Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary is reaching out to alumni in a locked-down world with the opportunity to audit classes—tuition free.

Alumni from Ecuador to Kansas are taking advantage of a program that allows them to audit—no academic credit, but all the information and none of the tests—one class each semester. Auditing classes has been done face-to-face for years, but the idea gained new possibilities since the seminary went to virtual instruction due to COVID-19.

“Our alums are scattered across the country and across the globe so many wouldn’t usually be able to take advantage of a free alumni audit,” said Valerie Rempel, Ph.D., vice president and dean of the seminary. “It is all about accessibility when programs have to go online— it makes other things possible and, in this case, enlarges the learning community in the virtual classroom.”

The question of virtual auditing was first posed on Facebook by a local seminary grad in response to a news release about Fresno Pacific University going online for fall. Another grad, currently in ministry across the country, picked up the conversation by asking if alumni were still able to audit a free course.

Sensing an opportunity, seminary personnel worked with marketing to create an email invitation that was distributed to the alumni list. Response has been enthusiastic.

“By auditing a class I can learn more to help with my own spiritual growth, as well learn more about leading my church to know Jesus better. For pastors it is easy to just continue with the weekly tasks, but having a class pull you out of your standard rhythm to sharpen your pastoral skills, pay attention to the Spirit or equip you to lead in a new way is invaluable,” says Ben Friesen, lead pastor at Cornerstone Community Church, Topeka, KS.

M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy graduate Mónica Báez-López, in Quito, Ecuador, posted on Facebook: “What a strange world we live it! But we hope not for long! This strange world has given me an FPU account again and a chance to audit a seminary class with Mark Baker! I’m SOOO happy!” 

Classes include favorites like:

  • Theological Understandings of Jesus, Mark Baker, Ph.D., professor of mission and theology
  • Gospel of Mark, Tim Geddert, Ph.D., professor and program director of New Testament

Among the new offerings are:

  • Interpreting the Signs of the Times, Brian Ross, D.Min., associate professor and program director of the Christian ministry, master of divinity and ministry leadership and culture programs

A $20 registration fee does apply. See the full Fall 2020 schedule here. More about auditing at

Contact the Seminary Admission Office at 559-453-2310



Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations