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Can I afford a Christian college education?

July 8, 2013 | Ian Richardson

If you find yourself asking this question, you’re not alone.

These days, money is tight and every dollar counts. Considering that a college education is one of the top five expenses you will face in your lifetime (ranking right up there with home, vehicle, children and retirement), deciding where to pursue your degree is one of the most important decisions you will ever make.

The reality is that some colleges are more affordable than others. However, when  determining the value of your college investment there are other factors to consider — and additional questions you should be asking:

  • Will this college really prepare me for a job or graduate school?
  • Are classes taught by graduate assistants or are they taught by  professors who will challenge me academically?
  • Do faculty members mentor the students?
  • Will I be encouraged to explore my strengths and be challenged to fulfill my life’s calling?
  • Will the environment support and strengthen my faith and worldview, or will the environment tear me down?
  • Is this the kind of place where I can make relationships that will last a lifetime?

As a “Boldly Christian, Unquestionably Academic” university, Evangel offers a holistic approach to education that contributes to a student’s growth on an academic, spiritual and social level.

At the same time, we do whatever we can to help you get here financially.

Comparing Evangel to other Christian colleges

“If you look at the sticker price of any Christian college, it can be pretty intimidating,” says Hector Cruz, lead financial aid counselor and 2009 grad of Evangel.

However, Cruz points out that Evangel’s tuition is approximately $10,000 less than the average private university – and that is before financial aid is factored in.

“Right off the bat when you’re comparing Evangel to other private schools, we’re going to be one of the most affordable options that students are going to find,” Cruz says.

Offering lower tuition is just one of the ways Evangel makes college more affordable, Cruz says. “With the financial aid and scholarship packages that we offer, we try to bring that cost down even lower.” In fact, Evangel awards more than $33 million a year in financial aid and more than 90 percent of our students receive it.

The Student Financial Services (SFS) staff regularly compare Evangel’s financial aid packages to other universities and update them to stay competitive and current with the economy.

“The goal,” Cruz says, “is to find a way for as many students to attend as possible.”

A unique aspect of Evangel’s SFS team is that a committee meets regularly to review each prospective student’s situation in order to provide them with the most personalized financial aid package possible. Students are asked to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which helps Evangel determine how to best meet that student’s individual needs. The committee considers the FAFSA, admission information and academic information, resulting in a personalized financial aid package for each student.

“Every point of data that we have for the student is reviewed by the committee in order to finalize the award package and put the best possible award package we think would help get them here to Evangel,” Cruz says.

Cruz knows there are students who really want to attend Evangel but are afraid they won’t be able to afford it. “I would just tell prospective students who are concerned about the price to give us a chance to see what we can do for them,” he says.

Return on investment

With a financial aid department determined to open up Evangel to as many students as possible, the next step is providing a quality education to give them the greatest possible return on their investment.

Dr. Andy Denton, vice president for Enrollment Management, says one advantageous aspect of the small, community atmosphere at Evangel is the increased opportunities for mentoring from Christian faculty members. Small class sizes allow for more one-on-one interaction with teachers, and students are able to receive valuable academic, as well as spiritual, guidance.

“At places like Evangel, the faculty members are here because they feel called to prepare students and to work with students,” Denton says. “That is very unique. The faculty mentoring you are strong Christians who will help you learn to integrate faith and learning in your profession, understand how to be a Christian example and learn how to be successful in that way.”

Evangel’s main goal is to prepare students for life after college, whether that means getting a job in the marketplace, entering vocational ministry or attending graduate school. Our graduates are prepared not just to live life, but to live a life that matters.

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