Posted by: Jay | December 1, 2007

BYU has no entrance requirements for GA’s kids.

While this information comes from what I consider to be an excellent source, I have not heard it repeated anywhere else.  If you have any additional information on the topic please feel free to comment.

I was listening to John Dehlin’s podcast at Mormon Stories this week and learned something very interesting. He has just put out a series of interviews with Dr. Ted Lyon (Son of T. Edgar Lyon) who has been employed with BYU for some years. Dr. Lyon retired and is now in Chile serving as their temple president.

During his interview he revealed that general authorities of the church receive free tuition for their children. This didn’t bother me because it is a church school and I personally know of someone called to the 1st quorum of the seventy that gave up a very high paying career to fill the church position. So, I know that there are some GA’s that are wealthy people that sacrifice all for the Lord. What bothered me was the next revelation he announced. Which was this; GA’s kids are now accepted to BYU no matter what their grades were in high school. Yes, that’s right they could be the laziest kids in the world, but they will be admitted to a school that turns away bright kids every year because there is not enough room at the church sponsored school. I really don’t understand why this decision was made. I think if this became general knowledge amongst the members Church authorities would have to do some explaining. Hundreds if not 1000’s of parents have children that are refused admission to BYU every year. I wonder what they would say to this new rule. Giving children of general authorities a free ride is one thing (i.e. a perk of the “job”), but then not requiring any standards for their children to be admitted is ridiculous.

I remember applying to BYU hoping and stressing that my meager GPA, missionary service and other community service were enough to squeeze by the narrow entrance gates. I was somewhat surprised and relieved when I got my acceptance letter. General authority children should face the same acceptance standards that the lay members’ children face. Allowing them to get in regardless of bad grades and poor performance sounds a lot like nepotism.


  1. I agree. The free ride is okay (state school do this) but they should meet the grade regs.

  2. I think it varies according to what state your in. In my state the Kids of employees get a huge discount, but still have to pay something. I’d be interested to know how many states give the free ride.

  3. Wow – if you got in with a 3.33 GPA, it sounds like the standards are pretty low anyway. Why worry about it?

  4. LOL! Although I’m sure you’re brilliant, we can’t all be Einstein. I think my extracurricular activities and service in the communities where I lived helped also.

    We should worry about it because allowing students to enter that don’t meet the minimum requirements is not right. As a student at BYU you are reminded quite often that you are taking a spot that a 1000 other kids applied for. If GA’s children are given a free ride that’s one thing, if they are allowed in despite bad grades that’s totally different. It’s not right and I’ll just take a wild stab and say that many LDS members would agree with me.

  5. Ouch. And to think that I got the grades, payed my tithing *and* tuition, and am still paying off my student loans. That sucks.

  6. I think a lot of the “hard to get into” stuff about BYU is just hype anyway. I only had a 1.8 high school GPA and BYU was the only place I even considered applying to. I never really gave it a second thought. I started there in 1991 and left the following year to pursue my education elsewhere. Utah culture was too much for me to handle, not quite as many bad experiences as the one year I lived in Orem in first grade, but bad enough for me to be willing to go ANYWHERE else. Unfortunately I still ended up landing in Utah. I guess I have come to understand that many of the unpleasant peculiarities of Utah culture are only that (unpleasant peculiarities) and not anything on which to base my own or other’s worth regardless of what those other may think. I wish I had learned that a little sooner. Maybe I would have learned some of this earlier had I stuck it out at BYU- or maybe I would have become one of those hate-filled exmormons I meet all over the place. I am sure however that if I had stayed I would have finished my undergraduate degree much faster and cheaper.
    More to your post, I am sure the main reason for this kind of policy if it exists is to make sure the GAs know their (adult) children are being “properly supervised” so they can get their work done a little better.

    • Unusual for someone that accepts Prophetic utterings to question the decision to permit GA’s children to attend free of charge. Anyone who works as hard and long as these men and women do should expect the church they represent to provide a college education. I mean a fellow is a brain surgeon and leaves that to spend the rest of his life in service….gotta count for something.

      • The Lord said to leave all you have and follow me. He didn’t say to expect a salary from me.

  7. th,
    What do you mean by “properly supervised”?

  8. Jay,

    Perhaps I’m wrong, but I don’t think it’s true that any GA kids, no matter how horrendous their grades, are admitted into BYU. Again, this information is hearsay (deemed so unreliable that it is inadmissible in a court of law) and I simply do not think it’s true. Maybe I’m wrong, but I have a strong hunch I’m not.

    • Generally speaking of church policy, because of the church’s obscure dirty past, I have come to find that what I thought was simply not true, has become the factual info. The church hides its dirt well.

  9. Given the source of the information, I am inclined to believe it. Dr. Ted Lyon was a faculty member at BYU for many years and now serves as a Temple President in Chile. If you can’t trust the word of someone like that I don’t know who you can trust.

  10. I meant that if the Gas’ kids are attending BYU this would limit to a large degree the kind of activities they are likely to participate in. If these “kids” were participating in many of the activities associated with the standard collegiate experience, I think it would worry the GAs who often are not free to travel at will, due to their schedules and locations. Activities common in this age bracket for those not in school at all could be considered as even worse. At BYU the “honor police” ( I don’t remember what their official name is but that was what everyone seemed to call them anyway) are able to do much of the supervision that the GAs think they would be doing (and some of them maybe even would be) for them, putting the GAs’ minds more at ease so they can go about their labors less distracted.

    I think it is wrong to assume that high school grades alone are a great determinant of how “lazy” or “bright” a kid is. Of course it is obvious that I would have this view or I would have been careful to have very different grades than I did. Most Universities seem to agree that it is an indication of a perspective student’s commitment and ability. Level of “commitment” and “ability” is what you mean by “lazy” and “bright”? I suppose they also believe there are some other important factors, since that isn’t the only information most of these intuitions use to evaluate applicants for admission.

    Most importantly I am pretty sure that BYU doesn’t have any actual “entrance requirements” for anyone anyway. It is my understanding that each of the applications as a whole is evaluated with some kind of weighted system (certain elements of the application matter more than others). And then compared of the other applications received.

    I know of a person that got into a state school without any real critical review of her application, based mainly on the recommendation of a large donor family of that school. I know there wasn’t any real review because she had not yet finished the application when she was registering for classes. I don’t know that any rules were bent for her. I don’t know that any rules are bent for the GA’s kids. That might very well be part of the weighted system they have for evaluating applicants. I guess it is possible that some things are just weighted enough they out-weigh all the others.

    Am I right that what you are really asking is; “Is it fair to have something that doesn’t necessarily say anything about these kids’ abilities or commitment, determine if they should have the opportunity to go to BYU instead of someone else”? It seems to me that a lot bigger opportunities in life are left to exactly the same kind of determining factors.

    Nepotism is not gone and I am not sure that the world would function better without it – maybe if the world was a very different place. I would guess that the second largest determinant of your opportunities in life (first being who your parents are) is how attractive you are. I think if you eliminated the first then the second would become the largest determinate. Who your parents are probably has more correlation with your abilities and commitment then how good you look. . In this instance this wouldn’t really be true since I don’t remember sending a picture with my application, but having a GAs parent out-weigh high school grades probably makes sense at the church school I didn’t see you say that you were told that all the other aspects of the application were eliminated, so for all we know there are other parts of the application process that would still preclude BYU attendance for these individuals.

  11. . . . yes, it sounds reliable and that’s the most dangerous form of hearsay b/c everyone tends to believe it. I’d still bet it’s not accurate. It won’t bother me if it is true, but I’d be surprised if it were.

  12. Well you know the source so take it for what it is.

  13. […] (“Mormons talk: Friends Working Toward understanding,” at:😉 […]

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