Southeastern Bible College suspends operations

There are 18 Comments

Jim's picture 

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (June 1, 2017) – Southeastern Bible College (SEBC), a higher-education community that connects students who have a passion and call to ministry with an academically rigorous, biblically based learning environment, today announced that its Board of Trustees has voted to suspend operations, effective immediately. Upon the recent completion of an evaluation of SEBC’s financial resources, projected cash flows, strategic challenges and possible solutions to generate the funds needed to support operations, it was concluded that SEBC will not have sufficient resources to meet its obligations.

“The Board of Trustees reached the somber conclusion that the best course of action for our students, faculty and staff is to implement a significant operations reduction, using the resources remaining to support the transition for our community, while keeping hope alive for a future Southeastern Bible College,” said Alexander Granados, Th.M., Ph.D., president of SEBC. “At this time, we cannot provide a definitive timeframe for a potential reopening of the College, but we actively are working through the details that will determine how long the transition period will last.”

SEBC is in the process of submitting a teach-out plan to the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) Commission on Accreditation. SEBC will formalize an agreement with an academic institution that will help its students progress toward the completion of their degrees. In the interim, SEBC’s Board of Trustees is establishing a transition team that will determine the scope and duration of the transition period, and under what circumstances the transition period will end.

“The primary focus and desire of the Board of Trustees is to take care of the immediate needs of our students, faculty and staff,” said Dr. Michael W. Wesley, Sr., Chairman of the College’s Board of Trustees. “This summer, we will begin the process of looking toward the future of Southeastern Bible College, and are committed to maintaining a college that is bible- and Christ-centered and connected to our mission and the needs of the church and community; however, we must create a college that is financially sustainable and relevant for generations to come.”

Since April 2016, the Board of Trustees has been working on 2020 SABER Vision, a five-year strategic plan to achieve a balanced budget and transform SEBC. Unfortunately, many of the opportunities to generate funds and transform SEBC did not materialize.

Bert Perry's picture

I looked at the degree programs, and if one did not want to go into vocational ministry or teach elementary ed, there wasn't much there.  So it was really a traditional Bible college, but as Jim notes, without a dedicated constituency to hire its graduates.   Not a good position even if you've got a good endowment.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joeb's picture

Sad when such a school as this folds its tent.  Seems to be both small Christian and non Christian Colleges are going extinct.   The market either favors a bargain basement non accredited Bible College or an upscale fully accredited  Christian College.  

There is a few niche Christian Bible Colleges that are staying afloat but seem to have crafted some good unique programs with their Bible majors   I believe Bert has mentioned for mating the Bible with some kind of trade   Hopefully other schools in similar circumstances will be able to survive   



Joeb's picture

Jim not only are the schools you mentioned successful they have some alumni with deep pockets.  Gordon College just recently got a 25 mil gift from an alumni.  

Bert Perry's picture

It's worth noting here that while big donors are very helpful, they won't rescue a college that doesn't find a viable market to serve.  Northland had the Patz family and others, and Pillsbury had, of course, George Pillsbury.  Millions of dollars of endowments are no defense against mismanagement.  I'm sure that if I did a little more poking around, I'd find a lot more.   

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joeb's picture

Bert you are correct.  Mismanagement can spell death for some of these Bible Colleges and Regular Colleges.  

The market has changed.  Less kids entering plus parents and applicants are vary wary about the bang for their buck.  

A good example of a cheap Bible College unaccredited is Oklahoma Bible College. It appeared that all in for everything was about 12 gs a year.  Versus say a fully accredited school like Clark's Summit University which all in is about 26 gs a year.  Gordon where my two of my kids went is about 35 gs pushing toward 40gs a year.  I have to believe Liberty is around 30gs and Cedarville is got to be be in the low to mid 30 gs a year.  Now compare that to my school of Drexel which is on the higher end it's pushing 60 gs a year.  

I just got information from my alumni news and Drexel claimed next years Freshman class is going to be 43% bigger.  I can't see how.  Only the hard science majors and Engineers and a small amount of top of the class Accounting and Finance majors can defer the high tuition from high paying coop jobs.  

I cant understand such an expensive school growing like that.  I'm a little skeptical about the truth of the information.  Unless someone is a hard science major or engineering major it's not worth the money period ie I would not recommend anyone going there or Gordon or even Cedarville or Liberty to me are to much. 

In my mind if someone wants to be purely a Pastor or missionary go to Oklahoma Bible College or Applacian Bible College.  Otherwise go to the local Community College then go to Cedarville. Liberty or Gordon.  In my mind the market is only going to get worse for these Colleges.

Believe me I know my mortgage is not paid off until I'm 86.  My wife said if our kids went to public school then they get to go to the Christian College of their choice.  Even at that none of my kids chose majors I suggested like ones directly linked to jobs on the outside.  

So all you guys and gals out there my recommendation is ask Bert and Jim advice  on which majors or combinations there of might work best for your children considering college and the career path they think the Lord is leading them to.  Jim sent his kids through and Bert is just starting.  From past threads they both seem to have a lot of wisdom to share.  

pvawter's picture

It's worth noting that Maranatha Baptist University does not have a large endowment or deep pocket alums. It does, however, have legit accreditation for 20 years, a diverse course offering, and the vision to pursue distance ed before most. I figured I'd chime in on Tyler's behalf and say it's the best school out there! Smile

TylerR's picture


It ruleth . . .

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Larry Nelson's picture

pvawter wrote:

Maranatha Baptist University...does, however, have legit accreditation for 20 years,


......BJU will find out this month the decision on their application for regional accreditation:

"The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) granted BJU regional accreditation candidacy status June 16, 2016. BJU completed the last major step in the multi-year process of pursuing regional accreditation by hosting a peer review by the accreditation committee last November. The committee conducted interviews with over 60 faculty, staff, administrators, students and Board members to verify that BJU meets SACSCOC standards such as quality instruction, support services to help students succeed and processes to ensure continual improvement.

As the final step, BJU will appear before the SACSCOC accreditation board in June [2017] and will learn at that time whether we will be granted regional accreditation.

Regional accreditation will benefit students in several ways. It will make it easier for them to transfer credits and be accepted at more graduate schools. It will show prospective employers that a BJU education meets highly acceptable standards. It could help students enter a profession where a regionally accredited degree and/or licensure is required, and it will continue to provide BJU students access to federal and some state financial aid if they meet the requirements." 

Joeb's picture

As I have said before my brother whose a Pastor and my brotherinlaw whose a college administrator both said BJU's academics are bar none.  The graduates I have met from BJU are highly intelligent people.

The problem with BJU and MBU is the price.  I'm guessing they are ina 30 gs a year for everything.  That puts them right in with Cedarville and Liberty.  This is where the competition comes in.  If BJU and MBU feeder churches shrink due to various reasons then they have to compete in general market of churches where everyone else is trying to draw students.  

To me academics and $ are what's going to count.  In the above I said Oklahoma Bible College I meant Heartland Bible College. Your purely Bible majors who want to do missions or  become a Pastor are going to gravitate to schools like Heartland which is 12gs a year.  I read an article that said the number BJU Bible Majors has dropped significantly.  

My niece and her husband a Music Minister at an IFB church in Illinois.  One of their students from their Christian School is going to Heartland.  At 12 gs a year how can you beat that.  

So what the future holds for these schools who knows.  One thing that may play into it is the collapsing economies in the predominantly  white rural areas may cut the flow of students from those areas IFB churches.  No more guys and gals off the farm.  Throw in the subsidies being cut back for Ethanol there goes economic heartbeat of Iowa Nebraska and Kansas.  

Additionally BJU has damaged their image by being in the Funny Papers.  This has nothing to do with the rules and more to do with Adminstrators being just as plain foolish.  Hopefully the new President will go along way to resolve that, but in this shrinking tight market their loss will be the others gain  

BJU is not the only one in my mind who made bad moves Liberty hiring  Baylor's Athletic Director was a big mistake to.  

Schools like MBU and Cedarville don't have to contend with these image problems. They have not been in the Funny Papers.  So they will gain from the other's mistakes.  

Greg Long's picture

Joeb wrote:
I have to believe Liberty is around 30gs and Cedarville is got to be be in the low to mid 30 gs a year.  Now compare that to my school of Drexel which is on the higher end it's pushing 60 gs a year.

Liberty is around $33k depending on which dorm you choose (I have a good sense of this one since our son is going there in the fall!), and Cedarville is $36k.

Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Joeb's picture

Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I believe Pastors get a 1/2 tuition discount.  My niece went to Cedarville.  

Wow at almost 140 Gs for an education less any discounts how can anyone afford that unless you have a dual income family. Yikes!!   I don't know how I did it for three.  

I did get a little inheritance when my stepmother died and 15 gs from a back pay lawsuit which I filed my paperwork late for.  Bert if you knew what I passed up you would hit me in the head with a baseball bat. Here I'll even say it for you "YOU  IDIOT".  Other then the above I paid as you go  

Anyway with those kind of numbers and a shrinking universe of students I think we're going to see more Bible Colleges and Christian Colleges fold.  When your talking 120 plus gs for a four year education parents are going to look for the biggest bang for your buck.  

Now don't get me wrong if the Lord is leading someone to a particular college the funds will be provided  So we can't limit our Lord  At the same time I believe  the  Lord wants us to be practical  

Now the community college route does offer a way to almost cut that cost in half.  I am in a Bible Study over in Trenton NJ.  One of the participants is the Inter Varsity Christian Leader/Missionary at the Local community college.  So if your child stuck close to your local church and participated in Inter Varsity one could somewhat make up for what they would be missing at a Christian College.  

PS. Greg how's Iowa these days. I have very fond memories of growing up in Cedar Rapids.  In the Summer we used to spend our weekends on the boat at Coralville Reservoir.  My father would take the boat to church which was Calvary Baptist Church in Cedar Rapids. After church into the bathing suits off to the Lake for Lunch and Watersking.  Afterwards change back into business casual and back to church for the Evening Service catching a quick dinner on the way there.  Wow did the Lord bless me in those days (Early 1960s).  

Bert Perry's picture

Joe, it turns out that most people who get large "windfall" inheritances actually do worse than those who don't, according to The MIllionaire Next Door, by Stanley & Danko.  So you didn't do too bad.  Limited means can work for character.   And my take on all these schools is that one simply count the cost.  If you've got the money for four years in Bible college, and it's going to get you where you want to go in life, go for it.  Limited means?  GI bill or state school, work your way through if you can. 

High end schools like the Ivy League?  Really more about your connections than the education, kinda like fraternities.  

And for those running schools?  They've got to learn to think like prospective students, and the sad case here is that "very limited opportunities in exchange for four years of tuition without learning transferable skills" is an offer of rather limited appeal.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

pvawter's picture

MBU also has a Bible and Church Ministries scholarship to help students training for vocational ministry to the tune of $5k annually. As I recall, Dr. Marriott said he set this up so that Maranatha would be able to offer an affordable accredited education to would be pastors who will likely never earn a 6 figure salary.

TylerR's picture


Just attend virtually, and save $$ Or, get an AA from a community college, transfer in, and save $40 in tuition. Or, do four years and take virtual/online classes for free while in the service, with tuition assistance. The Navy used to cover up to 12 credits per year, free. Or, after you get out of the military, go to school and let the GI Bill pay for everything.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?