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    Paying for more than a Diploma

    In an economic crunch, many families still choose a Christian college education. Here's why.

    Diane Vescovi

    When household expenses climb and the economy slumps, some things in a family's budget must be cut. But when the parents we spoke to were choosing the areas to cut, one thing they did not want to skimp on was their child's higher education.

    The idea that a college education is an investment is a reality, not a cliché, for these parents. They see Christian higher education as one way God's kingdom advances in and through their children's lives, and coming up with the necessary funds becomes an adventure in seeing God at work.

    We are grateful for the schools and families who were willing to participate in this article.

    Their lives are a great testimony to what God does when his people are intent on walking in his will and knowing his ways.

    A college that makes you 'stand on your tiptoes'

    Joy McLeod follows three brothers' and both her mother's and father's footsteps at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her mother, Carol, says that when Joy saw the quality of her brothers' friends and the type of students they were, "that's who she wanted to be, and that's who she wanted to be friends with." Joy saw that these young adults were having fun and yet were determined to make a difference.

    Joy's greatest interest in Oral Roberts is how it seeks to send out the next generation of world changers. Her mother recalls that students she ate with in the cafeteria and ran with on the track team are now prominent Christian leaders, some even state congressmen and legislators.

    "Joy is going in the best days of Oral Roberts University's history. It is a healthy and positive place for her," Carol says. Every dorm on campus was renovated over the summer. Of special interest to Joy, who wants to major in piano performance, are the many new pianos on campus.

    When Carol was a freshman in 1973, the president said at opening ceremonies, "Make no small plans here." Carol says, "Something about Oral Roberts stretches you. It makes you stand on your tiptoes." She wants Joy to have an experience of reaching beyond what she thinks is possible for herself and dreaming big dreams.

    Joy received scholarships for music and academics, an award from the school's Founders' Club, and an alumni award.

    "There are very fine Christian schools in western New York where we live, but we believe this investment in Joy's education is worth it," says Carol.

    "I was contemplating a couple of different colleges that had really good programs for music," Joy says. "I chose Oral Roberts University because I think I can grow spiritually there. I've been to the worship and chapel services and have seen how God is present. Students there grow in the Lord."

    Two chapels are held on campus each week, and every wing in the dorms has a student chaplain who holds devotions a couple nights a week. In addition to the worship and discipleship at the school, Carol says the students gain a solid Christian worldview in the classes. Her one son, an English major, read all the contemporary, secular literature but learned to look at it from a Christian perspective. "They don't narrow a student's education," Carol says.

    A college where friendships can blossom

    Danielle John went to high school with other high-achieving kids from professional families when her family was living in the United Kingdom. Her father, Scott, says that the pressure to attend an Ivy League college was intense. Still, her parents thought, She needs to get a good education at a school where she can blossom in all aspects of who she is. They believe Danielle found such a school in Harding University, located in Searcy, Arkansas.

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