STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) – An evangelical seminary plans to open a small campus where Penn State students can take religion classes that would count toward graduation requirements.
Eastern University, a 3,700-student school based in the Philadelphia suburb of St. Davids, plans to offer four classes starting in January to coincide with the Penn State spring semester. The courses will be taught downtown in church buildings.
"It's our intention to supplement what Penn State does, not compete," said the Rev. Paul Grabill, who is leading the effort.
For evangelicals, college life can "present a great challenge" and young people attending secular universities like Penn State are more likely to stray from their faiths, said Grabill, pastor at State College Assembly of God.
The initial four classes will be capped at 20 students and will focus on the New Testament, the heritage of Western thought and civilization, faith and philosophy, and reason and justice.
Grabill said the goal is to provide supplemental instruction with a Christian foundation and support Christian Penn State students as they mature.
Eastern University was established in 1925 as a Baptist seminary but is not tied to any denomination now. Penn State and Eastern are accredited by the same association, and Penn State typically accepts transfer credits from other accredited institutions.
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