Christian Colleges Produce Profound Economic Return

Research tracking the outcome of Christian higher education in America concludes it has massive economic impact on a global scale.

Recent data compiled and analyzed by Philadelphia’s Econsult Solutions Inc. reveals that the group’s total financial contribution exceeds $60 billion annually. The study was funded by the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU) and it factors in the influence 142 Christian colleges and universities have with a total enrollment of nearly a half-million students, 72,000 administrators and staff members, as well as 3.5 alumni worldwide.

The research pulls together operational expenditures, alumni salaries and wealth, as well as capital investments. When combined, Christian higher education contributes approximately $166 million per day toward the U.S. economy.

Breaking Down Christian Higher Ed Findings

Christian institutions have embraced the revelation like a breath of fresh air. Faith-based colleges and universities have been under rising scrutiny about the end-result value of sending young people to religious schools. Although embraced for their moral and spiritual strengths, the economic results had come under fire when compared to job-focused schools such as technical colleges.

“Christian colleges and universities provide a unique and valuable place for students to discern their vocation through the study of their chosen discipline,” CCCU Pres. Shirley V. Hoogstra reportedly said.

“They also develop a deeper relationship with God, with their peers and professors, and with their surrounding communities. Our rigorous academics and educational missions shape students who act for the public good — often at a cost to themselves — out of a love for Jesus Christ and for the world around them. The results from this report are powerful and illuminate a bright future for Christian higher education.”

Consult Solutions Senior Vice Pres. Lee Huang draws a clear dual-benefit for people attending Christian institutions, based on the data.

“This report helps us understand the role of Christian colleges and universities, not only for faith-based scholarship and personal spiritual formation but also as a major economic engine in the U.S., supporting local jobs and generating federal tax revenues,” Huang reportedly said.

“Christian higher education’s value proposition to its participants, as well as to community and society, is very strong. Our nation and our communities need more of what these institutions do, which is act as anchors of economic activity, serve and engage with their immediate neighbors, and add intelligent and service-oriented graduates to tomorrow’s workforce.”

In Illinois, Judson University President. Dr. Gene Crume says the study underscores what many in Christian higher education already believed to be true.

“Judson University’s economic impact to the Elgin area is visible in the many internships held by our students, the area restaurants where our students and their families visit throughout the year, and the nearly 500 hotel rooms that are booked by area hotels each year,” Dr. Crume reportedly said.

“The impact also extends to alumni, who chose to stay in Elgin following graduation; church communities, where our students and faculty are actively engaged; and in service organizations, where our students and faculty volunteer and provide leadership. A study such as this substantiates what we already believe at Judson: that the learning experienced at a Christian higher education institution like Judson shapes the larger community in significant ways. This study demonstrates these benefits in a new and more measurable way.”

The Consult Solutions report uncovered these important economic findings.

  • Christian institutions drive upwards of $60 billion in economic benefits annually.
  • CCCU institutions provide a $5 return for every $1 in federal aid funding to students.
  • Student loan default rates for CCCU graduates are approximately half the national average.
  • Despite religious exemptions, CCCU facilities produce $9.7 billion in tax revenue annually.
  • One out of every three CCCU students are among the first generation of their family to attend college.
  • Half off all CCCU students come from families earning less than $50,000 annually.

More than 5.4 million community service hours are logged by CCCU graduates and the group exceeds the national average for individual participation.

Christian Colleges More Cost-Effective

Some parents experience sticker shock when they compare relatively inexpensive state college to private Christian universities. When state school costs $20,000 to $35,000 and religious institutions tally $25,000 to $50,000 that can be a deterrent. However, that does not necessarily represent the total math.

Many CCCU institutions provide more generous financial aid packages to incoming students. Scholarships may be available for students that are great fits for the campus and families still have the federal assistance at their disposal. When the numbers are all in, faith-based institutions can be financially equal or less expensive in many cases.

That’s because a Christian institution is not necessarily driven by profit. One of the underlying principles of CCCU and other faith-based campuses is to also empower people with a rich moral foundation. The fact that research such as the Econsult Solutions data points to strong financial return makes Christian colleges and universities doubly valuable.

~ Christian Patriot Daily