In response to a perceived crisis in faith within college communities, a new Christian college will open this fall in Boston.
Named in honor of a 16th-century German Anabaptist martyr, Sattler College promotes “A Revolution in Christian higher education.”
Sattler is sponsored and led by Finny Kuruvilla, who holds an MD and PhD in Chemistry from Harvard, among other degrees. A practicing Christian, Kuruvilla has broad experience in investment fund management and venture capital. According to the Boston Globe, Kuruvilla has guaranteed $30 million of his money to fund the school.
Kuruvilla explained how colleges subvert faith during the time when students’ beliefs are most malleable:
“70-80% of our young people are no longer part of a faith community, are no longer practicing their faith by the time they’re in their 20’s. We are losing tremendous numbers of young people. College is actually, for most people, the first environment in which they experience a form of discipleship. Now, it may not be a good form, but there’s a form of discipleship.
“Now we have this incubator, this environment, where you have intensive companionship being practiced, i.e. discipleship. The people who are overseeing that are 99% non-Christian. Literally 99% non-Christian.”
Noting Jesus’s lesson that “Everyone, when he is fully trained, will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40), Kuruvilla described the opportunity to influence students with better mentors:
“There is a law–I call it “The Iron Law of Education”–that you are going to be sculpted and become more and more like your teachers. By creating a college, we can create an environment where we’re using this iron law of education for good and not for our harm, and it can be in an environment where faith is grown and sustained rather than squashed.”
The new school’s board and faculty currently consists of six educators.
Kuruvilla explained how Sattler’s leadership began envisioning the nature of their school: “We got out a clean sheet of paper and tried to reimagine what higher education could look like in the 21st century.”
The vision, he explained, centered on three C’s: Cost, Core curriculum, and Christian discipleship.
Tuition will be $9,000 annually. “Our tuition is 80% less than tuition at the average college in America,” Kuruvilla said.
The school’s initial curriculum provides for four-year BA or BS degrees. Available concentrations include Human Biology, Computer Science, Biblical and Religious Studies, History and Literature, and Business and Economics.
Regarding the third C, Christian discipleship, Kuruvilla explained: “Our students have to go through a four-year discipleship program where in small groups they are developed in areas like their prayer life, areas like fellowship, evangelism, the ability to walk in holiness, in purity with the Lord.”
Sattler will be based in a Boston office building, but coursework involves a combination of online study and in-class discussions led by faculty.
Sattler’s website currently announces that the first 30 accepted applicants recieve full funding for first year tuition. The application deadline for fall enrollment is January 15.