got me a college girl

in celebration of formal education in the life of the Christian girl

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

what about college debt? (Karen)

I thought it would be a great idea to jump right in and discuss one of the points that was suggested in the previous entry's comment debt.

When I graduated from college, a private Christian school, I had several thousand dollars of debt. My husband had no debt but joined the military which, as a side benefit considering the poor military pay, also allowed us to have a waiver so that I wouldn't need to start paying my debt back until his term of enlistment was completed. That is exactly what we did though it was nearly 10 years after my graduation before the loans were paid off.

Thankfully and through God's gracious providence, my oldest three children were able to go through college with no debt at all. Now we are looking at the 4th child to enter college and since he wants to attend a private Christian school where the costs are nearly $20,000.00 per year, we are trying to find the best way to get the most for our money. The plan so far is to have him take his gen eds via distance learning and save about $14,000.00. We are also looking into the scholarship/grant options.

So I have been thinking alot about the costs of a college degree and have bounced around these ideas with others. It seems that the cost of getting an education plays a major role in whether or not people thing girls ought to attend college. I have talked with several people who think that it is not a wise investment to put a daughter through college. I have heard others say that because men are to be the breadwinners, we should spend our college money on the boys first and then the girls if there is anything left over. I have read articles that support this view and hear these ideas being taught at homeschooling conferences. Here is an example of this line of reasoning:

Finally, some criticize the “patriarchs” for not wanting to invest in an expensive college education for their daughters because we “we need more young ladies in law, school, medicine, the arts and so on.” Again, this criticism assumes a modern cultural value and established it as the norm despite the fact that it has no biblical warrant and constitutes social suicide. Even the radical feminists today admit that women cannot adequately function as both a “career” woman and mother. A simple examination of the birth rates for professional women shows that the more highly educated a women becomes, the LESS likely she is to get married and the LESS likely to have children. Thus, this writer is actually encouraging brilliant Christian women to take a course of action that will mean cutting off their genetic inheritance for future generations! We do not need MORE female Christian lawyers, doctors or artists, but MORE godly women raising MORE godly children who will fill the earth and subdue it to the glory of God. And does it really make economic sense to invest tens of thousands of dollars for a woman to get an advanced education (often having to go into debt to finance that education) that she will NOT use if she accepts that her highest calling is to be a wife and mother? Thus, this “reformer” is actually encouraging a sociological system that impoverishes the family and reduces its ability to exercise godly dominion.

Of course, I disagree that educating a young woman is not good use of financial resources. But I have thought about those years when I had all the college debt and it took a bite out of the family budget to pay it off. I believe it was worth it for me to go to college but I wish my parents and I had had a better plan for paying for it. Any thoughts....


  • At 11:31 AM, Blogger james3v1 said…

    I know I come from the "other camp" on this issue, but since leaving college my longest standing criticism of that particular format of formal education is the cost.

    I personally think that even if one is going to obtain a college education it should be done without debt. If I don't make my house payments the bank takes my house, and so I've been able to argue that I am not in surety because of it. If one doesn't pay for his college debt it's not like the education can be taken away.

    Anyhoo--what if parents who want children to have a further education started (or took over an existing) a private college that would be structured in two ways: 1) costs would attempt to be kept down by having instructors who were doing something else as well as teaching and having no dorms and 2) the costs were set in such a way that a single student could "work his (or her) way through" college without debt?

    If college is important (and it seems to be the thrust of this blog that it is) we ought to be able to figure out a way to work together as the body of Christ to pursue this educational method without debt, it seems to me.

    Even though I have questions about college (and its value) for both my boys and girls I would be glad to help you all to brainstorm ways to pursue formal education debt free for your children. Just because some of us disagree doesn't mean that we don't want to be helpful. :)

  • At 12:15 PM, Blogger Rachel said…

    I was blessed in that I was able to make it through college with not only no debt, but I also only paid for less then one year of my five years of education. I know this isn't possible for everyone, but here is my expirience.

    My first semester of college I didn't really know what I wanted to do so I took two classes (math & english) at the local community college (ICC) for a tuition cost of about $300. My second semester I decided that I liked math and school enough to go full time. This time my tuition payment was about $500. By the end of my first year at ICC I decided that I wanted to pursue a degree in math and applied for got into the honors program at ICC which gives a tuition wavier for those in the program. My next two years at ICC were completely without tuition cost.

    ICC offers a scholarship for those transfering from ICC to Bradley University after completing an associates degree. I applied for and got this scholarship. This scholarship paid all the tuition for my last two years at Bradley University (totaling $17,000). Thus, I graduated last May with absolutely no debt and I paid at total of $800 in tuition for my entire education. Of course, this did not include the cost of books and other things the are required for school, but still it was a significant help.

    It was my expirience that the full transfer scholarship that ICC offered was not very well known. I would encourage anyone looking at saving money on college tuition to check out their local community college (or distance learning as Karen mentioned). Also throughly check into what sort of tuition help the school offers. Good grades are also a great help in getting scholarships. I had a 4.0 GPA at ICC (no I didn't have a life), which I believed help me greatly in my scholarship applications. So consider all your options and don't slack off on your homework.

  • At 4:47 AM, Blogger james3v1 said…


    God be praised that He provided for you so generously in this!

  • At 5:27 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…


    I guess you never heard of Clay's great vision for a college/seminary on Aspen Hill.

  • At 5:30 AM, Blogger prairie girl said…


    Mollie and I agreed that your post was so inspirational and really addressed some important issues like hard work and a creative approach to getting a degree.

    Maybe you and TJ can come over for dinner on my deck while you are home and we can chat more about college girl etc. What do you think?

  • At 9:33 PM, Blogger TulipGirl said…

    "I personally think that even if one is going to obtain a college education it should be done without debt."

    This was our approach when Hubby and I were in college. To be honest, I regret it--especially for Hubby. It made the process much longer and drawn out (which has its perks). But on the other hand, here we are in our early 30s, with four kids, and he's in grad school. We'll go for scholarships, grants, student teaching--and yes, loans. At this point, the time spent working our way through undergrad I think would have been better spent being more focused on finishing college and grad school.

    Then again, that's not what we did. I wouldn't trade the past ten years and its experiences. *grin* But I'm not as opposed to college debt as I used to be.

  • At 11:34 AM, Blogger Rachel said…

    Prairie girl,

    Sounds like fun. I'm especially looking forward to seeing your deck. We will be up for a visit on Labor Day. I'll give you a call.

  • At 11:02 PM, Blogger Dave said…

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