International Board of Education releases global statistics

Global Ministry Center

Official enrollment figures are in for the Church of the Nazarene’s 52 colleges, universities, and seminaries.

Nazarene institutions reported a total of 51,555 students enrolled for the 2016 school year, continuing a trend of record-breaking growth for several institutions over the past four years. The 2016 enrollment figures show an increase of 10,754 students over the last decade when compared to 2006 enrollment figures.

Another global trend is the number of new leaders, often young leaders, moving into positions of leadership in Nazarene institutions.

“This is an exciting trend,” said Dan Copp, Church of the Nazarene education commissioner. “The church needs to be praying for these new leaders and, indeed, all our leaders. The developing leader has much to learn in a very short time. All of our school leaders, faculty, and governing board members have a lot of responsibility. Please be praying for them. Pray also for the students as they study and those in the process of decision-making.”

Choosing where to engage in education for life and service continues to be one of the most important discipleship decisions a person will make. Regardless of the level of education, from diploma to PhD, or the field of study, it is a significant season in the development and spiritual formation of the student. Nazarene higher education provides opportunities for students to be formed and trained as followers of Jesus and leaders who live and serve from a Christian worldview.

Higher education is a core commitment of the Church of the Nazarene as pastors are raised up and prepared to lead churches and lay leaders begin to engage the world as nurses, teachers, artist, musicians, scientists, and leaders in a broad range of fields.

“We continue to support our schools as they face the challenges of educating our church and lay leaders to impact a global community,” Copp said.

While economic trends, shifting politics, and growing competition create environments that challenge higher education, technology is opening new doors and allowing Nazarene institutions to collaborate, extend their reach into places previously off limits, and serve populations that were without access to education either because of politics or economic status.

“The International Board of Education is beginning to deploy and support key systems for our most vulnerable schools globally,” Copp said.

These systems include a student information system, which serves as the administrative system controlling all the student and faculty data of the institution. This customized system, GNECsis (pronounced Genesis), is being programed and deployed by IBOE staff.

“Instead of charging the schools a licensing fee to use the system, we are asking the schools to offset the cost of the system by working collaboratively to provide support and training to the other schools on their region,” Copp said.

OPALS, the library cataloguing system already deployed on three regions, led in all categories in the recently released ninth annual Library Automation Perceptions Report. It is a good example of the quality of the systems provided to the institutions.

Education has been a core commitment of the Church of the Nazarene since its inception, and Copp believes its schools are one of the great treasures God has given the church to advance His mission in the world. 

"Our Nazarene college, university, and seminary leaders need the prayers of the people of God,” Copp said. “We want to encourage you to regularly lift our school leaders to the Lord in your daily prayer. These Godly leaders faithfully serve their schools and the church, and your prayer support will help them lead wisely in times when changes create tremendous opportunities."

To learn more and for guides on offering prayers of support for these leaders, visit the IBOE website at

"If you are a potential student considering where you might attend school, take a close look at our Nazarene schools as a valuable choice for your education and continued discipleship," Copp said. "If you are a parent, pastor, teacher, or friend offering counsel to a student considering where to go to school, consider our Nazarene schools where students are intentionally nurtured as disciples of Jesus to engage in the mission to make Christlike disciples in the nations."

For the 2016 higher education global statistics report, click here.

--International Board of Education