LDS Business College Opens Doors for Students Facing Personal Challenges

Contributed By Sarah Harris, Church News staff writer

  • 5 June 2017

LDS Business College accounting student Nilson Baretta, center left, takes a photo at his graduation ceremony this April with former LDSBC President J. Lawrence Richards, left, and Sister Julie Richards, right, along with his three children: João Victor, 16; Felipe, 13; and Julia, 10. Nilson Baretta said his teachers at LDSBC have been a helpful resource to him as a single parent and international student.  Photo by Fresia Ponce.

Article Highlights

  • Single parents can apply for a scholarship covering their tuition and books until their youngest child turns 18.
  • Recently returned missionaries can apply for a scholarship covering half the tuition for their first semester.
  • International students have access to a mentorship program to help them navigate their new surroundings.

“It means a lot that someone believes in me that much. That’s helped me personally, just having confidence in myself that I can do this and I can succeed.” —Kendra Langford, paralegal LDSBC student and single mother of three

Sean Hatch, a business student at LDS Business College and single father of three, said LDSBC has helped him overcome the challenges of being a single parent.

“As a single parent, I’ve gone through so much—I’m still going through it—and I know by doing what I’m doing, … I’m leading my children by example,” Hatch said.

LDSBC has several resources in place to help students facing challenging personal circumstances.

“I’ve seen single parents come in with the stresses of life and leave with such a happy, inspiring [attitude], knowing what they’ve done and have achieved,” Hatch said.

Making higher education a reality for single parents

An LDSBC resource that has been helping single parent students for more than 15 years is the Stella Harris Oaks Horizon of Hope for Single Parents Scholarship, according to Tanner Esplin, LDSBC director of compliance. This award covers single parent students’ tuition and books until they graduate or their youngest child turns 18.

“The business college saw that we have short programs that people can come and complete, and so we wanted to be able to incentivize [single parents] to come and take away some of the barriers that would be there,” Esplin said.

Paralegal LDSBC student and single mother of three Kendra Langford said receiving this scholarship has made her education more meaningful, as she knows people donated their money to support her through school.

“It means a lot that someone believes in me that much,” Langford said. “That’s helped me personally, just having confidence in myself that I can do this and I can succeed.”

LDSBC social media marketing alumna and single parent Crystal Minnick said the religion classes at the business college were the greatest help to her as a single-parent student. She said the gospel-centered environment at LDSBC brought balance to her life and kept her moving forward during hard times.

“It’s helped me learn more about the gospel to build up my testimony, to have faith in myself knowing who I am, to grow in my potential,” Minnick said.

LDSBC business student Sean Hatch, center left, stands with his children, Brody, Miranda, and Gabriel, at Salt Lake Temple Square following his graduation ceremony this April. Hatch said LDSBC has helped him overcome the challenges of being a single parent.

LDSBC paralegal student Kendra Langford takes a photo with her three children in December 2015. Langford said receiving the Stella Harris Oaks Horizon of Hope for Single Parents Scholarship has made her education more meaningful and given her confidence knowing the donors to the scholarship believe in her.

LDSBC social media marketing alumna Crystal Minnick takes a photo with her 6-year-old son, Gaige, outside LDS Business College following her graduation ceremony in April. Minnick said the religion classes at the business college are what helped her the most as a single-parent student.

LDSBC entrepreneurship student Tyler Gibbs, right, stands with his mission companion David Pigott, left, and mission president, Mark Mortensen, while serving as a full-time Spanish-speaking LDS missionary in the Houston Texas Mission in May 2016. Gibbs said receiving the LeGrand Richards Service Scholarship for returned missionaries opened up the way for him to be able to attend school after his mission.

Reaching out to students

LDSBC finance student Nilson Baretta said as both a single father of three and international student from Brazil, staying close to his teachers and asking them for advice has been a great resource to him despite the challenges he has faced.

“[Those] conversations make me open my mind—my vision—and plan my future in a better way,” Baretta said. “I think [with] a lot of my teachers here, I became more a friend than just a student.”

Brindy Adams, an LDSBC accounting student and single mother of four, said the thing that has helped her most at the business college is the tutoring lab she has been able to visit when she has questions about what she is learning in her classes.

“In between classes, I’d go get help on my accounting homework, which saved me,” Adams said. “There are missionaries as well as student tutors that would be there to help me, and they were happy to help with whatever I needed.”

LDSBC also offers a need-based scholarship to students who have come across especially difficult financial circumstances in their lives, according to Esplin.

“If you’re going through a family situation, a family emergency, or you’ve had a medical situation and you have costs that have come up and you need [help], it’s a scholarship that can cover half your tuition for one semester just to help there,” Esplin said.

Creating opportunities for returned missionaries

Another resource LDSBC offers to lift the financial burden on recently returned missionaries who want to start attending school is the LeGrand Richards Service Scholarship. This award covers half a student’s tuition for one semester if they apply to and attend LDSBC within one year of their release date. This scholarship has helped 1,743 students in the past four academic years, according to Esplin.

“We want to let the students know that it’s an achievement for them to have returned honorably from a mission and that the next step in their life is education and preparing the way for them to provide for themselves and for a future family,” Esplin said.

Entrepreneurship student Tyler Gibbs said after the cost of his mission, he had very little savings left when he returned home, but he had a strong desire to go to LDSBC.

“Just really knowing that I had to and not really knowing of a way, finding out about this scholarship really was what opened up that path for me … to be able to go,” Gibbs said.

He said he was grateful the scholarship allowed him to attend school immediately after his mission because he had a unique opportunity during his first semester to take an entrepreneurship class from two new adjunct professors who made a big difference in his future pursuits.

“The things that they taught in that class that I attended were exactly what I needed for that time,” Gibbs said.

Easing the transition for international students

A resource Gibbs said he has seen help other LDSBC students is the school’s mentorship program, which can help international students become accustomed to the new culture and language they encounter in the U.S.

“I’ve seen that mentorship program be able to help people in a way that when they were feeling like everything was just overwhelming—like there’d be no way for them to be able to become accustomed to the culture—the mentors help them a lot,” Gibbs said.

LDSBC provides various resources to help international students, as its student body of about 2,200 is made up of students from all 50 states and more than 60 countries.

Sarah Dantas, an LDSBC student from Brazil in the medical assistant program, said international students are required to take three English classes at the business college, which helps them learn the skills they need to work in the future.

“Things like that are really important because that’s the purpose of this school; when you finish, you go out and you get a job,” Dantas said. “People want you because you’re qualified.”

Knowing she can feel comfortable approaching her peers and teachers has also helped Dantas when she misses her home and family, she said.

“Because it’s not a huge school, you can get to know a lot of people,” Dantas said. “I think you feel more like a family, and that’s really nice.”

Dantas said she can’t express how much she has grown as a person and as a student through all she has learned and experienced at LDSBC.

“I had to learn to turn to the Lord,” Dantas said. “Now that I’m ending this part of my life—this associate’s degree—I’m feeling more prepared for life.”

Brindy Adams, front left, takes a photo with her four daughters on Mother's Day 2016. Adams said as a single mom and LDSBC accounting student, the business college’s free tutoring lab has been a great help to her when she has questions on her homework.

Sarah Dantas, an LDSBC student from Brazil in the medical assistant program, stands on the school grounds in February 2017. Dantas said the English classes and friendly environment at LDSBC have been helpful to her as an international student.