The Southeast is typically regarded as the Bible Belt. While there are numerous Christian colleges, there are just over 20 Catholic colleges in this region. We'll look at five of these colleges and discover some of the campus ministry and academic programs offered.
Some of the schools listed in the table below are more economical, while others offer rare Catholic-based education for states with few Catholic colleges. We'll also take a look at the student size for the 2016 school year.
|School Name||Institution Type||Student Population (2016)||Location||Tuition (2017-2018)|
|Spring Hill College||4-year, private not-for-profit||1,476*||Mobile, AL||$37,584*|
|Brescia University||4-year, private not-for-profit||1,009*||Owensboro, KY||$21,550*|
|Xavier University of Louisiana||4-year, private not-for-profit||3,044**||New Orleans, LA||$23,606*|
|Christian Brothers University||4-year, private not-for-profit||1,892**||Memphis, TN||$31,870*|
|Belmont Abbey College||4-year, private not-for-profit||1,523*||Belmont, NC||$18,500*|
Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), **School Websites (2017)
Southeastern Catholic Colleges Overview
Some of the following colleges have been given high rankings compared to other schools in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. We'll take a look at some of the schools that offer the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) program for Catholics.
Spring Hill College
Spring Hill College (SHC) is the only Catholic-affiliated 4-year university in the state of Alabama. This doesn't limit its offerings, however, as there 46 undergraduate areas of study. Some of those majors include graphic design, Hispanic studies, theater, education, and theology. Class sizes of 17 keep the education intimate and provide students with a lot of face-to-face interaction with professors. To help pay for tuition and room & board, 98.3% of enrolled students typically receive financial aid packages. Located on 381 acres, Spring Hill has over 70 clubs and organizations for students to join. Some of those are ministry-centered, including Saturdays for Service and the Spring Hill Awakening Program (SHAPe).
Brescia University is the Kentucky choice for this list. Along with participating in daily liturgy readings, the students work to better the community with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Crossroads of Owensboro food pantry, and Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Brescia sports teams are made up of volleyball, cross country, track & field, competitive cheer, golf, and basketball, among others. Associate's, bachelor's, and master's degree programs are all offered on campus, while 12 programs of varying levels are offered through the distance learning program. In fact, Brescia announced that there will be a freeze for online program tuition costs until the 2022 school year. Online courses cost $425 per credit hour.
Xavier University of Louisiana
U.S. News and World Report named Xavier University of Louisiana the 25th best regional university in the South, and the fifth best historically black college for 2018. Though its primary goal was to provide a strong faith-based education for African Americans, it has always been open to accepting any qualified individual. As of 2018, roughly 70% of enrolled students identified as African American. Xavier is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Commission on Colleges. Along with regular liturgy, the campus ministry for Xavier has several areas to get involved in, such as the CRS student ambassadors, the gospel choir, the sacred dancer group, and the campus ministry student leadership council.
Christian Brothers University (CBU)
Christian Brothers University has five housing options, along with themed living learning centers. Living learning centers are floors dedicated to popular majors, where students who have all declared that major can work, live and worship together. Along with other faith-based groups, there are counseling services and masses. CBU also has a food pantry dedicated to students, faculty, and staff to help reduce food costs. CBU encourages students to continue their ministry, sustainability, and social justice work after their graduation, requiring students to take the Lasallian Pledge at graduation. The average class size for the 35 degree programs is 12 students for undergraduate and 10 students for graduate classes.
Belmont Abbey College
The most economical of the colleges in this article, Belmont Abbey College had tuition costs of $18,500 in the 2016-2017 year. U.S. News and World Report named Belmont the 15th best value college in the nation for 2018. The same year, it was named 8th for regional colleges in the South. There are 19 degree programs for students to consider, including sports management, Catholic educational studies, criminal justice, psychology, and motorsport management. The Belmont campus ministry follows the idea of ora et labora, or 'prayer and work,' meaning that along with monastic prayer and sacraments, students are expected to take part in the music worship and community service to strengthen their spiritual life, such as the March for Life.