In the late nineteenth century, Brownwood, Texas residents looking for a Baptist institution of higher learning were trapped by their location, too far from Waco across unforgiving and Native American populated Texas desert. As a result, 1889 saw the chartering of Howard Payne College, which would drop to junior college status briefly at the turn of the century, but would eventually become a graduate degree granting University by 1974.
Fielding a first session with a staff of 12 faculty and additional teachers to handle sub-freshman education for the area, Howard Payne has grown over the century to offer a private, liberal arts based degree to many both near and far (distance learning is available). Today, 90% of classes are taught by full time faculty, with a 1400 member student body that enjoys a 12:1 student faculty ratio.
Howard Payne offers Associate and Bachelor degrees across more than 50 different majors of study with certifications and post-professional education offered. Often receiving top awards from US News and World Report for academic quality at a great price (it’s been #2 among western colleges two years out of the last three), it houses six schools: Science&Math, Business, Christian Studies, Education, Music&Fine Arts, and Humanities. Retaining its Christian fundamentals to this day, students in majors from Business to Education are required to attend Chapel and Student Assembly in regularly in order to graduate, part of their mission to instill a “lifestyle of servant leadership within the heart, mind, and body of every student”. Music and Christian Studies programs at HPU are widely recognized.
Howard Payne does offer the opportunity to complete many of its general education requirements online, designed for their students’ “convenience and flexibility” it helps “avoid “the headaches and costs associated with commuting”. A dozen or more are offered every semester, through their HP Portal delivery system. Furthermore, they offer an online Master’s degree in Educational-Instructional Leadership, certifying graduate students to become Texas state principals. Though out-of-state students are still required to ensure credits/certifications transfer, all information is delivered online and culminates in an internship that usually takes place at the school they currently teach at. Their other Master’s of Arts in Youth Ministry degree is also offered without in class attendance, using online means and work/internship within the student’s present youth ministry position (42 hours of coursework combined with 3 semesters on internship).
Howard Payne is also known for its MacArthur Academy of Freedom, their multidisciplinary Honors program that takes the best and brightest from HPU and puts them in additional programs meant to help mold them in to the ethical leaders of tomorrow. Founded in 1962, it is constructed to challenge students, working with their advisors to construct a curriculum that result in thorough preparation for the chosen career.
Howard Payne is preparing students for the 21st century now, “through quality academic programs, a commitment to its Christian heritage, and the desire for students to develop leadership abilities”.