Looking for a Christian Community College? Now there is one, here in Minnesota!

My wife and I were fortunate enough to go to college in a time when it was still somewhat affordable. Thanks in large part to our parents, a number of scholarships, and some low-paying jobs while in school, we were both able to complete our undergraduate studies debt-free. Also, before turning the tassel on my seminary education, I was able to pay every bill in full. Even so, as a young couple just starting out, we struggled to make ends meet.

Today’s college graduates, in many cases, have it much worse.

Total student debt has tripled in this country the past ten years to an estimated $1.2 billion.

An average millennial has over $41,000 in college debt or the equivalent of 18% of their average starting salary in loan repayment! Millennials with that amount of debt won’t be able to buy a house or a new car and will struggle to tithe to their local church. And now Gen Z’s are in line to be the next victims of America’s college debt scam.

Some economists predict that student loan default will lead to the next great recession. We all remember the “housing bubble" of 2008, right? Well, economists are calling this phenomenon the “education bubble.” 

Church, we’ve got to do something!

Not every graduating high school student should go to college. In particular, they shouldn’t go if their career choice doesn’t require it. That being said, some students will need to go to college and should they decide to attend a traditional four-year undergraduate school, if things don’t change, they will more than likely graduate with a debt payoff plan bigger than my first mortgage payment.

“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” Proverbs 22:7

That’s where The Virtues Campus comes in.

It’s a CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY COLLEGE! The Virtues Campus brings together the flexibility of online classes through Waldorf University in Iowa with a local on-campus community here in Golden Valley. The first of its kind in the States, The Virtues Campus offers students an affordable, accredited, biblically integrated liberal arts education for less than $10,000 a year. Did you hear that? Only $10k a year!

Compare that number to some in-state public schools here in Minnesota. They’re running in the $20k to $30k range! And don’t get me started on the private Christian schools in our area! They’re charging in the $30k to $50k range!

Also, upon receiving an associate degree, students who attend The Virtues Campus will be awarded a $25,000 scholarship from Waldorf which will go a long way in paying for a debt-free bachelor degree. Yes, debt free! Of course, students can attend any college of their choice after Virtues, as well.

Students meet three days a week on-site with a trained, academic pastor. My friend, Dr. Dave Glesne (Virtue’s founder), writes, “This unique style of learning gives students the freedom of a flexible study schedule, while allowing them to enjoy a campus experience where they collaborate on academic projects with their peers, participate in career-readiness activities, and study how God's Word is applied to learning and living.”

The early church in America birthed many great universities that trained future leaders grounded in God’s Word. Regrettably, many of those same universities are no longer sound in their teaching and are strapping this next generations of students with unmanageable, lifelong debt.

Parents and students: Check out your options! Research! Do your homework! 

When I went to school, the mantra was, “All that matters is finding the right school for you. Don’t worry about the cost.” It’s still the mantra, but the cost of education has changed dramatically. An ivy-league school cost $25k a year when I graduated from high school. Now, it’s $75k. Going to the “right” school today just might bankrupt our kids for life.

Parents, we need to be advocating for our kids! Project that future salary based on a major or degree and decide if a four-year traditional degree is worth the cost. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn’t.

If you want an alternative, I strongly encourage you to check out The Virtues Campus in Golden Valley and see it its right for you. www.virtuescampus.com

Northgate Church is passionate about helping people become who God purposed them to be—debt free.

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