Is Liberty University Still “The World’s Largest Christian University?”

Liberty U

Apparently Liberty University has lost so many students in recent days that it now has fewer students than Grand Canyon University, a for-profit Christian college in Phoenix.  Here is a taste of Alison Parker’s piece at Shareblue Media:

Liberty University has long touted itself as the “world’s largest Christian university.” It’s president Jerry Falwell Jr. has also been a proud supporter and defender of Trump. But now, the school is trying to scrub an embarrassing drop in enrollment from its website and press releases.

As Jack Jenkins reports at Religion News Services (RNS), Liberty has used the superlative for at least six years. Journalists often repeat the claim, and Falwell pushed it in his speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention.

And when Trump gave a commencement speech at Liberty in May 2017, he also parroted the line.

Now it appears the claim is no longer accurate. And Liberty is trying to remove all references to it as quietly as possible.

The line had appeared in the “Quick Facts” section of the school’s website as recently as January 2018. But it “has since been removed, and no longer appears on Liberty press releases,” Jenkins notes.

Read the entire piece here.

So what does this have to do with Jerry Falwell Jr.’s support of Donald Trump?

2 thoughts on “Is Liberty University Still “The World’s Largest Christian University?”

  1. Good point, Dave. I think you are right about this. It is probably better to measure decline in enrollment over a longer period than simply the age of Trump.


  2. One statement I didn’t quite follow from the article. It mentions that the falling enrollment is similar to how “Trump’s support from white evangelicals has tanked.” Parker links this statement to an article dating all the way back to December (an eternity in the news cycle), immediately following the President’s support of Roy Moore’s failed candidacy. Most polls I see would indicate that any drop in white evangelical support at that time was relatively small, and was quickly reversed to where his white evangelical support is currently as high or higher than ever. So that brief dip doesn’t seem like it could explain a longer-term drop in enrollment, and other reasons for that drop should merit more consideration.


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