Revolutionary Thinking and the American Church

Sewanee: The University of the South
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The debate provoked by the Episcopal Church now playing out in the Anglican Covenant might end up being overshadowed by an even more disruptive change brought on by prayerful reflection.

What could be more disruptive than that, you ask?

I’m talking about the decision by the Board of Trustees of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee to CUT tuition and fees for the next school year by 10% to reflect the “new economic realities” facing its students and their families.

While virtually every other college and university is raising its tuition and fees, Sewanee’s action is a direct challenge to each of them to do a little prayerful reflection on their own.  The University of the South is owned by 28 dioceses of the Episcopal Church.

Higher education is on the verge of pricing itself beyond the reach of more and more families.”-–Sewanee President John McCardell Jr.

Every parent of a college age kid knows exactly what he is talking about.  It does not matter whether the school is public or private, sectarian or church affiliated, higher education has lived in its ivory Tower seemingly insulated from the economic realities around it.  It spends money as if it could print its own by merely demanding it of students, alumni or the public.

The Federal Government is also provoking some disruptive change of its own with the challenge by the Department of Education to private, for profit, colleges whose business model is to enroll students eligible for federal student aid or loans and charge tuition and fees disproportionate to the earning power of the students graduating.  While this is a shot at the private technical schools and the University of Phoenix—the same logic applies to public universities and private colleges including the Ivy Leagues to get their costs under control.

Thanks be to Sewanee for leading the way.

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