The American Vision: A Biblical Worldview Ministry

The High Cost of College and What it Does to Your Children

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Each fall, nearly two million American students will leave for college for the very first time. Their education will cost $12,000 a year for a public university and up to $50,000 for a private one. Scholarships and grants reduce the cost for most families, but still, the Wall Street Journal reports that the average student leaves college with $23,186 in debt.

Nationwide, the total cost for this transaction is somewhere between 25 and 40 billion dollars per year.

At least families are getting their money’s worth.

Or not.A recent study confirms what many parents have long suspected: going to college can make kids forget what’s important and embrace values that are counter to what they learned growing up.

Before I share this study’s results, let me say this to parents: leftist professors don’t feel sorry for you. As far as they’re concerned, you’ve been oppressing the masses to get that money anyway, so it’s deliciously ironic that you not only turn your children over to the indoctrinators, but that you fork over 50k to 200k and for the privilege of doing so.

Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what the late Richard Rorty, one of the most prominent philosophers of the 20th century, said on the subject:

“I, like most Americans who teach humanities or social science in colleges and universities ... try to arrange things so that students who enter as bigoted, homophobic, religious fundamentalists will leave college with views more like our own ... The fundamentalist parents of our fundamentalist students think that the entire ‘American liberal establishment’ is engaged in a conspiracy. The parents have a point ... [W]e are going to go right on trying to discredit you in the eyes of your children, trying to strip your fundamentalist religious community of dignity, trying to make your views seem silly rather than discussable. We are not so inclusivist as to tolerate intolerance such as yours ... I think those students are lucky to find themselves under the benevolent Herrschaft [domination] of people like me, and to have escaped the grip of their frightening, vicious, dangerous parents ...” [1] [editor’s note: sorry for all the ellipses, but it’s hard to summarize Rorty’s windblown rhetoric].

When it comes to reshaping values, liberal universities know precisely what they’re doing. And the reality is that about four out of five students walk away from their Christian faith by the time they are in their twenties. [2]

The Indoctrination Plan:

What Your Child Will and Will Not Learn

What your child won’t learn at college: a sense of citizenship. In February, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute released its annual report entitled, “The Shaping of the American Mind.” ISI researchers studied students’ knowledge of basic citizenship questions, along with 39 issue-based propositions and found that college graduates are dangerously ignorant of basic civics.

For example, fewer than one in two college graduates know that the phrase “We hold these truths to be self evident...” is from the Declaration of Independence (10% actually think it is from the Communist Manifesto).

What your child will learn at college: liberal radicalism. According to ISI, college graduates are significantly MORE likely to believe in abortion on demand and same sex marriage, and significantly LESS likely to believe that the Bible is the word of God, that prayer should be allowed in schools, and that anyone can succeed in America with hard work and perseverance.

The Transformation Plan:

Being Confidently Prepared Rather than Caught Off Guard

Obviously not all colleges are destructive. There are even a handful of great ones (I would humbly suggest that the one where I teach—Bryan College—is one of the excellent few).

But most Christian parents feel hamstrung. They are concerned for their kids but also realize that, with few exceptions, young people have little chance of becoming leaders without a college degree. They want their children to prepare for positively influencing the culture, but to not have their faith shredded in the process.

There is a solution and it is available now. Please, if you have a college-bound student, listen carefully to what I’m about to tell you. This is important even if your child is going to a “safe” college (some so-called “Christian” colleges are actually better at convincing kids to walk away from their faith than some secular colleges).

A two-week Summit Ministries course is a must. This summer. Find out more here.

At Summit, students ages 16–21 gain the confidence they need to understand and defend an intelligent biblical worldview. They join a vast network of mentors whose books, writings and personal encouragement sharpen them for life-long leadership. Shoulder to shoulder they and their new-found friends stand strong together.

The 12-day experience for your son or daughter is $895 for the tuition, room, board and activities. That’s far less than most private camps because it is heavily subsidized by donors. And when you consider that the Summit protects against a destructive influence on campus, it’s a small price to pay. Considering the value of your child’s soul, it’s priceless.

Now Is Not the Time for Shortcuts

There is much at stake. Having your child read an apologetics book or go to a weekend conference is great, but it’s not the same as a two-week Summit experience, and here’s why:

1. Summit helps students “own” what they learn. Over the course of 12 days, students are able to form questions and interact with top Christian professors, mentors, and classmates. As they become comfortable, they open up in small groups, around the meal tables and in open forums with speakers.

2. Summit prepares students to think through issues as adults. Summit asks students to forsake adolescence and step up into mature adulthood. Over the course of 12 days students come to believe that it can actually be done.

3. Summit breaks the stranglehold of negative peer pressure. Young adults seldom attempt to rise above what their peers think they can be. Summit students learn how to reverse this pressure and support one another in successfully thinking and living Christianly.

4. Summit helps students form relationships with expert mentors. At Summit, students spend 12 days with experts who have the depth of experience needed to delve deeply into the complex challenges those students face. These experts are specially selected based on their ability to communicate effectively with students.

5. Summit affirms and supports parents’ roles and Christian values. Kids are always asking, “Who else says so besides Mom and Dad?” At Summit, students are encouraged to honor their parents and be reconciled to them. This helps moms and dads strengthen their relationship before their sons and daughters leave for college, which is crucial.

Where Christian Leaders Send Their Own Children for Training

Summit is not a miracle cure. But for 47 years it’s been a trusted source for preparing students to be the kind of leaders who shape culture, rather than who are shaped by it. That’s why evangelical leaders such as James Dobson and Josh McDowell endorse it so enthusiastically—and why they sent their children to Summit before college; there simply is no substitute for the excellent training and mentoring Dr. Noebel and his staff provide.

I believe in the Summit. In fact I am planning to speak at every Summit Ministries session in the U.S. this summer in Colorado, Virginia, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

Summit enrollment is limited by space. Most sessions do fill up, but you can download an application at Scholarships are available for those in financial need.

Remember: before college, Summit. Please forward this to any parent who may benefit from knowing about it.

  1. Richard Rorty, “Universality and Truth,” in Rorty and His Critics, ed. Robert B. Brandom, (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000), 21–22.[]
  2. George Barna, “Twentysomethings struggle to find their place in Christian churches” and Ken Ham and Britt Beemer, Already Gone: Why Your Kids Will Quit Church and What You Can Do to Stop It (Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2009), 24.[]

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