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Published on March 21st, 2015 | by Discussion Questions

Should scholarships be the deciding factor in choosing a college?





HALEY WRITES: Lately, I’ve heard my friends, when asked what college they’re going to choose, say something along the lines of, “whoever gives me the most money.”

The expectation is that you should choose 5 or 6 colleges you would be okay going to and then whoever gives you the most scholarship is the one you go to. But could God be calling us to a certain place, even if it would put us in a little bit (or a lot) of debt?


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are submitted by real rebelutionaries who are looking for godly answers to tough questions and lively conversation with other young adults. You can join the conversation by commenting below. If you'd like to submit your own discussion question, email us at [email protected]



  • alana

    I don’t know. Going into debt is so bad that it’s become viewed as a good thing (the people who think that aren’t smart but I don’t think you’re one of those people). But if you truly believe (‘feel’ is not the same word) that God is calling you to go a certain place or do a certain thing, and you’re willing to do it regardless the cost, then I would recommend talking with an adult with spiritual insight. They can help you sort it out. If that doesn’t work, then I don’t know except listen to God. Express your thoughts to Him.

  • Josh A

    I’m super short on time so I can’t say much, but I did have a verse come to mind:

    “Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another.” Romans 13:8

    God wouldn’t be calling you to go to a college if your doing so would contradict His Word (if that makes sense).

    Gotta go! =)

    -Josh

  • Haylie

    This will be fast, but here’s my take on it. If God is calling you to a certain college, i firmly believe that all the financial details will be divinely taken care of. I’ve seen God do some pretty awesome stuff with money matters, and i trust He’ll help me pay for college, even though I couldn’t on my own or because of my grades 😛 Don’t get me wrong, money is to be considered when choosing a college, and for some people, that means choosing a more affordable college. But, nothing is impossible with God. So just trust Him.

  • Karl Jacob

    I do think financials should be a part of a college decision. I don’t think that they should be so important that money comes before where God wants you to go, though. I don’t think that the 5-6 college idea is a bad one, just that money can’t be the only deciding factor in choosing where to go for college.

    • Emigb4

      You stated it perfectly. My thoughts exactly.

    • Ha, there’s no need for me to comment now! You said everything I was going to say!

    • Josh A

      Hey @karljacobn:disqus!

      Just curious, how would you reconcile your statement “debt isn’t inherently bad” with Romans 13:8: “Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another.”?

      • Karl Jacob

        I would say that, in the context of the chapter, it would mean that we have to be responsible and make the payments we agreed to. Don’t cheat by keeping what is rightfully someone else’s. The principle is summed up a couple of verses later, in verse 10: “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

        If all loans were bad, Jesus would not have commanded “do not refuse the one who would borrow from you” in Matthew 5:42. I don’t see how Jesus would tell us to do something that would make someone else sin.

        Would you agree with this interpretation? I don’t want to get this wrong; money is an important topic in the Bible!

        • Thank you for that, Karl. Good insight.
          And also, thank you Josh, for challenging his view. That was very helpful to me.

          • Joseph Shaker

            I think a big thing to me is that God speaks through situations where I can pray if finances fall into place for me to go somewhere, and if not I am fine going somewhere else. I believe God can open and close doors by doign things we can’t control

        • Josh A

          Hmmm would agree that we need to make the payments we’ve agreed to…but I’m not sure that Romans 13:8 is up for interpretation (2 Peter 1:20) – it clearly states to owe nothing to others except love…

          Also, let’s look at the context like you mentioned:

          “You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also. 40 If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too. 41 If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles. 42 Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.”

          I don’t know if we could say that Jesus wouldn’t have commanded what He did in v.42 if loans were a sin. After all, slapping someone and taking someone else’s shirt aren’t right or just, but a Christian isn’t supposed to resist that, either. Letting someone slap you a second time could also be considered making someone else sin.

          Hey listen, I enjoy a friendly debate, but we don’t have to continue if you don’t want to/don’t have time/whatever. =)

          • Karl Jacob

            You make some good points! One thing I would say is that every verse has to be up for interpretation in some way or another. Even if you interpret it as “nobody should have debt of any kind,” that would still be an interpretation. I would say that if you make your payment, then at that time you aren’t obligated to pay anyone anything, and so aren’t owing anyone.

            Then there’s the small things. Say I forgot my money for lunch at school and my friend has a couple extra dollars. I borrow them and pay him back tomorrow. Do you think such a scenario would be wrong? Or if I purchase something on a credit card for convenience, then pay the full balance at the end of the month. Would these kind of small things be wrong? If not, where would you draw the line?

          • Josh A

            Yeah, I’m not sure…I’ll think on it. =)

          • GodsThespian

            OR your friend might say “Hey man, don’t worry about it – my treat!” Maybe cultivating that sort of society/community would be a better idea… I dunno.

          • Karl Jacob

            Yeah, that would be great :) but I think the scenario still still applies.

          • GodsThespian

            Yeah, that’s a hard one…

          • Josiah J.

            I find this discussion fascinating.

            I have not formulated an opinion, as of yet, but I would have to say, I tend a bit toward what Josh A. is saying. However, I think you have a point about interpretation here. Every verse of the Bible will be viewed according to our preconceived world view.

            If we try to fit the Bible into our world view, we will mess up our interpretation. Therefore, we will change our world view to fit the truth that is stated in the Bible.

            In summery: Change our world view to fit the Bible, not the Bible to our preconceived world view.

            Another thing: If we single out verses and remove the context that is surrounding, we may distort truth to lie.

            The Bible is never inconsistent. If we think it is inconsistent, we are missing something.

            oops, kinda long. 😛

          • Joseph Shaker

            Then how do you justify taking out a mortgage? How do you buy a home?

          • Josh A

            Yeahhh I’m not sure when it comes to that…Idk maybe renting an apartment is more Biblical lol.

            Btw are you new here? If so welcome to the Reb! =)

          • Joseph Shaker

            I’ve read here for a bit but haven’t posted in a loong time :)

          • Josh A

            Cool! :)

          • GodsThespian

            Hey there! Jumping in here…
            You actually pay less in the end if you rent and then buy a house with money that you actually have.
            It’s hard to wait, but it is financially the best idea to wait until you have the cash, then you buy your house (good reason to get a well-paying job!)
            Are you guys remembering Proverbs 22:26 and 27?

          • Karl Jacob

            I would take those verses to mean that we shouldn’t take out a mortgage for more than we can afford. Don’t get a bigger house just because “it’s only $100 a month more”.

            I do agree about the principle about renting vs. buying, but I don’t think that it’s so much of a black and white issue. It really depends on many factors, like the prices of rentals and homes in the area, the interest and payments for a mortgage, etc. Buying with a mortgage isn’t THAT much better than renting, and if it’s more expensive, not worth the debt that results. So I’d say if you’re thinking about buying a house, do the math first.

          • Yeah, mortgage is cheaper than rent where I live. :)

          • GodsThespian

            I think you’ve hit the nail on the head: It’s no so much of a black and white issue.
            I’m reminded of where Paul basically says, “Put up with other peoples’ different interpretations of the Scriptures and let them be.”

  • Emigb4

    Maybe sometimes a scholarship is God’s way of showing you an opportunity.

  • Joyful joyful

    Two verses that come to mind about debt in general.

    For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.

    Luke 14:28-32

    do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

    Philippians 4:6
    I think every situation is unique, and the only universal answer is to pray about it. We shouldn’t worry, but we do need to be wise.

  • Jessica

    I haven’t been active on the Rebelution in so long, but I thought I’d throw my two cents in. :) I am currently a junior in college, and I love it here. I’ve been so blessed by this place again and again–the community, the people, the professors are incredible. When I was deciding on which college to attend, money was definitely a factor, but the place I would spend four years was a bigger factor. I fell in love with this school when I visited, and I haven’t regretted my decision once. Admittedly, my school is expensive and I went into more debt than I would have with my second choice college, but it has been worth every penny I will spend.

    I think this is something you should definitely talk with your parents or trusted mentors about before making a decision, but I definitely don’t regret taking out one or two more loans for attending an awesome school. But on the flip side, I am going into the sciences (I’m a biology major), so I’m fairly confident I can get a decent-paying job when I graduate. So if that’s a concern for you, maybe better scholarships will be a weightier concern. More than anything, however, pray about it. God answers prayers in incredible ways!!

    So to answer your question more concisely, I would say that scholarships were not my primary concern. I am certainly thankful for the ones I received, but I trust that God will provide the money to pay off the loans. He was faithful to lead me to an amazing college, He has been faithful so far in college, and He will be faithful to provide what I need after college.

    • Josh A

      Hey @disqus_YCmqbegeRt:disqus! Welcome to the Reb! =)

    • True, if you are going to be getting into a lot of debt, make sure you have a “smart” major so that you can pay it off. Don’t just “follow your heart” off into debt land!

  • marga branica mejias

    Hello :) I finished college through a scholarship. But, before it was granted to me I had to undergo interviews and exams to prove that I deserve the opportunity. I asked God about it but my intentions that time were all selfish. God did not give it to me. I had to stop college that time and wait where God would lead me.

    After a year and a half, my parents decided to send me back to college with or without a scholarship. The night before my admission day, the scholarship office of the school called me up and told me that my application was already approved.

    During the time I waited (1 year & 1/2) God wrestled with me. He displayed his provision over my life and promised me of abundance. That is why I stopped praying for that scholarship. But look! He was giving it to me.

    As a scholar, I no longer pay for the school fee but, I have to work for the school. I was assigned at the library. Also, I have to maintain high grades. Every after semester, we are evaluated based on our grades and on our work performance. If you fail, you cannot continue your studies.

    God granted me that opportunity. What He wanted me to do at that time is to be a good steward and to be excellent in class.

    I’m from the Philippines and honestly, studying college here is expensive especially if you to to universities. There are scholarship offers both from the government and private institutions. Here, if you are a scholar, you must have deserved it to be granted with one.

    Right now, I can say I’m blessed and I’m joyful with my walk with God for He has never failed me. P.S I graduated with honors and I offer it to God. Thank you. I hope my story can help :)

    • Thanks so much for sharing your story, Marga!

      • margabranica

        your welcome @BrettHarris:disqus :)

    • GodsThespian

      Wow! You have no idea how much this helped me today… :)
      Welcome to the Rebelution!

      • margabranica

        I’m happy to hear that :) Glory to God!

  • cara d

    Having nothing doesn’t mean finishing in debt. Sometimes it means finishing with a stronger faith and a clearer understanding of what it means for God to provide. On the other hand, sometimes God provides through things like scholarships. Money shouldn’t really be the deciding factor for things but be wise in your own situation.

  • Seth Yoder

    That can definitely be a deciding factor, but if you feel God’s calling to another college, then I’d say that overrules any scholarship. :) Also, don’t go to college just because everyone else does, or its “the thing to do.” I’d say if you know for sure what you want you’re career to be, and that career requires college, then go for it! But many jobs and careers can be self taught, or learned through apprenticeship. For me, personally, I would, if possible, choose an apprenticeship over college any day. You get payed to learn!!! But that’s just me. :)

  • Isaac Kitchen

    this is definitely something I have wondered about myself, GREAT question!!

  • Samuel Gonzalez

    Choosing a college is a tough decision. I haven’t gone to college yet myself so maybe I don’t have the correct insight. But what I know is that God’s word overrules all other opinion. Whether that is a word on college or your day-to-day life. Not as if God will say in the Bible the name of your college option. But I know that He knows the plans He has for you even when you dont. (Jerimiah 29:11) So all you can do is ask him where he wants you to be going with your life. If you already know, then awesome! Then you just need to figure out his plan for which specific college. But if you don’t know, then he is still listening for your call. Even though He might not answer right away like clouds in the sky, (because He wants you to pursue him in faith) He does have a plan. In that case, your job is to ask Him/pursue Him for the answer in faith. Maybe this doesn’t really clear anything up, but its the best I’ve got.
    Good luck with your searching! :)

  • I think it depends on the school. Lets say you get a scholarship from Liberty University. Personally, I’d instantly take the offer. It’s a great christian school, and I would be surrounding yourself with people like me. That would help me keep my focus on God. But if I got it from anywhere else, like Miami University, I would look into the school to see what kind of people I’m surrounding myself with, or if the curriculum is good. Because at a non christian college, there is more of a chance of swearing, gay people, etc. That gives me a bigger chance of losing my relationship with God. All in all, for me it depends on the collage’s students, the atmosphere, and the collage’s beliefs.

    • Amanda

      I get what you’re saying, but at a secular college your faith is tested and you find out how strong it is. You also get more opportunities to share your faith with nonbelievers and to take a stand for the truth.

      If you’re really saved, you’ll be able to follow God no matter what happens and no matter what anybody thinks of you. If you’re afraid that you’ll stray from your relationship with Him, I’d be concerned that it isn’t genuine to begin with. I know these are kind of strong words, but I’m just thinking….

      • Karl Jacob

        I would be concerned, as well, going to a Christian university, of falling into the trap of the “American Christian,” who believes in God and the Bible, but still lives a “normal” middle-class life, not really changing their life to follow God’s will instead of theirs. I don’t think that this is what God calls us to be as believers, yet it is the kind of person who fills many churches today. Our lives should be more God-centered, more selfless: there should be a difference.

        • Amanda

          Yes, there’s that possibility too. Thanks for adding that. :)

  • I do not think that scholarships should be the deciding factor for what college you go to. My dad was offered three (I think) scholarships for art, but he declined all three offers to pursue a job in the car industry. People thought he was nuts. How was he to support a family by selling cars?
    Gods plan wasn’t for dad to go to art college. Here we are, 20 years later: my dad is still working with cars, and makes more than enough to support our family.
    Gods plan is good and perfect. It may seem crazy to decline a scholarship, but if you know that God isn’t calling you there, trust Him!
    I do know of people who have accepted scholarships and are right where God wants them to be. I don’t think it’s wrong to accept a scholarship, as long as you know that its Gods will for you.

  • I don’t believe scholarships should be the deciding factor, and this is coming from someone who is going to be relying heavily on scholarships. Are they important? Absolutely! But instead of starting with the money, start with God. Pray for His guidance in selecting a college, and then pray for the financial ability to go where He is calling you. If He wants you to go to a certain college, He will make a way. :)

  • Gabrielle

    The deciding factor in choosing a college should be what God is telling you. We have to seek Him, and allow Him to direct us when it comes to choosing a college to go to. In some cases, He may not even want you to go to college. Never know, that’s why we have to seek Him.

  • Elizabeth Marie

    Nope! Scholarships should not be a deciding factor! But I also don’t believe that “in GOD’s name” we should go into debt!

    We are called to be “good stewards” of the resources He has given us, and the Bible talks about adding up the cost before building the house…

  • Nate Salvati

    A scholarship is a college seeing your talents. Sure you must take careful consideration on other colleges, but if a college offered me a scholarship for one of my talents, that college would be on my top list of colleges. A scholarship might be God showing what path he wants you to take to use your talents.

  • Pseudonym

    Hello everyone!

    I am a college freshman. I did NOT enjoy deciding where to go to college. I had three major options: a christian college that would give me a full tuition scholarship, a state school that would nearly be paying me, and a school that would pay for most of my tuition. I chose the third option after a lot of prayer, asking for advice, thought, and a couple of meltdowns. I am fortunate, my parents are helping me out significantly and I do realize that not everyone has that.

    However, I did not choose the cheapest college or the christian college. I had lots of friends going to that christian college, and I felt that I would be too focused on making friendships rather than focusing on God and my studies. What really helped me was reading the story of Rehoboam. Also, I felt that college was for academics, and the christian college was not really what I was looking for in that regard. I will confess, I have brothers and sisters in Chirst at my church at home that don’t really understand, but what surprised me the most was the support I received after I had decided. More people understood than I had expected.

    What I am trying to say is ask for help, pray, and don’t be afraid to let some people down. You can’t please everyone.

    Do what is best for you. No school is perfect for everyone. Don’t panic, it will work out. It looks SO much better from the other side of the decision! I never thought that I could be so content with my decision! This is such a messy situation.

    Hope this helps… No one needs any extra pressure!

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