News Release

Church Leaders Gather in Mexico City for Historic BYU–Pathway Worldwide Meeting

Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Elder Ronald A. Rasband and Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson endorse the opportunities of the online college platform

For the first time, the executive committee of the Church Board of Education for the Church Educational System gathered in Mexico City September 16-18. The committee, which oversees the colleges and universities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, heard about the experiences of students and assessed the impact of BYU–Pathway Worldwide.

Sitting on the committee are two members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the Church, Elder D. Todd Christofferson and Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Elder Paul V. Johnson of the Presidency of the Seventy, and Relief Society General President Camille N. Johnson.

“BYU-Pathway is making such a difference in education for those who have not had the opportunity for a higher education,” said Elder Christofferson. “It makes a huge difference in the lives of individuals and their families, in their Church service, and in all aspects of their lives.”

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BYU–Pathway’s newest announcement also promises to make a college education even more attainable by providing access to select bachelor’s degrees that can be completed in three years instead of four through BYU–Idaho and Ensign College.

“This three-year program is going to revolutionize [BYU–]Pathway all over the world because we have an online program [that allows them to] participate from the corners of Africa to the Philippines [and] of course right here in Mexico,” said Elder Ronald A. Rasband.

There are also plans to start offering select bachelor’s degrees in Portuguese starting in 2025. Currently, BYU–Pathway students must be proficient in English.

“I am the product of women who were educated. My mother, my grandmothers were educated, and I think that when our sisters have the opportunity to be educated, they set that example,” shared President Camille N. Johnson.

Every year the executive committee convenes at one of the Church’s colleges. Mexico was chosen for the on-site visit because it was one of the first countries (along with Ghana) where BYU–Pathway launched internationally in 2011.

In the past five years, enrollment at BYU–Pathway has grown 60%, with nearly 70,000 students in 180 countries. Latter-day Saints make up most of the student body, but anyone seeking a high-quality education based on gospel principles can enroll.

“You are continually learning skills along the way. About 60% of our students get a better job within six months of starting school,” said Brian K. Ashton, President of BYU–Pathway Worldwide.

The cost of tuition is kept at an affordable rate for all students regardless of their religious affiliation or where they live, with scholarship opportunities available for those who qualify.

“This is a very large part of the Savior’s ministry. Whether it be temporal or spiritual, it’s all one work to the Lord,” shared Elder Rasband.

One Student’s Experience

Yamileth Rivero Garcia (right), 21, participates in a panel discussion for BYU–Pathway Worldwide students at the visitor’s center of the Mexico City Mexico Temple on September 17, 2023. 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.
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On Sunday afternoon, Elder Christofferson and the Church leaders met with a group of five students at the visitor’s center of the Mexico City Mexico Temple for a roundtable discussion.

The group of students included 21-year-old Yamileth Rivero Garcia, who drove two hours with her family from her home in Toluca, Mexico, to participate. The young woman described her decision to attend the Church’s online college BYU–Pathway in 2021.

“I decided to go with faith and participate in the program,” Rivero Garcia said in an interview before the panel gathering. “I will not regret that decision of being a full-time student [online].”

“For me, BYU–Pathway has been such a huge blessing in my life,” Rivero Garcia said.

Rivero Garcia told the group she decided to enroll in BYU–Pathway after seeing her older brother’s experience. Her brother was simultaneously studying similar majors at BYU–Pathway and a local university that he attended in person. In his opinion, BYU–Pathway’s curriculum covered employable skills a lot sooner in the program than the in-person university.

Rivero Garcia was also drawn to BYU–Pathway because of the gospel values that are built into the curriculum.

“You meet with people around the world that have the same beliefs that you have and everything you learn from a secular perspective, you also learn it under an eternal perspective,” Rivero Garcia said.

Rivero Garcia now has two paid internships and a part-time job with an international company as she continues her studies, and her story is not unique to the experiences shared during the roundtable discussion.

“If they get an education and there is no career at the end of it? For most of our students that doesn’t really work,” said Ashton.

“We want everyone making a sustainable living wage so they have enough to support their family, serve in the Church … and so we spend a lot of time on preparing them for jobs,” Ashton said.

A Spanish-language devotional was also broadcast to all of Latin America on Sunday, September 17, as part of the executive committee’s weekend of events.

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