YPLA Partners with YIEP to Offer College Degrees


YPLA Partners with YIEP to Offer College Degrees

Yehudis Litvak

Yeshiva Program Los Angeles (YPLA), a program for post-high school young men, hosted two open houses to introduce the community to its new partnership with the Yeshiva Initiatives Educational Programs (YIEP).  Now the local students will be able to complete a college degree at YPLA.

YPLA, under the auspices of the LINK Kollel, is a dynamic morning learning program, offering yeshiva level learning while allowing the students to study or work in the afternoons. The morning seder consists of chavrusa time and a Gemara shiur by Rabbi Yisroel Casen, Maggid Shiur and Mashgiach Ruchani at YPLA, as well as halachah and hashkafah shiurim, peer workshops on tefillah and mussar, and open Q&A sessions, where the students can discuss pressing issues with their mentors. In addition, YPLA offers trips and shabbatons. There is also a full night seder, open to post-high school young men.

Rabbi Aryeh Steinman, Program Director, says that over 100 students have benefited from YPLA in the three years of its existence. But Rabbi Steinman has a broader vision. He would like to expand the program and enable his students to also earn a college degree “in an environment of kedushah.” Towards that goal, YPLA is joining forces with YIEP, which provides a college education to many yeshivos and seminaries across the country.

YIEP, headed by Rabbi Pesach Lerner, works together with Bellevue University, a fully accredited university in Omaha, Nebraska, to provide an online program which is equivalent in quality to the in-person program offered to students of Bellevue University. The online program offered by YIEP is especially designed for the Orthodox community and adjusted to the Jewish calendar. The students never have to worry about missing class on yom tov. Everyone in the class is Orthodox, as are some of the professors. Other professors are not Jewish, but very familiar with the Orthodox community and sensitive to the students’ needs.

Another advantage of YIEP is that it has “documented that Judaism is real knowledge,” explains Rabbi Lerner. The students get college credits for their yeshiva classes, thus fulfilling the core non-major requirements. They are able to begin their chosen major right away and finish their degree within two years.

YIEP currently offers Bachelor’s degrees in Business, Behavioral Science/Human Services, and Cyber Security and other computer related fields. Other majors may be available upon request.

On a graduate level, YIEP offers MS in clinical counseling, Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA), MA in educational leadership, and Master of Business Administration (MBA). Rabbi Lerner is especially excited about the counseling program, which allows yeshiva and seminary graduates to pursue a professional career and provide counseling to the Orthodox community without being exposed to aspects of secular counseling courses that are not appropriate for our community.

Those students who wish to pursue graduate education elsewhere are able to do so with an undergraduate degree from Bellevue University. YIEP graduates have been accepted into Harvard, Yale, Columbia, NYU and other graduate programs of their choice. “I’m not aware of any student who was not accepted where they wanted to go,” says Rabbi Lerner.

The open houses generated enthusiasm in Los Angeles and beyond. Over 20 interested individuals attended, and some already requested application materials. There is also some interest from students outside of Los Angeles, and Rabbi Steinman is hoping to eventually provide dorm accommodations for out of town students. “Since this was the first time YPLA and YIEP created a partnership, we feel it’s a good start,” concludes Rabbi Lerner.

More information on YPLA can be found at https://www.ypla.org, by email at info@ypla.org.