Every semester students walk into my office and ask for financial help. The value proposition of higher education by and large is under question in many circles. Within the biblical worldview, there seem to be two competing ideas. The first is an aversion to debt. The second is a hope that we can better our lives through learning and education according to biblical principles. In today’s culture, these seem to be in conflict. Is Christian Higher Education worth it? What could possibly make this large expense valuable enough to justify the investment?
Christian Education is worth it! It can accomplish what no other form of education can – connecting a person to the soul as well as the mind. This may not speak to the outcomes-focused world we live in. The world can teach, train, and equip a student for a job. The world fails, however, to give a satisfying answer to the question of why it is important to be taught, trained and equipped for a job in the first place.
Christian Education enables a student to contribute to a cause that they are passionate about. God has designed within us a need to dedicate our lives to something that is bigger than the lives we dedicate. Revelation 12:11 says, “They overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb, and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives, even when faced with death” [NASB 95 update]. While, contextually, this talks about believers overcoming the enemy of their souls, the Devil, it is not stretching the text to point out that this verse does show us that there are causes, namely the glory and honor of God, that are worth our lives. A student may become a success in business, the arts, or athletics. They may even become prestigious as a doctor, or nurse, or as a counselor. Sadly though, if what a student dedicates her life to, does not outlast her life, how can that be seen as an investment and not merely a short-lived transaction? We have the opportunity, as Christian educators, to teach our students how to invest in the kingdom that will last for eternity. We can mobilize them to affect the eternal fate of souls.
Christian Education is worth it because Christian Education does provide a fully orbed educational gateway that propels students into opportunities that would not be available to them otherwise. Christian Education does provide for economic stability every bit as well as secular education. The Council on Christian Colleges and Universities commissioned a study in March of 2018 that showed, in part, that Christian Higher Education pumps over $60 billion into the national economy each year. USA Today, in an article in 2017, says, “College graduates, on average, earned 56% more than high school grads in 2015, according to data compiled by the Economic Policy Institute. That was up from 51% in 1999 and is the largest such gap in EPI’s figures dating to 1973.” The article says that the pay gap between all college graduates and those without college degrees is at its widest point ever. While these statistics are for all colleges, secular and Christian, they affirm the idea that students at Christian colleges are in no way at a disadvantage in the job market.
The real question to investigate is not, “What will I get for the money I pay to have a Christian Education,” it is, “What will I forfeit if I do not invest in an education from a biblical worldview?”
In short, yes, it is worth it to join with hundreds of thousands of students and families who are in Christian colleges and universities. Together, we can change the world for Him who gave His life for it!
Written by: Chris Eppling, Vice President of Student Services
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