I received an email from a fan, and I thought his question was too important for me to answer on my own. I thought I would put it up to have the rest of the community on TGA give their own advice as well:
My mother is a big church lady and heavy devout christian, her inner ties with high church officials have given her connections in many places all over town. If you live in this area, chances are you know my mother.
Now I know you don’t like preface to questions, but this is important. I am a vocal performer, and it is important to note that classical vocal pieces (songs) and such have heavy religious ties due to the influence of the church during the Renaissance, now to pursue my studies in music I have performed with several church groups and hundreds of religious songs for concert performance and education. I am planing on going to community college as a vocal performance major.
A friend of my mother’s, a pastor at a local church, offered to have the church pay for one half of my college tuition, if I go to this one religious university.
Here is the question. (if you skipped the last paragraph, at least read the line above)
Should I take the money and go to this school, or deny the church’s money and go to a secular college at full cost to me?
I’m probably the wrong person to ask about college advice, since I didn’t go myself. With that said, you’re in a tough spot I’m sure many others have been in. You have a chance to go to school without having to pay a large portion of it. Student debt has reached about 1 trillion dollars (it surpassed credit card debt recently), and it’s quickly becoming clear that personal debt is a new form of economic slavery. To do anything worthwhile, you often have to enter into a vicious cycle of debt, and I can appreciate people’s effort to avoid this vicious trap.
According to a College Board report issued last fall, median earnings of bachelor’s degree recipients working full time year-round in 2008 were $55,700, or $21,900 more than the median earnings of high school graduates. And their unemployment rate was far lower.
Indeed, some economists worry that all the news about unemployed 20-somethings mired in $100,000 of college debt might discourage some young people from attending college.
With that said, you might find compromising your school choice for purely financial reasons might make you unhappy and miserable. I don’t know what this religious school is like, but my guess is that you’ll find yourself meeting too few like minded peers, an important part of not only your college experience, but also a chance for you to make new friends that will influence you for a long time to come. A person’s environment has a huge impact on their wellbeing, their happiness, and their general life satisfaction, so never forget that.
I haven’t really given you an answer, but my guess is that there’s still a lot more research on your part that must be done before you make up your own mind. There is so much about your situation that is unknown to me, and as a result, any advice I give would be grossly incomplete, and probably bad. So what does everyone else think of his dilemma?