Educational Institutions

Biblical Life Institute

  • Freeport, PA
  • www.bli4u.org

Mission Statement

Biblical Life Institute is a school of biblical higher education that prepares students for faithful Christian thought and life in order to transform lives and build the kingdom of God.

Main Programs

  1. Diploma in Bible
  2. Short-term Programs
  3. Online Degree in Bible: Leadership and Ministry
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

The primary area in which the school draws its students is a 50-mile radius from Freeport, PA, located 30 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. Graduates have served around the world.

ruling year

1965

President since 2013

Self-reported

Dr. Gary C. Bailey

Keywords

Self-reported

biblical higher education

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EIN

25-6068388

 Number

0547587919

Contact

Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Higher Education Institutions (B40)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Overview

Self-reported by organization

Graduates of the school over the last decade are serving as pastors, missionaries, and church workers throughout the United States. Recent students and upcoming graduates have served, or are about to serve, in Haiti, a nursing home, a local Christian high school, BLI, and local churches. Recently, the school offered a conference on apologetics and hosted an exhibit from the Museum of the Bible, bringing academic and cultural influence into the region.

Programs

Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Program 1

Diploma in Bible

The Diploma in Bible is a 4-year undergraduate program in biblical studies with a concentration on pastoral ministry, missions, student ministries, or apologetics.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Young Adults (20-25 years)

Adults

Budget

Program 2

Short-term Programs

The school offers a 2-year program, 1-year program, and several short-term academic certificates.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Young Adults (20-25 years)

Adults

Budget

Program 3

Online Degree in Bible: Leadership and Ministry

This new online degree program is geared towards adult students interested in ministry. The program is provided in partnership with Kansas Christian College.

Category

Education

Population(s) Served

Adults

Young Adults (20-25 years)

Budget

Charting Impact

Self-reported by organization

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    Our general aim is to provide an education that is biblical, transformational, experiential, and missional. We want to develop thinking, faithful Christians who are able to effectively perform various Christian ministries or who live as strong witnesses for Jesus Christ while pursuing a secular vocation.

    Specifically, our educational goals are to produce graduates who: have a comprehensive knowledge of the Bible, are able to properly understand and apply the Bible, can contextualize the Gospel, understand and appreciate Christian history and tradition, understand and appreciate a variety of Christian approaches to faith and practice, but especially that of the Wesleyan/Arminian tradition, know what they believe and why, have developed a more vital faith and spirituality, are able to speak and write effectively as Christian leader, are able to reason critically, understand the basic principles of healthy physical living, and have the skills and knowledge to pursue a career in Christian ministry or further academic work.

    We believe that producing these kinds of graduates will profoundly impact churches and communities, transforming them as well.

    Our specific short-term institutional strategic goals are accreditation, authorization as a "college" in PA, enrollment growth, financial stability, and campus development.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    Our general strategy is to provide a transformative educational expereince that combines serious academic study of the Bible and related subjects with a community atmosphere that develops strong Christian character.

    Our strategies for reaching our short-term strategic goals include continuing to work through and implement elements leading to accreditation with the Association for Biblical Higher Education; growing enrollment through developing a strong financial aid program, marketing, and a new online adult education initiative; developing our donor base, grant-writing, and major gift donors; developing a balanced budget; and incrementally improving campus buildings and grounds.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    Although the school has a 77 year history, the revitalization of the school beginning in 2013 has amounted to practically a re-start of the institution. Every area of the school's life is undergoing change and development. This is happening in the midst of an increasingly competitive industry that itself is going through monumental changes. The challenges are great.

    We believe we have developed a strong curriculum, student life plan, faculty, and leadership. The basic infrastructure pieces are in place, although we recognize the need for continual development. Financially, the school has drawn down all reserves in its pursuit of its vision and continues to operate with an unbalanced budget until its enrollment numbers increase enough to sustain operations through tuition and fees. the talent and programmatic capabilities are in place.

    Time is key for the institution's succes. Time is needed because the accreditation process requires years to complete (about 5-7 more years for us). Time is needed to increase enrollment to the levels that not only sustain current operations but make it possible to hire the number of faculty needed to obtain "college" status in PA. Both of these items are critical in order to be competitive and meet the educational needs of students.

    Finances are also key for the institution's success. Because so much time is needed to reach accreditation and grow enrollment, other sources of income must come into play to sustain operations and advance the institution while those areas develop. Donor development and unrelated business income are vital. Development of royalties from natural resources has also begun, and this will provide a portion of needed funding in the near future.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    The school has developed a comprehensive assessment plan to monitor progress in all areas of its operations.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    The school has a long history of graduating students into areas of ministry. Nonetheless, the school has struggled for decades in the area of enrollment.

    In the fall of 2012, before revitalization began, the school enrolled no full-time students and only one part-time student. By the fall of 2014, the school enrolled the equivalent of 14 full-time students, most of which were residential students. Enrollment has tapered off some since then, but the pool of prospective students has grown each year.

    The school is about half way through the 8-10 year accreditation process.

    In 2017 the school made a partnership with another Christian college to offer online degrees. Degrees in Religion will begin the spring of 2017 and degrees in business are scheduled to begin the fall of 2017.

    A substantial amount of campus improvements and infrastructure work has been accomplished.

    Enrollment growth has not yet reached the levels needed to balance the budget or support the number of faculty needed for PA authorization.
Service Areas

Self-reported

National

The primary area in which the school draws its students is a 50-mile radius from Freeport, PA, located 30 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh. Graduates have served around the world.

Funding Needs

Student Financial Aid: Our dream is to one day provide an education in which the cost of tuition for our regular students is completely covered through scholarships and endowment funding (Room & Board would still be covered by students). For 100 students, this would mean an endowment of approximately $12 million. Until those endowments are funded, our most pressing financial need is finding the funds to assist students in paying for school. This is particularly difficult during our current stage of institutional development, for federal, state, and most alternative forms of student financial aid are not available to students in un-accredited schools. (Although federal aid is now available for our online program.) Many of our students come with little or no financial preparation or capability for covering the costs of education. This is further complicated by the fact that many will enter ministry positions that typically are low-paying. Large student loan debt is often crippling for ministers in such a situation. The need is great. We continue to utilize current donor gifts for scholarships, work-study, and general cost reduction. We also want to provide longer-term payment plans to students that would allow them to continue low payments even after their educational program is completed (that is, like an institutional loan). Complete endowment and scholarship funded tuition is the goal. Until then, we are working to develop ways to keep tuition and fees low while providing financial help to students who need it. Overall cost per year for one residential student is currently $14,000. Campus Development: Current facilities need an overhaul costing about $500,000. The construction of new student residence halls will be needed in about 5 years depending on enrollment growth. 2017 summer projects are estimated at $70-100,000. Marketing: Annual marketing costs are currently budgeted at $50,000. Financing this budget need is itself a challenge, but additional marketing would be helpful in order to raise awareness of the school and its programs.

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Financials

Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

Biblical Life Institute
Fiscal year: Jan 01-Jun 30

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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Biblical Life Institute

Leadership

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  • Board Chair and Board Members
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President

Dr. Gary C. Bailey

BIO

Dr. Bailey served churches in eastern PA; Freedom, PA; and Beaver Falls, PA for over 20 years before becoming president of Biblical Life Institute. He was hired in 2012 as the school's recruiter in preparation for the presidency at the retirement of the current president. His mandate was to revitalize the school.

Dr. Bailey holds a PhD in biblical studies from Amridge University, a MAR from Evangelical Seminary, and a BA in Bible from Messiah College. He is an elder in the United Methodist Church.

STATEMENT FROM THE President

"Biblical Life Institute is a small Bible school that prepares men and women for a lifetime of service in the Kingdom of God. Our goal is to help students clearly define what they believe, live what they believe, and give them the tools needed to minister to others. Attending BLI, students will not only learn the Bible and related studies, they will learn how to lead a disciplined Christian life whatever their future life plans.

Though our student body is small, we offer a complete Bible education geared for the serious, academic student. Most of our faculty have doctoral degrees and serve as pastors of local churches, bringing to the classroom both a rich scholarship and an understanding of the needs of churches.

Our school is not for everyone; but for those who want to learn the Bible, live faithfully, and minister God's love and redemption to the world, there is no better place to be.

The school has a rich history going back to its founding in 1938. Early leaders a students sacrificed to create a school focused on training students for ministry and missions.

In the past five years, BLI has been in the process of revitaling the school with changes to its leadership, curriculum, campus, vision, and strategies. The vision of the school is to be an accredited Bible college with a vibrant student body. We seek to transform our students who will in turn transform our churches and communities for Christ. We also seek to directly impact our surrounding community through education, culture, and community service.

Our strategic plan focuses on five key areas of development: accreditation, authorization as a "college" in PA, campus development, financial stability, and enrollment growth. In 2014 the school received Applicant Status with its accrediting agency, the Association for Biblical Higher Education. In 2017 the school will host an agency team that will determine our move to Candidate Status for accreditation."

Governance

BOARD CHAIR

Jeff Schroder

BOARD LEADERSHIP PRACTICES

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization

Yes

BOARD ORIENTATION & EDUCATION

Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?

No

CEO OVERSIGHT

Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?

Yes

ETHICS & TRANSPARENCY

Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?

Yes

BOARD COMPOSITION

Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?

No

BOARD PERFORMANCE

Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?