorts until July 21st or December 1st. For scholarship consideration, please file before June 15th or November 8th. It’s also recommended international students apply in December for Fall or May for Spring entrance. Accordingly, complete the secure HCU Admission Application online with $35 by debit or credit card. Forward official academic records to 3625 Helton Drive in Florence, AL 35630. If taken, submit testing scores via SAT/GRE code 0805, MAT code 2636, TOEFL code 8931, or ACT code 5116. Attach supplemental materials like the three recommendations, background check, 250-word personal statement, résumé, and financial support letter. Inquire further by contacting (800) 367-3565 or hcu@hcu.edu.

Tuition and Financial Aid

For 2019-20, Heritage Christian University is charging full-time AA/BA in Biblical Studies majors $5,076 per term or $10,152 annually. Registration fees are $45 per credit for a $540 maximum. Undergrads cover the $180 technology fee and $500 textbook cost. Living at the Florence campus’ eight apartments adds $1,800 for semester room and board. A one-time dorm maintenance fee of $300 is incurred. Annual undergrad attendance equals about $16,792 on-site and $11,552 if commuting. The Graduate School set full-time tuition at $2,241 each term and $4,482 by year. Master’s registration fees are capped at $315 for $35 per credit. Post-grad budgets include $300 for texts and $2,100 for living expenses every semester.

According to the NCES College Navigator, the Office of Financial Aid connects 92 percent of full-time HCU students to tuition assistance averaging $4,058 apiece for $186,679 combined. Institutional funds include the Legacy Scholarship, Lads to Leaders Scholarship, Tent Maker Scholarship, Preacher Training School Completion Scholarship, SGA Officers Scholarship, Full-Time Youth Minister Scholarship, Spouse of Full-Time Preacher Scholarship, and Christian School Administrator Dependent Scholarship. The High School Honors Scholarship lets valedictorians and salutatorians deduct 50 percent off tuition if GPAs above 3.0 are maintained. The Graduate Online Student Scholarship gifts $500 each semester to master’s majors taking 6+ credits on Tegrity. FAFSA applications coded 015370 will determine Federal Pell Grant, SEOG Grant, Work-Study Program, Direct Subsidized/Unsubsidized Loan, and Grad Plus Loan eligibility. Alabamans can also pursue the Student Assistance Grant for $300 to $2,500 yearly.

Explore the five accredited Biblical Studies degrees with 67 percent retention at the Heritage Christian University website.

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