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Can I Afford an Adventist College?


My parents don’t really want me to go to an Adventist college, because it’s so expensive. Is an Adventist college education really affordable?

Steve Answers:

Attending college is expensive, whether you go to an Adventist college or not. If you’ve checked around, you’ve discovered that even going to a community college costs money. State colleges and universities cost more. And private colleges cost even more. In fact, there are colleges that are more expensive than an Adventist college!

I’m old enough to remember “the good ol’ days,” when it cost about $1,000 a year to go to an Adventist college. While that’s chump change compared to the cost today, in those days you could also buy a pretty nice new car for $2,000. So even in those days college tuition stretched the budget.But I recently talked with financial aid directors at Adventist colleges and found that students continue to fall into three socioeconomic categories:

1. Upper class. These students can afford college expenses, but they might not be able to get a new sports car to match their new college wardrobe.

2. Lower class. These students certainly can’t afford college, but free money is often available, especially to those who’ve gotten good grades and good scores on the college entrance exam.

3. Middle class. These students are too rich to get many grants and too poor to have much extra cash. So they often struggle. I’m guessing you probably fall into this third category.

Now, if your family has the money but would have to sacrifice some of the things they (and you) have grown accustomed to, maybe you all simply don’t value an Adventist college education. Because when something’s extremely important to people, they’ll sacrifice other things in order to get what they highly value. So ask yourself, How much value do I place on an Adventist college education? How much value do my parents place on it?

When I went to college my parents intended to pay for it. But because of unforeseen circumstances, I found myself getting no financial help from them and not qualifying for education grants (free money) or loans (money you pay back for years to come).

I remember working long hours, cutting corners wherever I could, and having to wait in gut-wrenching lines to make “special arrangements” each quarter so I could register for classes. Not surprisingly, the classes I took meant a lot to me—because it took so much just to be there.When you’re considering a college, common sense says, “Just do the math. How much does it cost? How much do you have? If you have enough money, then you get to go; if not, well, forget it.”But that approach fails to take into account the power of God. If you approach your situation without considering the “God factor,” then you may as well throw out these miraculous stories: David and Goliath; Daniel in the lions’ den; Jesus walking on water; the Israelites in slavery walking out on the most powerful country of their day (and being paid on their way out—check out Exodus 12:36!); Lazarus being resurrected; God becoming a human being . . . and I could go on and on.Paying for your Adventist college education isn’t a problem for God. His only problem might be choosing which way He wants to make it happen.

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