Bethel University - Tennessee


Bethel is a private, faith-based, 4-year university with a supportive academic environment designed to help you succeed.

Contact information

Mailing address:
Bethel University
325 Cherry Avenue
McKenzie, TN 38201


Phone: 731-352-4000


Organization details

EIN: 620548913

CEO/President: Walter Butler


Board size: 25


Year founded: 1946

Tax deductible: Yes

Fiscal year end: 07/31

Member of ECFA: No

Member of ECFA since:


Bethel University creates a learning community which:

Accepts individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences, and beliefs.

Offers opportunities for individuals to contribute to the University and to other communities in a variety of ways.

Emphasizes human dignity and ethics that are consistent with the Christian tradition.

Encourages inquiry and the examination of values, self, and society.

Prepares individuals for the life-long pursuit of knowledge in a complex and constantly changing world.

Mission statement

Bethel University's mission is to create opportunities for members of the learning community to develop in a Christian environment to their highest intellectual, spiritual, and social potential. This includes synchronous and asynchronous modes of education.

Statement of faith

Transparency grade


To understand our transparency grade, click here.

Financial efficiency ratings

Sector: Colleges/Universities

CategoryRatingOverall rankSector rank
Overall efficiency rating324 of 66049 of 86
Fund acquisition rating282 of 66238 of 86
Resource allocation rating472 of 66266 of 86
Asset utilization rating236 of 66030 of 86

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Balance sheet
Receivables, inventories, prepaids$24,892,342$20,154,002$17,441,431$15,958,983$13,724,063
Short-term investments$3,298,073$3,606,138$3,270,182$3,083,751$3,130,304
Other current assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total current assets$29,865,990$25,361,916$22,096,701$20,615,873$18,605,280
Long-term investments$5,416,882$7,522,339$4,183,462$4,025,524$6,945,517
Fixed assets$65,830,139$67,948,834$72,906,071$74,163,753$57,283,818
Other long-term assets$488,319$469,244$451,432$0$0
Total long-term assets$71,735,340$75,940,417$77,540,965$78,189,277$64,229,335
Total assets$101,601,330$101,302,333$99,637,666$98,805,150$82,834,615
Payables and accrued expenses$3,213,835$3,304,184$4,280,713$6,881,649$7,448,613
Other current liabilities$1,740,330$2,673,907$3,331,149$2,793,384$25,639,119
Total current liabilities$4,954,165$5,978,091$7,611,862$9,675,033$33,087,732
Due to (from) affiliates$0$0$0$0$0
Other long-term liabilities$227,849$227,849$308,557$347,309$411,781
Total long-term liabilities$59,827,945$59,285,811$56,294,518$53,846,760$24,832,072
Total liabilities$64,782,110$65,263,902$63,906,380$63,521,793$57,919,804
Net assets20192018201720162015
Temporarily restricted$168,026$838,101$838,973$2,074,644$2,252,644
Permanently restricted$11,392,330$10,889,581$10,759,763$10,334,550$10,587,215
Net assets$36,819,220$36,038,431$35,731,286$35,283,357$24,914,811
Revenues and expenses
Total contributions$2,055,531$5,237,337$5,176,990$13,243,848$3,973,071
Program service revenue$59,850,173$61,085,805$64,898,639$68,658,504$74,397,940
Membership dues$0$0$0$0$0
Investment income$8,137$19,376$250,061$116,385$181,505
Other revenue$52,199$81,360$125,483$100,493($11,267)
Total other revenue$59,910,509$61,186,541$65,274,183$68,875,382$74,568,178
Total revenue$61,966,040$66,423,878$70,451,173$82,119,230$78,541,249
Program services$49,310,268$55,708,365$58,410,425$60,284,172$64,681,383
Management and general$12,208,481$10,697,885$11,266,032$10,794,927$11,312,828
Total expenses$61,826,693$66,726,601$70,340,581$71,969,138$76,970,429
Change in net assets20192018201720162015
Surplus (deficit)$139,347($302,723)$110,592$10,150,092$1,570,820
Other changes in net assets$0$0$0$0$0
Total change in net assets$139,347($302,723)$110,592$10,150,092$1,570,820

Response from ministry

No response has been provided by this ministry.


In 1842, Bethel University was founded in McLemoresville, Tennessee, as Bethel Seminary operating under the fostering care of West Tennessee Synod of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Bethel College was granted a charter by the State of Tennessee in 1847 and operated as Bethel College until 2009 when the trustees voted to change its name to Bethel University. Bethel's first president was Rev. Reuben Burrow, who served for 20 years. During his presidency, Rev. Burrow also served as a fundraiser, a member of the Board of Visitors, head of the Theology Department, and a teacher.

Bethel successfully weathered the economic hardship brought on by the Civil War and in 1865 admitted women for the first time.

In 1872, Bethel President W.W. Hendrix led the initiative to move Bethel from McLemoresville to its current location in McKenzie, where the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway intersected the Louisville & Nashville Railway.

During the 20th century, Bethel College made a name for itself as an outstanding church-affiliated school producing many graduates headed for the clergy, for the classroom as educators, and many other career paths.

In more recent years, the university has been an innovator, pioneering online education with Bethel's Success Adult Degree program. Bethel was also the first college in Tennessee to offer a laptop initiative where each full-time student would be provided with a laptop computer. Since then, Bethel has continued to innovate. The Renaissance Performing Arts Experience was developed to offer performing arts students scholarships, much like the scholarships awarded to student-athletes. This opportunity broadened the base of prospective students as did the introduction of a number of non-traditional athletics programs, including inline roller hockey, bowling, and bass fishing.

Master's degree programs including a Master of Arts in education, a Master of Science in physician assistant studies, a Master of Business Administration, and a Master of Arts in conflict resolution have been added through the years as options in learning platforms for the master's degree. Students can choose to learn face-to-face in the classroom, online, or via both platforms.

In 2009, the Bethel Board of Trustees voted unanimously to change Bethel College's name to Bethel University to best reflect the momentum the school was experiencing. Three colleges currently operate under the Bethel University umbrella: The College of Arts and Sciences, The College of Professional Studies, and The College of Health Sciences.

Our momentum has no signs of stopping. Last year, the football Wildcats finished the season with a 10-1 record. Our bass fishing team won a national championship. Enrollment continues to rise both in McKenzie and in our online program. Our graduates serve as leaders in government, businesses, and communities across the country.

For our students and Bethel University, the best is yet to come.

Program accomplishments