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RM's auto-admitted to BYU-Pathway Program

Posted: 14 May 2019, 10:56
by Roy
https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900 ... ormon.html

https://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/ ... -worldwide

https://www.thechurchnews.com/global/20 ... tted-49735

I was a missionary in a South American country when the announcement for the Perpetual Education fund was made by President GBH. To me it hit as revelation and showed how the church could help lift to economic situations of our brothers and sisters in less advantaged parts of the world. To me it was THE takeaway from that GC.

By all accounts this new announcement of the Missionaries auto admission into BYU Pathways Worldwide Pathwayconnect program is better than the PEF.

https://pathwaynewsroom.org/faq/#what
PathwayConnect is a one-year, low-cost educational program that mixes the flexibility of online academic courses, religious education, and the benefits of weekly face-to-face gatherings with other students. (On February 7, 2017, Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf announced the creation of a new organization within the Church Educational System called BYU-Pathway Worldwide, with the PathwayConnect program being one of its core products.) PathwayConnect helps students develop confidence, become self-reliant, and build leadership experience — all of which enhance students’ prospects for further education, employment, church service, and/or leading and supporting families. After students complete PathwayConnect, they may continue working toward a degree by enrolling in a BYU-Idaho online degree program, attending a local school, entering the workforce, or pursuing a variety of other goals.
After completion of the one year PathwayConnect program the student may continue towards a BYU-I certificate (only 15 credits), an Associate Degree (60 credits), or even a Bachelor's Degree (120 credits).

This appears to be game changing for RMs without immediate educational or career prospects (especially in countries without robust "student aid"). This has the potential to stop the cycle of poverty in individual family trees in a single generation. This is a ray of hope for many! I believe the auto-admission for missionaries feature is helpful as the default option for missionaries that may not be especially self-directed otherwise (and I believe that young people without significant support can find the whole next phase of life thing to be extremely overwhelming and anxiety producing).

The fact that this anouncement is all but lost, sandwiched between the disconinuation of the POX and the one year waiting policies is interesting. I believe it to be a reflection of just how quickly the church is making changes. This is exactly the sort of thing that I would wish to see our church doing.

Re: RM's auto-admitted to BYU-Pathway Program

Posted: 14 May 2019, 11:16
by On Own Now
Roy, thank you for posting this. The Church really does take to heart the concept of providing education in very good and affordable ways. It was a steal to get the education I did from BYU. The Pathway Program was already a major benefit to those who wanted to pursue it. This is even better and more meaningful.

I love this concept. It is the melding of means, good intentions, and technology, all to provide for those who have given so much for the Church.

I believe that one of the primary factors in helping the underprivileged in a global view is access to education.

When I was a missionary in South America, I worked with a lot of people who couldn't read or write. It was an eye-opener for me. They were good, kind people, who loved their loved-ones, had their likes and dislikes, had their successes and setbacks just like we all do, but they had not had access to education when they were younger, and they were in some ways disabled because of it, and their opportunities were limited.

Re: RM's auto-admitted to BYU-Pathway Program

Posted: 14 May 2019, 11:49
by dande48
I'm glad to know this is the case, but... wasn't this always the case, ever since the Pathways Program was first opened? From what I remembered, I thought pretty much everyone was auto-accepted into the BYU-Pathway program, so long as they are an active member. Online coursework, with a weekly "institute-like" meeting, run by unpaid volunteers, doesn't really have an admittance "cap", does it? Though as my former bishop put it, "We don't want non-members to take advantage".

It doesn't really feel like a policy change to me. More like a PR move to make more missionaries (and everyone else) aware of the Pathways Program. It's wonderful that they have these opportunities, but it doesn't feel like "news" to me.

Re: RM's auto-admitted to BYU-Pathway Program

Posted: 14 May 2019, 13:10
by Roy
I don't know the history of the pathway program Dande. For me, the pathways program is less impactful in areas like the U.S. that might have multiple avenues for financing and student aid already available. Also the addition of online or virtual 'weekly 'institute-like" meetings" seems relatively recent and is reportedly key to auto admitting all missionaries worldwide. It wouldn't do any good to pre-approve or auto admit an individual that lived in a part of the world where they did not have access to these weekly required meetings. The addition of "virtual gatherings" changes all that. The below quotes are taken from the 3rd article I had linked to above:
President Gilbert said. "But for those who don't have access to education, which is the vast majority of the Church, they now have an affordable education that they can do right where they live and start almost immediately when they get home from their missions."...
Brother Ashton explained that an extra emphasis should be given, moving forward, for mission presidents to encourage their missionaries to learn English and plan for their futures....
"When missionaries have been on their mission for 90 days, they'll get a message in the missionary portal that says at the end of their mission they'll be preapproved for admission into the BYU-Pathway Worldwide PathwayConnect program," Brother Ashton continued, explaining the new preapproval process. "Then they will be encouraged throughout their mission to learn English, if they don't already know English, because all of the programs are in English.
"Then 90 days before they go home, they'll get an email attached with the letter saying they're now approved for the BYU-Pathway Worldwide PathwayConnect program," he said....
Mission presidents will be expected to provide missionaries with time outside of their regular preparation days to allow missionaries to complete the admissions processes to enroll in the BYU-Pathway programs, or other educational programs for which they may have plans to attend, Watson said.
I agree with you that the pre-approval and auto-admission process is somewhat semantical. However, I believe that it can be very effective in giving these RMs a clearly defined "pathway" (pun intended ;) ;) ;)) forward to more education and better career prospects. My employer recently started auto-enrolling employees in the 401k program and participation more than doubled. Similarly, by auto-admitting all missionaries the default setting is towards higher education. It seems to me from the quotes above that the church will be making greater efforts generally to help missionaries and RM's transition to successful post missionary life.
dande48 wrote:
14 May 2019, 11:49
It's wonderful that they have these opportunities, but it doesn't feel like "news" to me.
I suppose you are correct from a certain perspective. It is not exactly newsworthy in the same sense that churches feeding homeless in a soup kitchen is not exactly newsworthy. "Newsflash - Churches help people! Details at 11!" However, I deliberately contrast this with the PEF. I remember the PEF as a major announcement in GC. IMO the BYU-pathway worldwide program will be more impactful and farther reaching than PEF ever was.

Re: RM's auto-admitted to BYU-Pathway Program

Posted: 14 May 2019, 15:25
by DarkJedi
My first thought on this was "Big deal, all they had to do was sign up anyway. There's nothing to see here, these aren't the droids you're looking for. Move along." But after it sank in I did recognize that the real effect would be on those that otherwise might not have the opportunity and might not apply, in some ways like the PEF (which I financially supported until we can't any more). It still could be tough for some (I'm thinking of where my son serves in the South Pacific where most people don't even have electricity, much less phones or internet). Nonetheless, I think this is good and while it probably won't affect people like my son who will be returning to BYU for others it could be great.

FWIW, we do have people in my ward involved with Pathways and as far as I can see it's great for them. There is also an active user here involved. Unlike the PEF, it's not just for non-North Americans.

Re: RM's auto-admitted to BYU-Pathway Program

Posted: 14 May 2019, 15:40
by nibbler
I guess this could be a win-win. It serves as a "GI bill" of sorts to sweeten the pot for people on the fence about serving a mission (more missionaries for the church) and the pathway program has a heavy church activity focus (addressing the issue of RMs going inactive).

Five or so years ago returning missionaries were placed into a "My Plan" program that treated them like children, all with the end goal of retention. The pathway program can achieve the same goal without being as infantilizing as the My Plan program.

Re: RM's auto-admitted to BYU-Pathway Program

Posted: 14 May 2019, 17:29
by grobert93
nibbler wrote:
14 May 2019, 15:40
I guess this could be a win-win. It serves as a "GI bill" of sorts to sweeten the pot for people on the fence about serving a mission (more missionaries for the church) and the pathway program has a heavy church activity focus (addressing the issue of RMs going inactive).

Five or so years ago returning missionaries were placed into a "My Plan" program that treated them like children, all with the end goal of retention. The pathway program can achieve the same goal without being as infantilizing as the My Plan program.
When i came home from my mission in 2014 i was basically put into my local ysa ward and told to date casually and find a job or go to school. Not being from Utah, i chose a community college that was super liberal with their education (having gone from testifying of Christ daily to discussing the evidences of sexual assault in education and the work force [one of my classes]) and it really threw me off my rocker. it was hard to adjust. the YSA ward was difficult to fit in with. having served a unique language mission i was unable to find opportunities to use it post-mission. eventually i ended up with a job or two, and went to byu idaho. but it was a super rough, unplanned and non-supported journey that lasted two years. it's still affecting my education technically (won't graduate when all my friends do, no real job experience etc) but at least i can know that things are going to get better for others.

Re: RM's auto-admitted to BYU-Pathway Program

Posted: 14 May 2019, 20:15
by SilentDawning
As a business process guy, the idea of an auto-enrollment would tend to increase active course-takers in the the system. By making anything easier to get, whether education, apps, groceries, etcetera, you increase your sales.

In this case, I think this means even greater accessibility for RM's regardless of whether they were able to simply apply and have access previously. If auto-enrollment means their church data, such as age, background, English, prior educational attainment means they are automatically accepted into the Pathways program, then this represents fewer hoops and jumps, and therefore, more RM's taking advantage of Pathways than before auto-enrollment.

I think this is a good thing really. For me the benefit is in the economic benefits this could bring to the RM eventually.

Now I am wondering, what is the cost of this to the RM? Can it help them get into other universities if they want? These aren't meant to critique the program -- just questions I have.

Re: RM's auto-admitted to BYU-Pathway Program

Posted: 14 May 2019, 21:16
by dande48
Just semantics here, but looking at the articles, it says missionaries are "pre-approved" rather than "auto-admitted" or "auto-enrolled". There's a big difference. Credit card companies "pre-approve" me all the time. :) But you still have have to apply. RMs are now just "guaranteed" to get in now... as if they weren't before.
SilentDawning wrote:
14 May 2019, 20:15
Now I am wondering, what is the cost of this to the RM? Can it help them get into other universities if they want? These aren't meant to critique the program -- just questions I have.

In the US, it's $73 per credit; but other countries are locally adjusted to make it "affordable" (tuition rates). The lowest tuition I saw was Madagascar. US the highest, with all other countries paying less (including the UK and even Finland). As for helping them get into other universities... it's VERY geared towards BYU-I online classes. All pathway students who make it through their first year with at least a "B" average and maintain their "ecclesiatical endorsement", are "pre-approved" for BYU-I online. I imagine you could transfer to another university, and I suppose some "college education" is better than nothing. But I'm almost certain none of the credits will transfer.

The Pathways Program is really just the first year. I guess they extend it for the rest of "BYU-I" online, but after the first year there's really no difference than if you just enrolled to BYU-I online directly. That first year, you take 15 credits divided by three semesters. Here's what they are:

Semester 1:
PC 101 - Life Skills - 3 credits
FDREL 121 - Book of Mormon - 2 credits

Semester 2:
PC 102 - Professional Skills - 3 credits
FDREL 122 - Book of Mormon - 2 credits

Semester 3:
PC 103 University Skills - 3 credits
FDREL 250 - Jesus Christ and the Everlasting Gospel - 2 credits

Re: RM's auto-admitted to BYU-Pathway Program

Posted: 15 May 2019, 06:03
by DarkJedi
nibbler wrote:
14 May 2019, 15:40
Five or so years ago returning missionaries were placed into a "My Plan" program that treated them like children, all with the end goal of retention. The pathway program can achieve the same goal without being as infantilizing as the My Plan program.
I had a son come home under this program. He and his bishop both saw it for what it was and it ended up being absolutely meaningless. I think the program has been scrapped now?