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They Will Be Filled with Light

New innovations are helping students to finish degrees, become self-reliant, and discover light and hope as they come closer to Jesus Christ

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When the Lord instructed the brother of Jared to build the barges that would take his family to the promised land, he was bursting with questions: How will we breathe? How will we steer if there is no light? 1 While the Lord provided a solution to the first problem, for the second problem, He instead asked the brother of Jared a question: “What will ye that I should do?” 2 So the brother of Jared searched for a solution. He created 16 transparent stones, carried them to the top of a mountain, and humbly asked the Lord to touch them with His finger to give them light. He said, “We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which looks small unto the understanding of men.” 3 The Lord proceeded to touch the stones, one by one. Miraculously, the stones gave “light continually” 4 on the Jaredites’ 344-day journey. But perhaps the greater miracle is that the brother of Jared’s faith led him to have one of the most beautiful interactions in scriptural history — coming face to face with Jesus Christ. “There never were greater things made manifest than those which were made manifest unto the brother of Jared.” 5

Innovating in the Lord’s way

Judith Winters
Judith Winters
Like the Jaredites on the sea, BYU-Pathway Worldwide is also entering uncharted territory in many ways. In 2009, just 50 students in three locations enrolled. In 2023, more than 65,000 students enrolled everywhere The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is organized. This diverse and ever-growing student population requires inspired, innovative solutions to continue providing quality higher education, while remaining accessible and affordable.Teaching about innovating in the Lord’s way, Elder Clark G. Gilbert, Commissioner of the Church Educational System, said, “We don’t innovate for innovation’s sake. We innovate for a mission-focused purpose. When we say we develop disciples of Jesus Christ who are leaders in their home, the Church, and their family, the first principle is developing disciples and converting them to Jesus Christ.” 6
Clark G. Gilbert, “Innovating in the Lord’s Way” (CES Collaborate Conference, Oct. 26, 2023)

BYU-Pathway is seeing the hand of the Lord make these seemingly small innovations possible with great results: more students are becoming self-reliant and discovering new light and hope as they come closer to Jesus Christ and make covenants with Him.

Three-year bachelor’s degrees

Sione Kafatolu Ha’angana from Tonga is a student, a counselor in his stake presidency, the father of eight children, and the guardian of another five. With tight finances and a busy schedule selling goods in the local market, finding time for schoolwork is difficult.

While not all BYU-Pathway students care for 13 children, the average student works full time, supports a family, and takes two courses per term, often taking up to seven years to complete a traditional bachelor’s degree. BYU-Pathway is now providing a way for students to complete an online bachelor’s degree in just three years.

With approval from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), BYU-Idaho and Ensign College, through BYU-Pathway, are among the first institutions to receive accreditation for 90–96-credit degrees by eliminating elective credits but preserving required major and general education courses. These optimized online degrees reduce tuition costs and time to completion by 25% — a significant blessing for students like Sione.

BYU-Pathway President Brian K. Ashton said, “Our students balance many responsibilities and sacrifice a lot to earn an education. These three-year degrees will help them graduate faster while fully preparing them to get a better job.”

Jobs for students

Felmore Flores, a student from the Philippines, was working night shifts in what felt like a never-ending routine. A hectic work environment and office politics left him feeling stuck despite his desire to grow and succeed.

Felmore Flores
Felmore Flores with his family

Many students like Felmore live in difficult labor markets and are either unemployed or are working unsustainable jobs. To address this need, BYU-Pathway partnered with social impact staffing companies to help connect more than 3,000 students to remote or local jobs by the end of 2023, including entry-level jobs for new students and career-focused jobs for graduates.

The goal is to help students earn a sustainable living wage, meaning they make enough to support a family and serve in the kingdom of God. Students with a certificate earn more than double what students earn at the start of their degree, and 85% of students are employed at graduation.

After completing his certificate, Felmore was hired to work remotely on the talent attraction and marketing team for a new company. “My abilities are acknowledged, my voice is heard, and my future is more promising than ever,” he said, “thanks to BYU-Pathway!”

BYU-Pathway is a beacon of opportunity. I’m honing invaluable skills, sculpting the foundation of a flourishing future. BYU-Pathway is illuminating my route toward success.
Hermann Koffi, Côte d’Ivoire

Scholarships from enrollment to graduation

Omolola Coker

In Nigeria, online degree-seeking student Omolola Coker had regular issues with her laptop, internet, and power supply, making school challenging. In fact, 34% of BYU-Pathway students struggle to find at least two meals a day, 60% experience unstable housing, and 68% have limited internet connection.

Over the last several years, BYU-Pathway has sought to award more tuition discounts . In 2022, the Heber J. Grant Tuition Discount became available to students taking PathwayConnect and online degree courses, guaranteeing 10–50% off tuition for all students. In 2023, the Returned Missionary Scholarship , which provides 25% off tuition to recently returned missionaries, also scaled, making both discounts available from enrollment to graduation. More than 46,000 students (71% of all students) received one or more discounts in 2023.

For students like Omolola, these tuition discounts lower the already reduced tuition, making it possible for them to continue their education and reach their goals. “My dream of having a bachelor’s degree is now a reality with very low tuition and several scholarships,” Omolola said. “I never thought it was possible to come this far.”

Mobile-first curriculum

As a first-generation university student in Côte d’Ivoire, Séméné Stéphane Agui did not own a personal computer, so he used a smartphone and went to Internet cafés to complete his assignments.

Semene-Stephane-Agui 1
Séméné Stéphane Agui

Séméné is among 33% of BYU-Pathway students who live in countries where personal computers are difficult to afford, data can cost up to a third of total income, and there are frequent — sometimes daily — power outages. To help lighten these challenges, BYU-Pathway implemented a mobile-first PathwayConnect curriculum, making it possible for students to complete courses on a smartphone.

In April 2023, BYU-Pathway started piloting this same approach for the entrepreneurship certificate from BYU-Idaho. Using the Learning Library, a platform that allows students to complete coursework offline, and communicating through WhatsApp are reducing costs and increasing participation and peer-to-peer connections. Most importantly, more students in difficult circumstances are persisting in their education.

After PathwayConnect, Séméné completed his social media marketing certificate in just six months. “Only a few weeks later, I was contacted by a local company to be the marketing manager,” he said. “Increasing my professional experiences will allow me to increase my income and provide for my future family.”

BYU-Pathway has enlightened my path, giving me great hope that I can do hard things. I’m doing my best to stand on the covenant path.
Judith Winters, Texas, USA

Lighting the way to Jesus Christ

Like the stones that lit the way to the promised land for the Jaredites, more and more students will be drawn to BYU-Pathway to seek higher education and to make covenants with the Lord.

In an address to BYU-Pathway employees, Elder Kim B. Clark, an emeritus General Authority Seventy and former Commissioner of the Church Educational System, said, “This is God’s work, and He intends that there be light all across the Earth. There are going to be hundreds, maybe thousands, of temples, and BYU-Pathway will be everywhere. There will be light all over the Earth, and people will see it. They will see it in the temples of the Lord, and they’ll see it in BYU-Pathway students. They’ll be drawn to the light to seek an education, to change the world. The day will come when the world will be prepared for the Second Coming of the Lord, because there will be so much light.” 7
Kim B. Clark, “‘As My Father Hath Sent Me, Even So Send I You’” (BYU-Pathway Worldwide Employee Christmas Luncheon, Dec. 18, 2023),
I have become a better disciple of Jesus Christ, who is the source of light, and I am continuing to shine this light by pursuing a degree through BYU-Pathway.
Marian Uyguangco, Philippines