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New program takes the "distance" out of distance learning

Attending college is a dream for a lot of prospective students. But for many, it is far from reality. That’s why BYU-Idaho has developed Pathway, an educational program aimed at helping even more students realize their dreams.

“Historically, we’ve brought students from around the world to BYU-Idaho,” said Rob Eaton, associate academic vice president for Academic Development. “Pathway, on the other hand, brings BYU-Idaho to the students — wherever they live. For those who can’t come here or aren’t ready to come, it can be a blessing.”

Intended to be both affordable and accessible, Pathway offers BYU-Idaho courses online at a relatively low cost. The program began in Fall 2009 as a pilot in three U.S. cities with about 50 students in total. It is now officially approved and currently offered in 22 U.S. cities and two international locations, with an average of 15-20 students per location.

All classes are conducted online, but Pathway students also gather in small groups at least weekly at their local Institute of Religion building to work on course assignments and collaborate on educational activities. Volunteer missionary couples in each location donate their time to help these students and provide additional support.

“This is not self-paced online education that students do in isolation,” said J.D. Griffith, Pathway & Online Programs managing director. “One of the biggest benefits of Pathway is that these students get to work very closely with one another. They develop a sense of comaraderie, helping each other to overcome their fears and to succeed. They get a true BYU-Idaho experience, even though they are not on campus.”

With Pathway, students are eased into the challenges of higher education with a light load during their first year. The curriculum is designed to help students shore up basic skills that will prepare them to succeed in college and in life. If students maintain a B average during this first preparatory year, they can then be officially admitted to BYU-Idaho and continue to earn certificates, associate, and even bachelor’s degrees. Students can also transfer to other colleges at any time.

For additional information, please visit www.byui.edu/pathway.

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