Berea College HQ

Investing in Lives of Great Promise

BEREA, KY   |  www.berea.edu

Mission

Berea College seeks to uplift students, families, and communities through education and other services provided within the Appalachian region and beyond. On campus in Berea, Kentucky, this mission is accomplished by providing liberal arts education without charging tuition to more than 1,600 talented students with exceptional financial need. In the surrounding region, Berea College initiatives foster positive growth through education of all age groups and by empowering families and communities. Eight Great Commitments guide Berea's work promoting educational opportunity, interracial cooperation, and social justice. The College's mission statement can be viewed in its entirety at www.berea.edu/about/mission/.

Ruling year info

1953

President

Dr. Lyle D. Roelofs

Main address

CPO 2216 101 Chestnut St.

BEREA, KY 40404 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

61-0444650

NTEE code info

Higher Education Institutions (B40)

Undergraduate College (4-year) (B42)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Talent is abundant, but opportunity is not. At Berea College, we believe talented students should not miss out on a high-quality education just because they cannot afford tuition costs. Berea College offers access to a top-tier liberal arts education to students of academic promise and very limited financial means. No Berea student has ever paid a dime for the cost of tuition since 1892. Dating back as far is the Berea tradition of required work: every student works at least ten hours per week. Berea was founded in a slaveholding state in 1855 expressly to educate female and male, Black and white, students. As the South’s first coeducational and interracial higher education institution, it has continued an unwavering commitment to equality and social justice. Today, its policy of enrolling only deserving, low-income students (students eligible for a Pell grant, excluding citizenship status) and waiving their tuition is a refreshing counterpoint to current higher education challenges.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

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

Grow Appalachia at Berea College

Grow Appalachia is a program of Berea College dedicated to alleviating food insecurity. The program partners with well-established non-profit agencies throughout Central Appalachia to help families grow as much of their own food as possible. Grow Appalachia seeks to solve pervasive food insecurity issues by restoring the relationship between the people and the land. When food grows, communities and families grow too. The gardens are worked by nonprofits, farmers market entrepreneurs, the elderly, the Girl Scouts, inmates, the disabled, and others who believe a better food system equals better lives. Some participants garden to save money. Others garden to make money. The program seeks both to educate communities and to learn from communities. It works to preserve the past, build hope for the future, and empower Appalachians to live healthy, productive lives. More program details are available at growappalachia.berea.edu.

Population(s) Served
Families

Berea College commits itself to provide an educational opportunity for students of all races, primarily from Appalachia, who have great promise and limited economic resources.

The average annual cost of going to a private, four-year college in the United States is over $48,000 (Trends in College Pricing 2016, 2016). The average tuition and fees alone—almost $36,000—exceed the total annual income of many economically disadvantaged households, especially in Appalachia (Socioeconomic Overview of Appalachia, 2010).

Since its founding, Berea College has sought to offer access to a top-tier liberal arts education to those who cannot afford it. Our unique financial model means that no student ever pays a dime for the cost of tuition. Interracial and coeducational before the Civil War, Berea College has continued its unwavering commitment to equality and social justice throughout its existence, challenging perceptions of whom can access college education.

The Berea Fund: (Greatest Need) No student ever pays tuition, while receiving a nationally recognized education and other learning opportunities that level the field for low-income students to succeed. Your gift to the Berea Fund supports Berea’s mission in its entirety.

Planned Giving: Much of Berea College’s operating expense is covered by our endowment, which is supported by friends who make a gift through their estates or set up charitable annuities. In 1920, the Berea College Board of Trustees decided that all bequests shall be considered as additions to the permanent endowment funds of the College, unless otherwise designated. In recognition of this 100-year anniversary, Berea College is seeking 100 newly committed bequestors during the yearlong celebration of the decision. Visit our Planned Giving page at https://berea.giftlegacy.com/ to learn more about "100 in 100."

Internships: Give the gift of real-world experience through our internship program. Your gift provides students with the financial support they need to accept internship opportunities without the fear of accumulating debt.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Students

Berea College commits itself to offer a high-quality liberal arts education that engages students as they pursue their personal, academic, and professional goals.

The span of the liberal arts is extensive, including literature, philosophy, and social sciences, in addition to mathematics, physical sciences and everything in between.

The liberal arts allows an avenue by which we can better understand the world we live in by delving into the central concerns of humanity. Study of the liberal arts pushes students to answer not just what something is, but why it is. In doing so, they develop the critical thinking necessary to address the toughest questions.

The Berea Fund: Your gift to the Berea Fund supports our ability to educate students in the great liberal arts tradition, funding everything from poetry to physics.

Science Excellence Fund: This fund allows Berea to maximize the boundless opportunities of our new Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building. Your gift provides support for curriculum and program development as well as resources for students and faculty, stimulating intellect and curiosity at the highest levels.

Special Initiatives
Visit https://give.berea.edu/donate, choose Other in the drop-down menu, and type out the initiative of your choice from the options below.

Computer Science Alumni Advisory Fund: Your gift will allow students and faculty to participate in supplemental research opportunities, travel to conferences or interviews, and gain access to special software and hardware.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Students

Berea College commits itself to stimulate understanding of the Christian faith and its many expressions and to emphasize the Christian ethic and the motive of service to others.

Berea College welcomes people from all religious and non-religious backgrounds, because of our Christian commitment, not in spite of it.

The education we provide is not engineered to indoctrinate students into a particular viewpoint on Christianity. The education we provide is just one of many expressions of impartial love, made available to people of any faith or no faith at all.

Two scriptural passages have served as the chief expressions of the Cause of Christ, from which all our commitments stem:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind….and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-40)

“God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth” (Acts 17:26).

The mission, simply, was to love and serve impartially by providing an education to those who needed it most, regardless of race or gender.

Explore the Cause of Christ as Berea's founder understood it: https://www.berea.edu/the-great-commitments/#faith

Ways to Give

The Berea Fund: Gifts to the Berea Fund support the College’s work in carrying out Rev. John G. Fee’s “gospel of impartial love.” These efforts are led by the Willis D. Weatherford Campus Christian Center (CCC), which provides lectures and other learning opportunities for spiritual growth for all students.

Planned Giving: Much of Berea College’s operating expense is covered by our endowment, which is supported by friends who make a gift through their estates or set up charitable annuities. Visit our Planned Giving page at https://berea.giftlegacy.com/ to learn more.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Students

Berea College commits itself to promote learning and serving in community through the student Labor Program, honoring the dignity and utility of all work, mental and manual, and taking pride in work well done.

A common myth is that high school graduates have two choices: work or go to college. Berea College does not believe in that separation and hasn’t since its founding in 1855. Educating and developing the whole individual and preparing that individual for success in adulthood means our students put their minds and bodies to work through the labor program.

The program requires all Berea students to work at least 10 hours per week at different campus jobs. In addition to their studies, they work in positions from the dining hall to the president’s office.

Student labor is not only an integral part of daily operations at Berea, it’s essential for a complete learning experience that prepares our students for life after college. When our students enter the professional world, the experience they have gained in the labor program gives them an advantage over graduates from other schools. When employers hire a Berea graduate, they know they are hiring a person with developed professional skill sets and a strong work ethic.

Ways to Give

The Berea Fund: Giving to the Berea Fund helps keep Berea’s commitment to labor going strong and provides students with the experience they need to join the workforce.

Matching Gifts: Many employers match employees’ charitable giving. To find out if your employer participates, visit our Matching Gifts page at https://www.berea.edu/give/matching-gifts/.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Students

Berea College commits itself to assert the kinship of all people and to provide interracial education with a particular emphasis on understanding and equality among blacks and whites as a foundation for building community among all peoples of the earth.

The “gospel of impartial love” moved Berea College’s founders to set up a school open to everyone in need of education regardless of color, gender, or “caste” in the 1850s. The Reverend John G. Fee staked his mission on the scripture above, a proclamation of the inherent equality of all within the human race. This was a dangerous proposition, and remained controversial until well after the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

The movement to make education available to all saw violence, rebellions from even within the school, a Supreme Court case, a long hiatus from interracial education, and the eventual 20th century realization of a school for all people.

Today, Berea College’s commitment to interracial education is stronger than ever, and it evolves to be continuously more inclusive as programs and curriculum seek to promote understanding between races and to emphasize the common dignity of being human.

Ways to Give

The Berea Fund: Our campus is one of the most diverse in the country, with nearly 40% of students identifying as persons of color. As we move further into the 21st century and dynamics of our service region change, our founders’ belief in “common dignity” implants deeper and deeper into the heart of all we do at Berea. Your gift to the Berea Fund helps make all this possible.

Special Initiatives
Visit https://give.berea.edu/donate, choose Other in the drop-down menu, and type out the initiative of your choice from the options below.

Carl and Deborah Thomas African American Opportunity Fund: Your gift supports the recruitment and retention of African American students through programs designed to help students succeed both academically and socially.

Office of Diversity and Inclusion: Your gift will support programs and resources that promote an inclusive and diverse campus community committed to shaping leaders from Appalachia and beyond.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Students

Berea College commits itself to create a democratic community dedicated to education and gender equality.

The meaning of “gender equality” has changed over time, but Berea College is on the forefront of the current meaning. Our commitment means students, faculty, and staff enjoy the same opportunities and privileges regardless of whether they are men, women, gay or straight, or on some other part of the gender/identity spectrum.

Berea College made waves in the 19th century as the first interracial and coeducational college in the South. This was a time when the concept of women going to college, especially alongside men, was controversial. Our founders insisted the concept could work and that it would work to the benefit of society as a whole.

We’ve come a long way since then. In the 21st century, gender equality means more than equality of the sexes. It means ensuring all have a seat at the table, a chance to succeed, and to enjoy the benefits afforded to others.

Ways to Give

The Berea Fund: Berea College makes every effort to ensure a democratic and safe campus environment, whether it involves students, staff, or faculty. Your Berea Fund gift supports such programs as Women’s & Gender Studies, as well as the Ecovillage and Child Development Laboratory.

Planned Giving: Much of Berea College’s operating expense is covered by our endowment, which is supported by friends who make a gift through their estates or set up charitable annuities. Visit our Planned Giving page at https://berea.giftlegacy.com/ to learn more.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Students

Berea College commits itself to maintain a residential campus and to encourage in all community members a way of life characterized by mindful and sustainable living, health and wellness, zest for learning, high personal standards, and a concern for the welfare of others.

At Berea College, we live and learn, simultaneously, together, inside and outside the classroom. In fact, our entire campus is a living-learning laboratory that teaches us to take care of ourselves, others, and the earth. The seventh Commitment is informally known on campus as the “kitchen sink” commitment, because it involves a holistic approach to improving how we live and behave on campus and on an individual level.

It means that we pay close attention to our impact on our environment and that we seek to reduce it. It means that as we take care of the earth, we take care of ourselves so we can be the best we can be. It means that we immerse ourselves in learning and seek to learn as much as we can our entire lives. And it means that we acknowledge we are not on this journey alone—we will need each other along the way.

The goal is bold—nearly unattainable—because its complete success rests on a human’s ability to reach perfection. Here is the echo of Matthew 5:48, where Christ gives the instruction “to be perfect.” But where we lack, we acknowledge and learn, and where we fail individually, we succeed together.

Ways to Give

The Berea Fund: Your gift to the Berea Fund supports our residential campus, where nearly all students live in residence halls and have access to programming to help them with everything from homework to health. The Berea Fund also supports an emphasis on sustainability and plain living—commitments lived out across campus as we work to reduce our ecological footprint and encourage others to do the same.

Division III Athletics: Your gift will play an important role in maintaining a healthy residential community. Our ascent to the NCAA Division III in 2017-18 is challenging student-athletes to excel on the field and deepening the camaraderie and pride around Berea athletics.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Students

Berea College commits itself to engage Appalachian communities, families, and students in partnership for mutual learning, growth, and service.

Berea’s physical location has often been described as “where the mountains meet the Bluegrass,” but our heart has always been in the mountains. Education in Appalachia includes more than learning in a classroom. It means reaching out to students where they live, helping them to overcome barriers that might prevent them from going to college, and teaching them ways they might return to their homes to improve their communities rather than providing “a ticket out.”

Appalachia is defined by rich traditions and unique cultures that we seek to preserve and celebrate, to share our students’ pride in their homes. The needs are many, as are the difficulties, and we would not be servants of the region if we did not attempt to see to those needs and difficulties, and to work with communities in an effort to improve Appalachians' quality of life. Most importantly, we teach our students how to be of service to their families and neighbors and to build brighter futures in the region.

Ways to Give

The Berea Fund: The Berea Fund supports this Commitment by helping provide several outreach programs supporting the Appalachian region. Berea’s Center for Excellence in Learning through Service (CELTS) houses all student-led service programs and community outreach offices. CELTS also leads the initiative to integrate service into Berea’s academic curriculum.

Special Initiatives
Visit https://give.berea.edu/donate, choose Other in the drop-down menu, and type out the initiative of your choice from the options below.

Brushy Fork Leadership Institute: Your gift helps grow regional leadership and guide local development efforts.

Grow Appalachia: Your gift helps to address food insecurity and sustainability in the Appalachian region.

Population(s) Served
Economically disadvantaged people
Students

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of scholars who graduate from four year colleges and university within six years

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people, Young adults, People of African descent, People of Latin American descent, Multiracial people

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

This is the number first-time, full-time students who became Berea graduates. 2020 measures the cohort entering in 2014.

Graduation rate for first-time, full-time students

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Economically disadvantaged people, Young adults, People of African descent, People of Latin American descent, Multiracial people

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

This is the graduation rate (percentage) for first-time, full-time students. 2020 measures the cohort entering in 2014. By comparison, the national average graduation rate for Pell recipients is 50%.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

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

Graduation rates alone can be misleading. Highly selective colleges can achieve impressive attainment rates simply by enrolling students who are likely to graduate anywhere: those from affluent families, often white, whose parents have college degrees. With this in mind, Berea stands out as much for our success as for whom we serve and for what we stand.

Berea aims to enroll a student population reflective of the principles expressed in our Great Commitments: diverse, economically disadvantaged, and “academically hungry” for the top-notch education the College provides.

Through fundraising and other resources, the College promises to cover every student's tuition so that none ever receives a tuition bill--only a list of the scholarships that make their education possible. The College allows Pell grants to help cover the cost of housing and meals.

Recent support mechanisms have resulted in very high retention percentages to the second year of college—currently at 88 percent. And Berea is striving for a graduation rate of 75 percent (currently at 67)--nearly unheard of for the Pell-eligible population we serve. Berea is not only affordable; it produces results, graduating students at many times the national average graduation rate for low-income students nationally.

At graduation, Berea students get the best start possible, with an average student debt below $7,000 (for those with any—over 40 percent graduate with zero debt).

Berea provides tuition-free education by awarding every enrolled student a Tuition Promise Scholarship. This financial model is made possible through a combination of federal/state financial aid, spendable return from the College's endowment, and the philanthropy of alumni and friends.

Berea hires every student it admits. As a federally recognized Work College, Berea requires every student to work on campus for at least 10 hours each week. This work program provides wages (currently about $2,500 each year) and job experience while offsetting some of the need for additional employees. Evaluated as another aspect of the educational experience, the Labor Program ensures students learn as much from their work in more than 100 campus departments as they do in the classroom. One of these valuable lessons is the dignity of both mental and manual labor, as students encounter jobs from cleaning campus facilities to coding new software programs.

Berea College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097, telephone 404-679-4500, at http://www.sacscoc.org for questions about the accreditation of Berea College.

The institutional policy of Berea College is to conform to all policy requirements of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Each year, Berea College achieves headlines for the quality and affordability of its applied, liberal arts education, and for its distinctive attributes including the Labor Program, tuition guarantee, and commitment to serving the underserved throughout its history.

With decades of experience in serving Pell-eligible, first-generation college students from diverse backgrounds, we at Berea understand that simply replacing tuition is not enough to promote student success. The Tuition Promise Scholarship is only the beginning of the resources and guidance provided to all students through the Berea opportunity. At arrival on campus, every student receives a new laptop computer, connecting them immediately to the world of digital learning tools that are enhanced by in-person instruction from committed faculty. Small class sizes are a given with Berea's 10:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Furthermore, the College's Labor Program means that hundreds of staff join in the intensive process of mentoring and teaching students as employees. Strong financial aid and advising helps students make the most of their college experience while taking on little or no loan debt. As a result, more than 90 percent of graduates have enjoyed study abroad, internships, service-learning, and/or undergraduate research during their Berea education.

Although simply holding steady would continue Berea's good work, we believe the College can always do better at achieving its ideals. Because differences in achievement often are markers for social inequality, a range of programs and projects are helping Berea improve retention and graduation rates for all students, but especially cohorts that are behind Berea's averages. Part of delivering equitable education is eliminating differences in achievement, so that any student has the same high odds of success and a full sense of their belonging in the campus community.

During 2020, Berea reaffirmed its foundational interracial education commitment asserting the kinship of all people and issued a set of aspirations to better the campus climate. These include the creation of an endowed professorship in interracial education, the addition of new courses in Native American Studies, and endowing the Civil Rights Tour of the South as an important program for faculty and staff learning. It also continues to fundraise for the African American Opportunity Fund. Endowing key educational initiatives tied to interracial education ensures their viability in perpetuity since Berea charges no tuition.

Financials

Berea College
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Operations

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

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Berea College

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Stephanie Bowling Ziegler

Designer

Term: 2010 -


Board co-chair

David Chow

DanCourt Management, LLC

Term: 2009 -

Anne Bonnyman

Reverend

Betty Olinger

Kentucky State University, School of Nursing

Celeste Armstrong

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company Trial Division

Charles Seabury, II

Rockwell International (retired)

Charlotte Beason

Consultant in Healthcare Administration and Education

David Chow

DanCourt Management, LLC

David Shelton

R&D Properties

David Sloan

O'Hara, Taylor, Sloan, & Cassidy

Dennis Roop

Center for Regenerative Medicine & Stem Cell Biology, University of Colorado Denver

Diane Wallace

Kinesis-Cem Market Research Co.

Emmanuel Tuffuor

KPMG LLP (retired)

Eugene Lowe, Jr.

Northwestern University

Glenn Jennings

Delta Natural Gas Company (retired)

John Fleming

J.E. Fleming Associates, LLC

Joseph Bridy

Hamlin Capital Management, LLC

Michael Flowers

American Bridge Company (retired)

Miriam "Mim" Pride

Blackburn College

Nancy Lampton

Hardscuffle, Inc; American Life and Accident Insurance Co. of KY

Rocky Tuan

The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Scott Jenkins

S. M. Jenkins & Co.

Shawn Johnson

Guidon Global, LLC

Stephanie Zeigler

Designer

Stephen Campbell

The James Graham Brown Foundation

Tyler Thompson

Dolt, Thompson, Shepherd & Conway, PSC

Vance Blade

Kroger (retired)

Vicki Allums

Intellectual Property, Department of Defense

William Richardson

Richardson Associates Architects, P.S.C.

Samantha Earp

Smith College

Bill Daugherty

BlackRidge Resource Partners, LLC

Charles Crowe

Retired

Donna Dean

National Institutes of Health (retired)

William Robbins

Capital Group

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 8/12/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data