By YQ Media
Earning a college degree can be very challenging for a frum person. Campus environments are often not conducive to a Torah lifestyle and credits from yeshiva or seminary don’t always transfer to secular academic institutions.
This month Lubavitchers will have the opportunity to learn how to obtain a college degree from a fully accredited institution in a kosher atmosphere that meets their standards of modesty and hashkafa. On June 12th at 8 PM, the renowned Yeshiva Initiatives Education Programs (YIEP), will be hosting an open house higher education event in Crown Heights at 556 Crown Street, location of Machon Chana Women’s Institute.
The YIEP, in partnership with Bellevue University of Omaha, Nebraska, helps observant Jewish students obtain undergraduate and graduate degrees online. Open to both men and women (with a mechitza), the event will help prospective students and their families learn more about this excellent academic program and provide information about government grants and loans that can make college education more affordable.
Through YIEP, Jewish students can earn a bachelor’s degree from Bellevue University, a fully accredited institution. Serving more than 11,000 students annually at 12 locations in five states across the country—and everywhere online—Bellevue University is the largest private university in its home state. Its stellar distance-learning program has received coveted awards for its commitment to innovation, leadership, and diversity.
Flexible and easy to mold around a busy schedule, YIEP online classes can be attended by students who simultaneously work full time, manage a household, or learn in yeshiva or kollel. In today’s competitive workforce, a bachelor’s degree is almost essential to getting a job that will support a family. YIEP affords observant Jews the opportunity to obtain a college education in an environment conducive to their needs. Additionally, course materials are reviewed to meet the standards of proper Torah hashkafa. All students in the classes are observant and the program revolves around the Jewish calendar, giving students time off for the chagim.
Perhaps the most attractive element of the program is that YIEP students have the ability to transfer up to 70 credits from their yeshiva or seminary education towards the 127 credits necessary to earn an undergraduate degree. Those who already earned a bachelors degree from an accredited yeshiva can immediately begin a graduate degree program.
YIEP director Rabbi Pesach Lerner has emphasized that prospective students and their parents attending the open house need not make any immediate commitment to participate in the program. This informative event will simply enable them to ask questions, meet the staff, and learn more about the YIEP college degree program.
Karen Leeds, a student in YIEP from Pittsburgh who is currently completing her undergraduate degree in behavioral science, explained that getting a college degree was “something I wanted to do for many years, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study. Rabbi Pesach Lerner helped direct me and he encouraged me to go into behavioral science. I really enjoyed [my studies] and learned a lot. The classes were challenging, but they were fun at the same time. It was a really great experience and I would like to continue my education by getting a masters degree as well. It was a very big plus that I could transfer my credits from Beis Rivka and Machon Chana toward my degree. That was a huge push for me to do the program.” Leeds, who will be graduating this spring, added that she is considering Bellevue University for her graduate studies as well.
“I was able to earn a degree while I was learning in yeshiva,” said Brooklyn resident, Avremie Mostofsky, a proud YIEP alum who transferred 70 yeshiva credits to the university and graduated with a bachelor’s of science in business. “The weekly assignments could be completed on my own daily schedule, which means I could complete all of my weekly assignments at my convenience.”
YIEP offers both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a variety of different fields including business, behavioral science, and human services at the undergraduate level; and business administration, clinical counseling, and educational leadership at the graduate level. Prospective students must supply an official high school transcript or high school equivalency exam such as a GED. Those transferring from institutions such as a yeshiva or seminary must submit an official transcript from each accredited institution the student previously attended. Additionally, all prospective YIEP participants are tested for basic knowledge of Judaism in areas such as Chumash, kashrus, Shabbos, and holidays.
To date, over 150 students have earned masters’ degrees from Bellevue University through YIEP and over 200 undergraduates have earned their degrees since the undergraduate program was launched in 2010. YIEP participants have been accepted into prestigious graduate degree programs at institutions of higher learning such as Harvard, Yale, NYU, and Stern College, while many others head straight to the workforce, armed with a Bellevue undergraduate or graduate degree that gives them a competitive edge.
“YIEP has been helping students succeed for almost a decade,” said Lerner. “As important as it may be today to have a college education for parnasa and success, it’s equally important to make sure education is achieved in a kosher environment with proper courses that help one achieve his or her professional goals.”