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The high cost of higher education is a major national issue. Tuition has risen faster than personal income and financial aid. As a result, more and more students have borrowed in order to attend a university. The total national student debt is estimated to be as high as $1.4 trillion. Students are defaulting on their payments; it is estimated that defaults currently total as much as $85 billion.
We have a simple approach to this issue at Pacific Rim Christian University. We keep our tuition affordable. As noted above, the national average tuition for a four-year private university is $33,400 per year. The tuition at PacRim is $9,960 per year, or 30% of the national average.
A majority of our students receive financial aid. We work hard to put together a financial aid package that includes grants, scholarships, student and parental contributions, student employment, and loans.
It was estimated that U.S. students graduating in the spring of 2016 owed an average of $37,173 each. Interest rates may be low, and payments can be spread out over time. Still, for a student starting out on a new career, that’s a lot of money.
Our students typically graduate owing a lot less. We looked into our records regarding our graduates in the spring of 2016 and the spring of 2017, and focused on those who earned their Bachelor’s degrees after attending PacRim for four years. We are a small university, so the number of B.A. graduates came to 23 for the two years.
Those 23 students graduated owing an average of $12,937. That was way below the national average of $37,173.
Even more interesting is the fact that 13 of the students—more than half of the group— graduated without owing any money at all. Only ten students borrowed money. A closer look indicated that the students who borrowed money were older students, not 18-24-year-olds. Many of these older students came to PacRim with pre-existing obligations such as families to support and mortgages to pay. They borrowed money so they could continue to meet their obligations when they took take time off to get their degrees.
We know that our students are committed to serving the Lord, whether it be in the ministry or the marketplace. We also know that they may not be called to jobs that pay high salaries. That’s why we think it is important that they not be burdened by college debt. Fortunately, our records show that a majority of our students are graduating owing no money at all.
Your son or daughter doesn’t have to go deeply into debt to get a quality education. He or she can join us here at PacRim.
Dr. Kent M. Keith