Contact Info Subscribe Links



College Logo

be a good steward...send your
child to fwbbc

Seven tips on how to make sound economic choices and stretch the educational dollar.

by Tom Sass

Find out more about Free Will Baptist Bible College at



Life is full of important choices. Asking Jesus Christ to forgive your sins, accepting Him as personal Savior, and following Him as Lord of your life is without question the most important choice. But at least two other important life decisions rank high—choosing a spouse and selecting a college. At first glance, the college choice seems to be a distant third. However, statistical data indicate it is particularly important to 53% of college-bound, Christian students.


Dollars Versus Eternity

We all want to be good stewards of what the Lord has entrusted to us—especially our children—making stewardship of family paramount. At the same time, stewardship is heavily connected with the use of money, as pointed out in Scripture by Jesus Himself. With today’s tough economic times, many of us are forcibly weighing-in on how to make the dollar stretch. Belt-tightening is taking place with virtually everyone. How we manage the limited resources God has provided certainly relates to choices in higher education.

The previously-mentioned 53% of the nation’s Christian youth who choose a secular college (or university) end up with no church affiliation after four years of college; two-thirds of that 53% drift from the moorings of their faith during their freshman year. That’s 53 of every 100 students who once attended a Bible-believing church, accepted Christ, and were strong in the faith. Those are scary numbers. While some can withstand demonic blasts from both a hostile classroom and a postmodern student environment, a godless atmosphere can cripple or destroy one’s faith.


Pull Quote



Five Money-Saving Tips

The choice of colleges seems to weigh heavily on finances (or the lack thereof). Here at Free Will Baptist Bible College, we know that the catalog’s $18,438-per-year price tag for a full-time dormitory student can look overwhelming, especially in days of economic upheaval. After more than 35 years of observing how FWBBC students pay for their schooling, I have good news. Your child attending FWBBC can be both the will of God and good stewardship!

Let’s tackle finances by following stewardship tips that take the bite out of college tuition:


Tip #1: Apply for the Hope/Lifetime Learning Tax Credit. $2,000.

You or your child may be eligible for an income tax credit or a refund each year. Contact a tax professional or review IRS Publication 970.

Tip #2: Your son or daughter works part-time during the school year. $4,103.

This figure comes from a part-time job paying $8 per hour (many earn more), working four hours per day, five days a week (amount is net, claiming no deductions). For most students, working helps them become better stewards of their free time, since the actual number of hours in a class setting for a full-time student is less than 14 hours a week.

Tip #3: You reinvest cost savings at home. $1,920.

While your child is away at college, the food bill, electric bill, water bill, and other expenses are much less. A conservative estimate on direct savings is $8 a day, or $240 a month, for at least eight months. Apply those savings to the college bill.

Tip #4: Your son or daughter works full-time during the summer. $3,459.

A full-time summer job for $7 per hour for 15 weeks will provide a good down payment for the fall semester (amount is net, claiming no deductions).

Tip #5: Have your child begin FWBBC with a lighter class load. $2,454.

If your child enrolls for 12 instead of 15 hours per semester, he or she is still classified as a full-time student for financial aid and insurance purposes, cutting costs $409 per class hour.


Total in earnings and savings: $13,936


Two Unexpected Tips

Free Money. The tips above leave only $4,502 of the original $18,438 to be paid. While that’s better than where we started, how can you pay that last $4,500? Scores of different types of financial aid are available. Many are “free money” programs such as scholarships and grants. In fact, in 2007, the average full-time FWBBC student received $4,743 a year in scholarships and grants! Of course, many other types of financial aid are available, such as low-interest loans. Contact the college’s financial aid office to find out more information.

Avoiding the Car Trap. Here’s one final tip that’s worth a good amount. Help your son or daughter avoid excessive monthly auto and insurance payments. Many students arrive at FWBBC already saddled with vehicle costs that would be a strain even if they were not in college. If it’s not already too late, guide your child to a reasonable mode of transportation (used, gas-efficient, and reliable) for their college years. Every dollar saved can be applied toward the cost of education.


Short-Term and Long-Term Investment

Stewardship with an eye toward the eternal is what really captures our attention. But investing in a Free Will Baptist Bible College education accomplishes both short-term and long-term stewardship benefits. Short-term, sons and daughters learn and mature in a Free Will Baptist Christian community of faith and learning. They are encouraged to consider God’s will for their lives at a most critical time in their lives.

Long-term, those sons and daughters become pastors, teachers, missionaries, youth leaders, Christian journalists, lawyers, business leaders—all with a Christian worldview. So dollars put toward a FWBBC education are a great investment in your child, a great investment in the denomination, and ultimately a great investment in the Lord’s Kingdom work.

About Choice #2. Remember the important #2 choice from the opening paragraph—choosing a spouse? Understandably, hundreds of college alumni marry classmates they meet at FWBBC. In the vast majority of cases, the marriage/family commitment and commitment to Christ become stronger by sharing the FWBBC experience.

Even better, they find life-long friendships with other alumni who share their same Christian worldviews and love for Free Will Baptists. No doubt you pray for your son or daughter to be led to that perfect, ‘til-death-do-us-part mate. This could be the unexpected blessing and the icing on the cake. Now that’s good stewardship that’s priceless!

ABOUT THE WRITER: Tom Sass is vice president for financial affairs at Free Will Baptist Bible College. He met his wife, Sheila, while attending FWBBC.



©2009 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists