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What is an affordable Christian college anyway?

Is “affordable college” an oxymoron? It might seem like it. Even many state universities now cost $25,000 or more per year, when you include room and board. A quality college education isn’t cheap. It can be affordable, though. It’s within your reach. You can find affordable Christian colleges that offer exceptional, Christ-centered education.

It may help to clarify what affordable means. This is Merriam-Webster’s take: “able to be afforded: having a cost that is not too high.”

That seems clear enough. But a university that’s truly affordable offers much more than a low cost.

Find the right school using this three-part definition of affordable:

  1. Affordable should also mean high-quality.
  2. “Most affordable” shouldn’t mean cheap. The least expensive school may not offer what you’re looking for. An affordable university offers a high-quality education in the areas that matter to you.

    Quality isn’t just about name recognition or prestige. Focus instead on identifying the schools that are the right fit for you and your goals. What are you looking for? A traditional, broad liberal arts education? Training for a particular vocation? Opportunities for internships and jobs? An urban lifestyle (or a rural one)? A Christian community where you’ll learn more about your faith?

    Of course, these qualities may overlap, and they’re not the only ones to consider. You can get sidetracked, though, if you focus on costs without a clear idea what you’re looking for and which colleges offer quality programs in those areas.

    U.S. News and World Report provides the most well-known college rankings and can be a good place to start your search. In addition to their national college and university lists, they also rank schools by major, graduation rate, and more. You’ll find fundamental information on the strengths and weaknesses of schools that interest you.

    From there, you can learn more by visiting college websites. Eventually, though, you should contact the schools that look like they may be the right fit and, if possible, visit them. Making a personal connection can often be a decisive factor in choosing a college.

  1. Affordable should still mean helpful.
  2. An affordable college takes time to know your individual needs and provides a range of financial aid options. Look for colleges where obtaining aid involves a conversation, not just a form.

    Most colleges offer financial aid of some kind, but look for those that offer the most scholarships, grants, work-study options, and other aid. At some universities, 100% of students receive financial aid.

  1. Affordable does mean lower-cost.
  2. Cost is certainly one of the things that can make a college affordable. Once you know which colleges offer a quality education that fits your goals, it makes sense to compare tuition and expenses. If one school costs $10,000 or even $5,000 less than another similar school, that will make a big difference over the course of four years.

    Don’t forget this factor. If you’ve heard great things about a school, know it has an elite reputation, or visited it and had a wonderful time, you may set your heart on it. That’s not a bad thing, but you should still do a careful cost comparison. You might find another school with most of the same benefits that costs significantly less.

Recognize when you’ve found the right fit

This definition of affordable probably won’t make the dictionary. Think of it as an application of Webster’s definition to your college search. How do you know if you’ve found a college that has “a cost that is not too high”? It offers a quality education, helps you find a range of ways to reduce costs, and its tuition and expenses are lower than comparable schools.

Contact North Central University, and see how well you think we fit this definition. We offer an excellent Christian liberal arts education in the heart of Minneapolis, a vibrant city filled with internship and job opportunities. 100% of NCU students receive financial aid, and our tuition and expenses are much lower than most other private Christian colleges. Christian Universities Online ranks NCU as the 15th most affordable Christian college in the Midwest and the 49th most affordable in the country.

Contact us today. A quality Christian education is within reach for you.

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