Since the early days of the Church, there has been a high emphasis placed on the value of
education. When the Church settled Nauvoo, Illinois, the Prophet Joseph Smith founded a
university, and when Church members settled the Salt Lake Valley, the Prophet Brigham Young
quickly established a university.

Latter-day Saints embrace the acquisition of knowledge as a spiritual mandate. One of the highest values of the Church is education. It is considered a spiritual imperative as much as a secular one. The Church offers its youth ample educational opportunities with over 700,000 students enrolled in programs established in 132 countries. The Church Educational System (CES) is the umbrella for all education programs of the Church.

Church Universities and Colleges
Brigham Young University, Brigham Young University-Idaho, Brigham Young University-
Hawaii and LDS Business College exist to provide an excellent secular education reinforced
with the ideals and religious principles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

•    Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah, offers bachelor’s and graduate degree
programs for over 30,000 students. BYU is the second-largest private university in the
United States.

•    BYU-Idaho, formerly Ricks College, became a four-year university in 2000. Located in
Rexburg, Idaho, the school accommodates over 14,000 students. In 2005, Dr. Kim B. Clark, former dean of Harvard Business School, was named the 15th president of BYU Idaho.

•    BYU-Hawaii in Laie, Hawaii, has an enrollment of approximately 2,400 students.
According to a 2006 U.S. News and World Report survey, BYU-Hawaii is the most
internationally diverse campus in the United States.

•    LDS Business College is located in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. It offers one- and
two-year vocational programs. Approximately 1,300 students attend.

All students attending these schools, including those of other faiths, sign an honor code agreeing
to maintain the highest standards of honor, integrity, morality and consideration of others in
personal behavior. These standards include using clean language, attending church services
regularly, abstaining from sexual relations outside of marriage and not drinking alcoholic
beverages or smoking.

Institutes of Religion
In Latter-day Saint terminology, “institute” has a different connotation than it does in other
Christian denominations. Institutes of religion provide religious instruction for Church members
who are single and between the ages of 18 and 30. Married college students also attend classes.
These classes are not only for members of the Church, but are open to those of all faiths.

Institute students study topics such as scriptures, Church history and doctrine, world religions,
and preparation for missions and marriage. Along with religious education, institutes provide an
enjoyable social and recreational atmosphere in which students can interact. Institute is designed
to foster spirituality as students face the pressures, trials and challenges of everyday life.

Classes are taught by full-time instructors, as well as volunteers appointed by local leadership.
Institute classes continue to grow inside and outside the United States. In 2009, nearly 340,000
students were enrolled in institutes of religion, of which 190,000 (56%) live outside the US.

In Latter-day Saint terminology, “seminary” also has a different meaning than in other Christian
faiths. Seminary is a four-year educational program for high school students aged 14-18. It is
open to teenagers of all faiths. Students spend an entire school year studying one book of
scripture: Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, or Doctrine and Covenants. By the
time a student graduates, he or she will have completed the study of all four books.

In communities with a large Latter-day Saint population, students attend seminary during
“released time” from their normal school day. In other parts of the world, students attend either
before school starts or after school. In some cases where distance is an issue or there are not
many Latter-day Saint teenagers, students may complete the four-year curriculum in a home
study program. Classes are taught by both full-time instructors and volunteers.  There are more than 360,000 seminary students worldwide, with 169,000 (47%) outside the US.

Perpetual Education Fund
The Perpetual Education Fund (PEF) was established in 2001 to help young men and women get
a good education and become self-reliant after serving a mission for the Church. Since its
founding, PEF has helped 45,000 participants between the ages of 18 and 30 in 46 countries.

The program is funded through contributions of Church members and friends. It is a revolving
resource in which money is loaned to an individual to help pay for advanced education or
training, resulting in better employment opportunities in their own countries and communities.
When a student has graduated and is working, he or she then pays back the loan to the fund at a
low interest rate, so that the funds again become available to loan to others. 

The program is patterned after the Perpetual Emigration Fund, which helped more than 30,000 early Church members journey to the Salt Lake Valley from Europe in the mid to late 1800s.  Encouragement to emigrate, and that fund, was discontinued before 1900.

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