College, Debt, and The American Way

  My father had a sixth grade education.  And yet, he ultimately owned and operated a small successful garment factory.  My father is inventive and resourceful, but it took many years of working for other people and trying business endeavors to come up with a winner.  My father didn't have many options.  His father was an alcoholic.  I'm not sure how many of his siblings, if any, graduated from high school, but college was certainly never even on the table.  In all of his extended family, I'm fairly certain, there were no college graduates.
  My mother's family, for the most part, were not college graduates either.  Her father was a contractor, who made a decent living. 
  I, myself, never had any aspirations of higher education, but graduating from high school was a given.  Afterwards, my only goal was to get married.  Since that wasn't imminent, I attended HACC.  I discovered that I loved it. 
  I lived in a participating school district and so paying for it wasn't really a big deal.  I had worked part time since the age of 14 because  my parents had divorced and I was, in many ways, on my own.
  My husband is a diesel mechanic.  He went to a VoTech school, followed by WACC.  We never saved for our children's education.  We couldn't, really.  On one pay check, we raised seven children.  I am a home educator.
  We have always lived within our means and encouraged our children likewise.  But the pressure to send your children to college, on borrowed money, is enormous.  We have four grown children.  They are a car salesman, a nurse, a contractor, and a linguist (through the Air Force).  NONE have incurred college debt.  Each is successful. 
  Next month, we will have another graduate.  What he is going to do is uncertain.  Right now, he has a part time job milking cows, which he loves.  He has a pretty good handle on construction, as he helped his older brother build his home, remodeled his own bedroom, and much more.  He also knows how to raise animals and operate farm equipment.  Thirdly, he has a basic understanding of mechanics.  He is in the midst of swapping an engine, with the help of his dad, right now.
  As usual, we are not living in the mainstream.  All around me, kids are graduating from high school and pursuing degrees.  I keep wondering how they are doing it financially.  My guess is, most will be in debt up to their eyeballs until they are done.  And many will be "lucky" enough to found spouses at their respective schools who are equally up to their eyeballs in debt.  God help them!
  Recently, at the yearly home school convention I attend in Harrisburg, I heard that couples are coming to pastors in increasing numbers buried under a mountain of debt.  In a newspaper article, it was stated that grandparents are still paying off college loans.  How sad.
  I don't have any quick or easy answers.  There are none, obviously.  But this decision needs to be not only thought through, but prayed through.  The Bible says, the borrower is servant to the lender.  How true.


Popular Posts