News Release

BYU-Pathway Changing Lives in Africa and Changing Lives in Kenya

BYU-Pathway Leaders and President’s Leadership Council Visit Kenya to see the Life-changing Effect of BYU-Pathway

In 2009, the program that would become BYU-Pathway Worldwide was born as a result of regular impressions and thoughts of then Brigham Young University-Idaho President Kim B. Clark.  President Clark was compelled by children in many parts of the world living in poverty with no educational pathway out.  For many of these children a college education was impossible.   

President Clark asked two of his staff members—Clark G. Gilbert and J.D. Griffith—to develop a plan to deliver affordable access to a college education to students around the world who would otherwise have no such opportunity.  The result of President Clark’s impressions, and the effort of Brother Gilbert, Brother Griffith, and many others, is BYU-Pathway Worldwide, which today, is changing lives throughout the world, and certainly changing lives in Kenya.

BYU-Pathway Worldwide provides access to spiritually-based degrees from BYU-Idaho and Ensign College completely online at a significantly reduced cost. Founded and supported by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, its mission is to develop disciples of Jesus Christ who are leaders in their homes, the Church, and their communities. It serves nearly 70,000 students from 180 countries annually,

Recently, Brian K. Ashton, president of BYU-Pathway, along with Vice President of Advancement Matt Eyring, Vice President of Administration J.D. Griffith, Vice President of Field Operations Todd Miner, Vice President of Student Success Ben Packer, and members of the President’s Leadership Council traveled to Nairobi, Kenya to see firsthand the great difference BYU-Pathway is making in the lives of a growing number of people.  Their time in Kenya included a meeting with local students at which career preparation and life skills were shared with the students.  The following day they visited a Young Single Adult gathering place at the Riruta Ward Chapel, and then split into 15 small groups to visit BYU-Pathway students in their homes.  From the in-home visits they learned about daily life for the students, including  available technology resources and challenges, and sought feedback on any improvements BYU-Pathway could make to help the students.  On Sunday afternoon, 3 March 2024, the visitors to Africa met with current and aspiring BYU-Pathway students in a devotional at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Upper Hill Chapel.  BYU-Pathway leaders shared important information about their programs followed by remarks from Africa Central Area President Ian S. Ardern. 

Jonathan Johnson, of Holladay, Utah (USA) was one of the visiting President’s Leadership Council members.  Of his experience in Kenya, he said, ”The opportunity to meet and talk with BYU-Pathway Worldwide students in Kenya was a highlight of our trip. Their commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ and to improving their lives through education was evident. It was so impressive to see how, despite significant obstacles, including regular and reliable access to electricity, WiFi, and laptop computers, they are pressing forward with their education—even those that have had to temporarily ‘pause’ because of life’s demands. It was great to meet with students who have completed Pathway Connect and to learn that the skills learned in those courses have resulted in promotions and increased salaries at work.”

At the end of 2023, BYU-Pathway had 65,255 students enrolled throughout the world.  BYU-Pathway has the largest enrollment of any college or university in the Church Educational System.  18,237 BYU-Pathway Students live in Africa, 2,524 live in the Africa Central Area, and 655 live in Kenya.  All of those numbers are growing.  BYU-Pathway has the capacity to grow much, much larger as it is not constrained by physical facility limitations because its courses are taught completely online.  It uses adjunct (not full time) professors to teach courses from course curriculum provided by its partners in the Church Educational System, BYU-Idaho and Ensign College.  BYU-Pathway has a large pool of potential adjunct professors who it can enlist as student enrollment grows.  Most adjunct professors have at least a master’s degree. 

BYU-Pathway provides great value in higher education as student tuition is a fraction of any other institution of higher education, particularly those with physical campuses. The BYU-Pathway low tuition rates, teaching model, the financial support of the Church, and the contributions of generous donors is opening the door to a college degree for many thousands of people in Africa.

Students on campus at BYU Provo or Idaho  pay on average $600 per class and the total tuition for a four-year bachelor’s degree is typically $25,000.  BYU-Pathway tuition is a fraction of those costs.  Tuition is localized around the world based on what a student could afford to pay for college while paying other living expenses.  The cost per class in Kenya after application of a scholarship is only $9.75 per class.  The total tuition cost born by a student who earns a bachelor’s degree in Kenya is just $287, or slightly more than 1% of the cost of an on-campus degree. 

As with other Church colleges and universities, graduation requires participation in religion classes as part of the overall course curriculum.  Currently, 91% of BYU-Pathway students are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  BYU-Pathway tuition is only 25% more for a student who is not a member of the Church, than a member pays.  Enrollment for aspiring BYU-Pathway students who are not members of the Church requires them to have  a close friend or family member who is a church member. Most importantly, 85% of graduates of BYU-Pathway who receive a bachelor’s degree from BYU-Idaho or Ensign College become employed or obtain improved employment upon graduation.  That is life changing in a most significant way.

In the Sunday devotional, Elder Ian Ardern, who was himself an educator, spoke of the importance of education toward becoming self-reliant.  He shared with the audience ten lessons to becoming self-reliant.  Among those ten lessons are:

               1 – We are under spiritual commandment to educate ourselves.

               2 – We must fill the mind as well as the Spirit.

               3 – Success in education is as much about effort and perseverance as it is about intellect.

               4 – Have a vision and plan and go to work.

               5 – You must earn what you learn. 

Elder Ardern closed by affirming that the Holy Ghost is the master teacher of all things including mathematics and that serious students who are disciples of Jesus Christ should exert themselves to learn, and call for the Lord’s help through the Holy Ghost to assist and confirm what is learned.

The visitors to Kenya and BYU-Pathway Worldwide brought hope to many. Hope of getting an education. Hope of becoming self-reliant as a result of that education.  And the visitors took away the experience of seeing firsthand lives that are changed through the Church Educational System and particularly through BYU-Pathway.

The catalyzing impressions of President Kim B. Clark, which led to the creation of BYU-Pathway Worldwide, led to the fulfillment of promises made years ago by Ricks College President Henry  B. Eyring, now President Henry B. Eyring of the First Presidency, and by Ricks College President David A. Bednar, now Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles.  50 years ago, at his inauguration as President of Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho), Henry B. Eyring stated that Ricks College would “find direct ways to move the blessing of education…from this campus out into the lives of men and women everywhere.”  27  years later, in 1998, David A. Bednar, in his inaugural address as President of the same institution said, "It will be necessary for us ... to serve ever better the thousands of students we have on campus while simultaneously reaching out to bless the lives of tens of thousands of young Latter-day Saints throughout the world."  Those prescient comments, and the vision of President Clark are being fulfilled throughout the world.

Those wishing to learn more about BYU-Pathway Worldwide can do so at

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