Why Christian Higher Education?
Reason #1 – TO KEEP THE FAITH
There is a correlation between the type of college students choose and what happens to their religious commitment during the college years. Surveys indicate 50 to 70 percent of freshmen who identify themselves as born-again upon entering a public university will no longer identify themselves as born-again four years later. However, students who attend institutions that are members of the Council for Christian College and Universities (CCCU), showed significant positive differences on almost all individual measures of religious commitment, as well as an overall increase in that commitment. (Research by Steve Henderson available at http://www.christianconsulting.net/stats.htm)
Why the faith drop-out rate? What happens? During the young adult years there is a transition from “imposed” (this is what I was taught) to “owned” (this is what I believe) faith. During that transition stage they are impressionable and vulnerable. If they are surrounded by people (peers, instructors) and ideas that are unfriendly to their faith it has a powerful influence on what their “owned” faith, or lack of it, will become. (Research by Pascarella, E. T., & Terenzini, P. T., How college affects students: Findings and insights from twenty years of research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 1991.)
The greatest defection happens in the first year of post-secondary experience. In my own research of first year Prairie students eighty plus percent indicated satisfactory or greater Christian spiritual growth in their lives (Assessment of Spiritual Formation Outcomes: Appraisal as a catalyst to growing institutional effectiveness and individual maturity April 2011). Though it is only a first step through this vulnerable stage it is nonetheless a critical first step.
So, for this reason alone Christian youth should seriously consider at least beginning their post-secondary educational experience in Christ-centered institutions.
More reasons to follow…