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Adventist Education: A Smart Investment?

In a down economy, is an Adventist Christian education a smart investment?

Economic turmoil and uncertainty continue to put additional stress on families. As many Adventist families face the transition from high school to college, some families may be wondering if the big expense of a private Christian education is worth the effort.

"Christian education is the best investment any parent can make. I'm glad that Southwestern was there to not only educate my two kids for life, but help them understand the value of being an Adventist Christian in today's world." - Glen, Southwestern Adventist University Parent

There is often no easy or single solution to the myriad of financial pressures facing families. Some of those pressures – such as the loss of a job or a cut in pay – can seem overwhelming, especially in the short-term. Yet, even in the midst of uncertain economic times, God calls Christian families to faithfully focus on eternal priorities, to take the long-term view. Recently, I remembered a question a college once used to help students focus on the eternal perspective: “Where do you see yourself in 10,000 years?” When I ask myself that question, it makes me think about higher education decisions for my kids a little differently than I otherwise would. The question reminded me that even in tough economic times, I want to be sure I make decisions for the long-term benefit of my children. It doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll attend an Adventist college (but I’m hoping that’s where they end up). But I want to make sure the basis for our family decision has an eternal view in mind.

"From the spiritual emphasis felt throughout the campus to small class sizes that facilitate individual attention, our children received a topnotch education at Union for which we continue to be grateful." - Sheryl and Gale, Union College Parents

What sets Adventist colleges and universities apart from alternatives is a unique commitment to both the present and the eternal. The accredited colleges and universities in North America have two important goals:

  1. To help students reach academic achievement leading to a rewarding and successful vocation
  2. To help students develop into mature Christian adults who love God and choose to serve Him in this life and the next whether that be in 10 or 10,000+ years

Both goals are important. Some research indicates that students who successfully complete college earn on average $1 million more over their lifetime than students who don’t. With this outcome, completing college is a no-brainer from a financial investment standpoint. But it’s impossible to put a value on the second goal. In fact, it’s priceless.

"It's comforting as a parent to know that Southern focuses on God and that I'm leaving my child in good hands – in God's hands." - Patrice, Southern Adventist University Parent

Enrolling in an Adventist college or university is not the only way to achieve these two important goals. But Adventist higher education offers one of the best ways for parents to continue to support and nurture their children toward these goals, even when money is tight.

"I am very pleased with Andrews, not just because it is a good academic school, but because of the sincerity and warmth we were surrounded with. People were amazed when I returned as to how calm and happy I was – I told them it was because AU had given us two wonderful days of orientation that I felt as if I was able to really 'let go.' I especially appreciated the opportunity to write my son a prayer and then symbolically bring it forward. It was a high point of my stay there." - Cheryl, Andrews University Parent

Some parents worry that an Adventist college education won’t provide a rigorous enough academic environment for their child to be successful. They are concerned that an Adventist education will somehow limit opportunities for their child. This is simply not the case. Adventist higher education alumni hold positions at some of the top universities and health care systems in the country. Many work in all levels of local, state and national government. Others are successfully running their own businesses or working in Fortune 500 companies. Others lead nonprofit or church-owned organizations with services that span the globe.

"Florida Hospital College [now Adventist University of Health Sciences] has helped my son become more responsible and gain his independence. He has been given the opportunity to discover his own spiritual beliefs and to participate in Bible studies. We really appreciate the individualized attention he has received." - Sharla, Parent

Even during tough economic times, Adventist college graduates are finding jobs. In some areas, such as health care and education, there are plenty of jobs available and 100 percent of graduates are finding work. There are even jobs for students graduating with business degrees, and some Adventist colleges are placing 80 to 90 percent of their graduates in their area of specialty. With nearly 500 majors to choose from collectively, Adventist colleges and universities offer an excellent environment for academic and vocational training.

"For me, as a parent, there was no other choice. I know what Christian education did for me and we wanted the same for our children. Walla Walla University provided an excellent education and an environment that encouraged Christian growth and expression." - Steve, Walla Walla University Parent

More importantly, Adventist colleges offer academic and vocational training in an environment that strongly supports and encourages students to develop Biblical values and character. In a world full of “me first” attitudes and self-serving attempts at instant fame, Adventist campuses offer a refreshing opportunity for families to invest in things that matter for eternity.

"Our daughter attended Kettering College for two-and-a-half years to pursue a career as a nurse. This was a wonderful experience for her as she learned to live on her own, forming close, lifelong friendships and growing in her walk with God. KC is a top-of-the-line medical education facility, and it has provided the tools Lindsey will need to pursue her future goal of becoming a medical missionary." - Denny and Becky, Kettering College Parents

The following questions are offered to parents to prayerfully consider while making a decision about college:

  • How much do I value having my child attend a college where there are daily opportunities to strengthen faith and experience positive peer pressure?
  • Do I want my child in an environment where putting God and others first is reinforced by faculty and staff who embrace the same values?
  • How important is it for my child to attend a college where he or she will be encouraged and affirmed for exercising faith and making Biblical life choices?
  • Do I want my child enrolled in a university where the top priority is to approach every facet of learning from a Biblical perspective and where the Bible is valued as the source of truth?
  • Is it important to me that the Christian values I’ve worked hard to instill in my child continue to be supported and affirmed throughout the college experience?
  • Do I value a learning experience where professors are not only experts in their disciplines but are committed to the same basic values and Christian worldview I want my child to fully mature into?
  • Do I want my child to have the opportunity to interact with peers who share similar values and who will provide a supportive environment for Christian friendship and dating?
  • If it is possible, am I willing to consider adjusting my priorities so my child can benefit from a Christian college education?

Choosing an Adventist Christian education during economically difficult times will likely mean family priorities and values may have to be adjusted, but making a choice to invest in your child for this world and for eternity is priceless.