Sunday, November 16, 2014

Debt To Attend A Christian School?

Okay, so, here is a bit of a "zinger" topic...one that can bring up some emotion. But, does anyone else struggle with how much Christian colleges cost?
Look, I understand they don't get state funding and they desire to have top-notch professors...and all that costs money. This is NOT necessarily a post saying they should lower tuition costs. I'm actually thinking of this from the other angle - the students who make the decisions to go the school. I value and appreciate the desire to get a "Christian" education and experience in college and I happen to think there is a place for it.
But...
Screen Shot 2014-11-14 at 10.44.36 AMWhat about all these people getting youth ministry degrees and going $30-50k in debt for it? How does that make sense? What about those that just want to be a pre-school teacher or go into social work? The debt for these types of people just doesn't make sense to me anymore.
I can't tell you how many people I know that are completely strapped because of their school debt. For instance, people like my friend who's wife accumulated a bunch of debt to get a nursing degree...and yet now she just wants to stay at home with her children, but has to work 2 days a week JUST to pay for the debt. Such a huge bummer. Or what about another friend who went to a private Christian school to get a ministry degree, but recently had to back out of ministry because he wasn't making enough to pay for the debt?
The national average of school debt of college grads is $28,400, but for those attending private schools the average debt is just short of $40,000. The average cost to attend a private, non-profit four year college is $42,419 a year, including housing and meal plan. On the other hand, the average cost for an in-state public college is just $22,826.
To be fair here, I attended a private Christian college. But, I chose a different route: I worked my way through and paid as I went. Sure, it took me 7 1/2 years to complete, but I graduated with zero debt. For me, I figured that was better than graduating in 4-5 years and then having to pay school debt back for the next 10+ years. I'm not suggesting what I did is the best way for everyone...but I am a bit frustrated that so many people are simply defaulting to loans just to attend a private school rather than really thinking through other possible options. For some vocations, the cost of private school just doesn't make any sense to me anymore. Intimate involvement in a local church seems to solve a lot of the issues that drive people to attend private Christian schools.
Am I totally off here?