I recently was made aware of a change that will enable more students to pursue quality ministerial education in North Carolina. For years, the Charles B. Keesee Scholarship has helped pay tuition for North Carolina students when they pursued their master of divinity degree at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Now that same assistance will be offered to students who are in their junior and senior years at the College of Southeastern.
I teach at Fruitland and have written previously about the wonderful experience students have studying for the ministry at Fruitland Baptist Bible College. Our tuition is now $600 a quarter for 16 hours credit. Added to that are similarly affordable prices for room and board at the college.
Fruitland offers an associate’s degree. Because so many of our students go on to both a bachelor’s and master’s degrees, they often transfer to the College at Southeastern to finish their studies. They usually find at Southeastern an experience as spiritual and rewarding as they had at Fruitland.
The cost of going to the College at Southeastern is about half of what it would cost a student to go to a private Christian college. The reason for that price difference is that churches like yours and mine support Southeastern through our Cooperative Program gifts. Even though it is more affordable than most Christian colleges, because Fruitland is so inexpensive to attend, our students sometimes experience “sticker shock” when they transfer to Southeastern. By adding the Keesee scholarship to the already discounted tuition because of the Cooperative Program, both schools will be within reach to most students without having to take out college loans.
The camaraderie at Fruitland is one of the greatest parts of the Fruitland experience. Although it offers online classes, I do not believe there is anything that equals the experience of developing the friendships and interacting with professors in person. There is more to preparing for ministry than classroom information. The college at Southeastern will give students a continuation of the experience they had at Fruitland as they finish their bachelor’s degrees.
Why don’t you consider the North Carolina path for affordable ministerial education – Fruitland for the first two years, the College at Southeastern for the second two years, followed by a master of divinity program at Southeastern Seminary? Fruitland’s next quarter begins in October.
The deadline for Keesee scholarships for January classes at the College of SEBTS is Oct. 1. Both schools would love to hear from you soon!
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Steve Scoggins is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Hendersonville and president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.)