Is College Worth It?

Is College Worth It?

Is college worth it?

This seems to be the big question these days. You know my prejudices before reading the rest of this post. And if I wrote only from the perspective of worldly wisdom, my answer would go like this:

The pay gap between college graduates and everyone else has reached a record high. “According to the new data, which is based on an analysis of Labor Department statistics by the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, Americans with four-year college degrees made 98 percent more an hour on average in 2013 than people without a degree…. The decision not to attend college for fear that it’s a bad deal is among the most economically irrational decisions anybody could make in 2014.” (David Leonhardt, The Upshot, May 27, 2014) The value of a college education has never been higher. Trevecca students graduate with an average debt less than the price of a mid-sized used car and will go on to earn half-a-million to a million more during their lifetime than their non-degreed peers.

But this answer, while true, bows to the wrong God. Money has been elevated to a position once held by God, the ultimate justifier. President Obama and the US Department of Education are rolling out new requirements that the incomes of college graduates must be tracked for proof that they make money. The one common religion that encompasses the entire world is the pursuit of wealth. Now the only sanctioned reason for going to college is to make more money.

While I am committed to an education that enables a graduate to do great work, I believe the reason for a Christian university is much more radical. We are training cultural and economic missionaries who invade every field of human work with an alternate view of reality. Our graduates believe that the kingdom of God comes as we do the will of the Father on earth as it is done in heaven.

What if there was a college that graduated people marked by the character of God, whose work ethic was driven by their moral values, and whose concern for the neighbor made the world more just and gracious?

What if there was a college that taught its graduates how to make a life?

I went to one. I work at one. It’s called Trevecca. And it’s worth every penny.


  1. adonna scoulld says

    Sounds nice, but tell that to your cash-cow, the MHR program. Its all good to say this about your undergrads but they don’t provide revenue for your highly expensive institution. Those graduates returning to further their education aren’t interested in changing culture, only their incomes. And that is what TNU uses to lure them in to the program. Same today as it was ten years ago.

  2. Lisa McCleese says

    As a graduate myself from a Nazarene university (MVNU), and with a daughter who is a TNU graduate, I wholeheartedly agree with the value of an institution that teaches young people how to live a life for God in the midst of whatever vocation they choose. This has always been incredibly important but even more so now as the institutional church loses it’s influence. That said, I must admit that it breaks my heart that my daughter pays nearly $700 a month in student loans from attending Trevecca (even after having received a scholarship every year). Both of my children attended private universities and worked through college as well as financed their own education (I’m still paying on my own student loans from MVNU). My son’s college was about twice the cost of Trevecca, but he was trained as an engineer and is able to make his loan payments with no problem due to his capacity for earning. My daughter has a business degree that, at a state college, would have cost her almost one quarter of what she paid to attend TNU. We are blessed that she has a job where she makes enough to pay her loans, although it will be years before she can think about living anywhere but at home with us because of the financial burden from her education. Additionally, her current position is not one that even required a college degree and is not even close to her area of interest. She can’t afford to pursue what she wants to do because an entry level job in that field would not allow her to meet her financial obligations.

    So, while it is easy for me to agree with you on how important universities like Trevecca are in forming young people of character, compassion, and conviction, I can’t help but feel that there must be a better way to bring this type of education to our kids without leaving them in the financial position my daughter is in now.

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