Can you Swing it?

I remember when a quarter got you a gallon of gas. A buck scored you a gallon of ice cream. And $4,107.45 paid for a new 1964 Ford Galaxie 500XL (I have my grandpa’s old car parked in my garage—the sticker price still in the glovebox).

These days, a quarter may get you enough gas to mow a putting green; a buck will land you a cone at 31 Flavors (but don’t expect any ice cream); and for four grand, let’s just say your wheels won’t be the envy of everyone at school.

Everything—including school—costs a good chunk more than it used to. Tuition for a Christian education has multiplied since those days. But that’s no reason to skip out on a Christian school.

Can You Afford it?

“Don’t despair,” say financial advisors, “a top-drawer education, bound in private-college sheepskin, yields better return on the dollar than even the best mutual funds.” They speak truth. There’s no better investment than your education.

Furthermore, according to Dennis Plubell, North Pacific Union Conference associate director of education, “there is a distinct trend [in Christian education] toward affordability.”

Case in point: Walla Walla College. For students wanting to come to school here, there are numerous grants, scholarships, endowment funds, and low-cost student loans.

Victor Brown, Walla Walla College vice president for admissions and marketing, offers this counsel: “Never assume you’re ineligible for financial help. The fact is, every Adventist college employs a number of experts whose jobs are to make it possible for you to attend their school.”

The bottom line is simple: Most every one can afford to attend a Seventh-day Adventist school, if he or she wants to. All it requires is a willingness to make it a priority.

What’s it Worth to You?

To say, “I can’t afford to attend an Adventist school,” is usually a cop-out. Let’s face it, we invest in whatever is most important to us. I learned this during my six summers of selling Christian books and Bibles, as I worked my way through school. A typical objection people offered was “We can’t afford it.” This excuse would ring hollow, however, when I’d see their big-screen TVs or shimmering sports cars. While I have nothing against nice TVs or rocket cars, I do believe that where we invest our money speaks volumes about what is most important to us.

So what’s important to you? How much are you willing to invest in a Christian education? While I doubt we’ll ever see 25-cent gas again or cheap 1964 Galaxies, I do believe an Adventist education is as affordable as ever.

Does that mean Adventist schools will be free?

“Of course not,” says Lon Gruesbeck, Washington Conference superintendent of education. “Students and their families still need to shoulder their share of the load. There are, however, other shoulders that are willing to help carry the burden.”

So study carefully where you’ll do your studies. Don’t dismiss the possibility of an Adventist education. It’s one of the best investments you can make—much better than investing in ice-cream cones or vintage cars.

So what are you waiting for?...the price to go up? •

August 01, 2002 / Fresh Start
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Karl Haffner is senior pastor of the Walla Walla College Church and writes from College Place, Wash.