Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Christians & Colleges: What your parents and teachers don't tell you, and what could cost you dearly.

Now that the school year is over for many high school seniors, their next big move is to decide which college (if any) they should attend. Unfortunately, there is a lot of ignorance and deception with regards to finding the right college, and these poor kids are led like sheep to the slaughter by those closest to them, namely their teachers and even their own parents. As someone who sees the light on this matter, I think it's my duty to warn others, and hopefully help many from going down the path of serious suffering. 

Many might think that I'm going to talk about the moral depravity going on inside and outside the classrooms of almost all of these institutions of higher learning, but I'm going to address a most pernicious issue that even many of the good Christian institutions (both Catholic and Protestant) are caught up in. 

The problem I'm going to talk about here is the issue of tuition. Everyone knows deep down there is a problem, but most don't think twice about it. Simply stated, the great majority of college students leave college (with or without a degree) saddled with massive debts, and I think something is very wrong with this picture. The matter is principally one of sheer greed on the part of colleges, with the generally gullible and misinformed "guidance" of high school counselors, teachers, and parents. 

A parent, teacher, or counselor who is truly concerned about the well being of an 18 year old child would never suggest the child put themselves in a position to be saddled with tens of thousands of dollars of crippling debts. Obviously, that's a very unchristian thing to do, but tens of thousands of these 'role models' effectively send tens of thousands of these children to sign away their freedom.

To get to the heart of the problem, people need to realize that the great majority of colleges follow a business model, meaning the primary goal of the college is to make a profit, with the secondary goal being to educate. This already means that the very notion of college has been effectively corrupted, since the well being of the person is subordinated to the profit making motives of the institution. This is nowhere more plain than when it comes to the sickening issue of "financial aid." 

The term "financial aid" is very innocent sounding, giving the impression that the less well off should be equally entitled to an education as the rich folks. But that's not what "financial aid" is nor has been for quite a while. Consider the fact a majority of students at most colleges have to rely on financial aid and loans. What this translates into is that the school knows it can charge an outrageous sum of money for tuition, and the government will pick up the tab, with the student being saddled with loans for the remainder of the cost. This isn't an exception, it's the norm, and it's happening on even the most reputable Catholic colleges. Common sense should tell anyone that if a college's primary income is based on "financial aid," then something about the tuition costs is not right.

I think the tuition for a single year at a typical college should be around $10,000. Of course, that sounds unrealistic to most people, but if you stop and think about it, that's a very reasonable number. This amount minimizes the need for loans, minimizes debts, and still gives the college a decent income to cover expenses. Plus, it makes it more reasonable and realistic to pay off any loans if all the student can find is a minimum wage job. Sadly, even good Catholic places like Franciscan University of Steubenville charge around $30,000 per year (including room and board), which means most students will be forced to rely on financial aid and leave school with many thousands of dollars in debt.

So what's the right approach? I think the first thing that all these kids need to know is that getting into massive debt isn't smart and that there are reasonable alternatives. These kids deserve to be warned about that rather than being given the impression they shouldn't worry about going in debt. They need to know that it's perfectly fine to start off at a community college and attend college close to home (so as to at least minimize room and board expenses). They need to know that it's not acceptable to feed into these greedy institutions or turn to financial aid as a primary means of paying for such things. And Catholics in general need to be aware that even most Catholic colleges are greed based institutions, and this greed feeds into the overall lessening of Catholic values as a result.

I don't care how Catholic a college claims to be, if they're saddling students with massive debts, they've failed their duty and are acting in a very unchristian manner. The madness needs to stop.


Anonymous said...

Fisher More College is a small private Catholic College in Fort Worth, TX and has a tuition of about $10,000 per year (includes board).
Great post.

Nick said...

That must be the one that Dr Taylor Marshall and some of his friends recently established. That's AWESOME news!!

Thanks for your post!

Anonymous said...

Yeah! Take that Protestants!

James Jordan said...

Honestly I think anyone with half a brain realizes that debt is bad. This is why traditionally if your parents couldn't afford to send you to college and you didn't get a scholarship, you just didn't go. Nobody was stupid enough to put themselves into debt they could never pay back. Why people today are suddenly stupid enough to do it, I don't know. Probably because they imagine some political savior (such as they thought Obama would be) will come along and just force all the banks to forgive their debts. The young generations these days are raised to be narcissists. The homosexuality debate proves that doesn't it --they should get to do whatever they want just because they said so, nothing matters and nobody else matters.

James Jordan said...

"I think the tuition for a single year at a typical college should be around $10,000."

This is the other part of the equation. The college I went to was at about that level. I had a full scholarship most of the time, but I lost it and had to get a loan for 2 semesters, which I paid back fairly easily once I got a job. Now, why did I go to this cheap school instead of some party school? That's answers itself doesn't it!!! Why did I go to this cheap school instead of an Ivy League school? Because I'm not stupid. I didn't want to drown myself in debt. Its the childrens' faults for choosing to go to the party school that costs more, the one far away from their parents where they can go buck-wild, etc. I have no sympathy for idiots.

Nick said...


While I agree with your overall point, I don't agree with your conclusion that we should let kids destroy their lives. It's definitely their parents and high school teachers that encourage this move and ultimately give the approval. Kids are generally stupid in virtue of their naivete and we need to be mature enough to say that. And thus it's the duty of those better informed to protect them, not let them "learn from their mistakes" (e.g. going in debt, fornicating) which was a tragic and unchristian philosophy of the 60s-90s. There's no sense in letting a child get mortally wounded to 'teach them a lesson' since most of them would not put themselves in danger if they knew better and had better guidance.

James Jordan said...

Do you think the parents have enough brains to teach them anything? If they did, they wouldn't have put themselves in such debt. As to high school teachers, who listens to them? I guess the kids whose parents pay no attention to them; they become the surrogate parents. So the problem is the dead-beat parents; you're right. What's the solution? Aside from putting people to death for committing fornication I don't think you can solve the problem of bad parents.

Nick said...

My goal with this post is to raise awareness. I think that has huge potential. I especially want faithful Catholics to know better, since even those with the best intentions are sending their children to Catholic colleges that charge too much. If I could prevent even one child from going into thousands of dollars in debt, this would totally make this post well worth it.

Nick said...

Forget Geico insurance, this advice can and will save people THOUSANDS.

Anonymous said...

Dear James Jordan,

The problem is not the deadbeat parents. Their children are not typically those who go onto college. The problem is with the involved parents who push their children into massie debt to "get ahead" or "prepare for their future" or whatever. These parents need to realize that a college degree does not always translate into a high-paying job, so if a high-paying job is necessary to pay off college debt, then attending college is not a prudent decision.

Priscilla said...

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