Biola ends youth academics programs

Biola Youth Academics will close due to low enrollment.

Brittany Ung, News Editor

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Biola Youth Academics, the university’s homeschool programs for grades K-12 will close at the end of the Spring 2020 semester, Biola announced on Dec. 6 in a letter to the Biola community. The closure includes the programs under BYA: Torrey Academy, Star Academics, Private School Satellite Program and Elementary Academics

“We also want to honor and thank the entire BYA and Torrey Academy teams for their dedication and service to the homeschool students and families that have benefitted from BYA and Torrey Academy over the years,” wrote Deborah Taylor, provost and senior vice president.

The President’s Cabinet made the decision following a decline of enrollment in BYA’s programs, which the university believes is caused in part by a growing number of competing homeschool and charter programs in the area. As a result, after a two-year analysis, the university has determined it is unable to continue financial investments into BYA, the university said in a media statement.

“This was a difficult Cabinet decision made with a great deal of prayer, spiritual discernment and careful analysis, particularly recognizing the impact this decision will have on BYA and Torrey Academy’s enrolled students, families, staff and instructors,” Taylor said. “Some have been part of the Biola community since BYA’s inception. We share in your sadness as we close these programs, knowing that BYA and TA have provided more than academics, but also a Christian community and support in your homeschooling endeavors.” 

The university had contacted three Christian organizations to see if they would be willing to acquire BYA, but the administrators of the organizations eventually decided against the acquisition. 

Biola will retain the Friday elementary clinicals led by the School of Education. The programs’ staff and instructors will continue through the end of the 2019-20 school year. 

Biola Youth Academics was started in 1996, serving homeschool families throughout Southern California. In that year, BYA was comprised of just two science classes, but it later began offering tutoring services as a community outreach initiative. Torrey Academy, a high school program that mirrors the classical education provided by the Torrey Honors Institute, was added in 2000. 

“We want BYA and Torrey Academy staff and instructors to feel cared for as much as possible through this closure and will do everything we can to demonstrate care, concern and integrity through this transition,” Taylor wrote.