Category: Student Debt


If you’ve been looking at college costs lately, you know it isn’t pretty out there. But it’s encouraging to see just how well NSA stacks up against both its private Christian peers and our regional state-funded universities and colleges.

The bottom line is this: the net price for attending New Saint Andrews College for one year is almost $8,000 less than the average comparable Christian college and only about $2,000 more, on average, than our closest regional state universities and colleges.

But the biggest (and often hidden) difference shows up on the matter of student debt. New Saint Andrews College offers no federal or commercial bank loans, so our students (freshmen to seniors) simply accumulate no debt burden. By contrast, students at comparable Christian colleges end up with an average of almost $16,000 of debt in their freshman year alone! Students at our closest regional public universities aren’t much better off: the average public university full-time freshman can expect to be almost $14,000 in debt at the end of his or her first year. No wonder total student debt now exceeds the nation’s total credit card debt.

So not only does New Saint Andrews have one of the lowest tuition rates and average net prices (after financial aid) among most public and private colleges and universities in the United States, its tuition is less than what the average full-time freshman will accumulate in loan debt at those other institutions. NSA is simply a great value.

The numbers pretty much speak for themselves (and, yes, please do read the fine print!):

Why NSA is the Best Value Averages Chart

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A new Gallup Poll of college presidents confirms what I have said for years:  Colleges generally do a poor job of preparing students for specific jobs. Worse, universities and colleges that stress job training usually hurt students by neither training them well nor educating them well. The dominant vocational-training model of higher education today may have high student (and parent) appeal, but it sells students short by failing to deliver on the skills and it buries them in a mountain of debt in the process.

As reported by Inside Higher Ed, nearly nine in 10 college presidents said in the survey that an emphasis on “critical thinking” skills and personal development is very important preparation for graduates to get jobs, but only about 40 percent think their own institutions are very effective at providing students with those skills, which are so necessary for success in any career.

801 presidents from a variety of American colleges and universities completed the survey in May and June 2014.

The survey shows that while most universities try to train their students with skills for the job market, a significant number of presidents acknowledge their institutions do a poor job of doing it. The irony is that most colleges and universities today boast to prospective students that they are essential training camps for future job seekers. Shockingly, a significant number of the presidents surveyed don’t actually believe their own institution’s recruiting hype.

According to IHE, 78 percent of presidents surveyed said that providing internships that apply what students learn to “the real world” is very important, yet only 38 percent reported that their institutions do that very well. Put another way, 72 percent of the institutions represented in the survey aren’t very good at giving students what they claim to be giving them.

The survey reveals that university presidents of voc-tech-oriented institutions are now admitting that the model they’ve been operating under is not working and that students aren’t getting what they’re paying for.

“This calls for a serious change,” said John Pryor, a senior researcher at Gallup who specializes in higher education.

The change, I’d suggest, is returning to the classical Christian model of liberal arts education that educates well the whole person for all of life, not just for narrowly defined, here-today-gone-tomorrow careers.

For more on this survey, see Presidents concerned about job training

Dr. William Bennett and David Wilezol’s new book, Is College Worth It? (Thomas Nelson, 2013), has a nice blurb about New Saint Andrews College on page 181. Bennett, former Secretary of Education (1985-1988), conservative commentator, radio program host (“Morning in America“), and author of a dozen books, mostly related to education, has this to say,

“For those who are more adventurous, New Saint Andrews College in Moscow, Idaho, is a tiny Reformed evangelical school that has modeled its course offerings on the curriculum that Harvard employed in 1643. This includes incorporating the ancient approach to learning of the trivium (grammar, rhetoric, and dialectic) and the quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music). While new student enrollment is limited to fifty students each year, the academics are rigorous, and the small size of the college ensures that the faculty and staff of the college bond in uncommonly deep ways with the students, including spiritual ones. Additionally, NSA’s tuition is only $16,000 [correction: it’s actually cheaper!! $11,200 for this year] per year, about one-third the cost of the average private college.”

Here’s the publisher’s video promo:

And here are an interview with Bennett in the New York Times about the book and several reviews:

New York Times book review by Andrew Delbanco, author of College: What It Was, Is, and Should Be, and director of American Studies at Columbia University

Washington Times book review David DesRosiers, president of Revere Advisors

In case you didn’t see this week’s Time magazine (yes, that old medium) or time.com’s “cover” story, “Reinventing Higher Education,” you may want to check it out.

It contains little that’s new or news breaking, but it’s Time’s admission that our current higher education system is broken and must be reinvented. Sadly, it is a bit like reading about the collapse of the Soviet Empire and Time calling for the rebuilding of the Berlin Wall. Continue reading

College student debt (most of it owed directly to the federal government) continues to grow and has now put its grip on almost 20 percent of American households.

A recent study by the Pew Research Center has found that 22.4 million households, or almost 20 percent of American families, had college debt in 2010. That rate is double the share back in 1989, and up from 15 percent in pre-recession 2007. This number of student debtholders represents the biggest three-year increase in student debt in more than two decades.

According to the report, “the debt burden was the greatest for the poorest 20 percent of households, or those making less than $21,044. In all, 40 percent of U.S. households headed by someone younger than age 35 owed college debt, the highest share of any age group.”

The Pew report also noted that the richest 20 percent of households, with annual income of $97,586 or higher, owed the greatest share of outstanding student debt, 31 percent. That is a 3 percent increase since 2007. The student debt among the poorest 20 percent of households grew to 13 percent or up 2 percent since 2007.

See the Associated Press story on the Pew Research Center report here.