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Financial and economic challenges to Church activity


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My daughter and my son returning from a mission will be out of the honors dorm in the Fall, and will need to find an apartment with roommates. As we have looked in (the very expensive) Flagstaff, and as we have compared that to (the maybe more expensive) Provo (we've never really considered BYU, but I went there and met my wife up there), it's eye-popping how much college housing has skyrocketed. Roommates today pay around $400 apiece, compared to $85 apiece for me in the late 1990s. My wife and I both made $6.00 an hour then. Back-of-the envelope ratios show that a student today would need to make $28.00 an hour for the ratio of income-to-housing to be the same. And then there are the disproportionately higher costs of everything else on top of that. It's nuts! We were able to pay for school on $6.00, without loans, grants, or scholarships (granted, BYU tuition then was only $1500 a semester. We worked, saved, paid rent, and then paid tuition and books. Rinse, repeat). We've been fortunate that our kids have gotten full tuition scholarships, and then grants pay for the rest, so they haven't had to pay anything for school ($23,000 a year), but we realize that most families with two incomes don't qualify for the grants (most families now; single income families are extremely rare). 

My wife and I were talking about financial impediments to activity/progress in the Church. We don't think they are impediments, but we recognize that they are for some people. What are we missing on this list?

1. Unwillingness/fear of paying a full tithing and offerings.

2. Necessity (or perceived necessity) of both parents working. Yes, we know that for some, this isn't an option, and for others, it's better for their emotional health. That's up to each family, of course, but we think it's undeniable that the real or perceived necessity drives most couples to work now. 

3. Difficulty in upward job mobility. The PEF was intended to lift up Saints economically, but also enable them to serve better in the Church because they have to be slaves to the low-paying rat race to get by. I think this is also a factor in the "first world" as well. Many could serve more or better if they weren't forced to do low-paying drudgery because of lack of skills or certification. The Pathway/BYUI program is addressing this (sort of --- more comments on this once the thread has more discussion, I'm sure). 

What other aspects of financial/economic challenges are we forgetting (I'm sure there are other good insights we aren't thinking about). 

Thanks in advance!

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13 minutes ago, rongo said:

My daughter and my son returning from a mission will be out of the honors dorm in the Fall, and will need to find an apartment with roommates. As we have looked in (the very expensive) Flagstaff, and as we have compared that to (the maybe more expensive) Provo (we've never really considered BYU, but I went there and met my wife up there), it's eye-popping how much college housing has skyrocketed.

I was shocked when I saw an ad for apartments near ASU that called them "luxury student apartments".  Rent is high enough now I can't imagine paying luxury prices on top of that!

13 minutes ago, rongo said:

Roommates today pay around $400 apiece, compared to $85 apiece for me in the late 1990s. My wife and I both made $6.00 an hour then. Back-of-the envelope ratios show that a student today would need to make $28.00 an hour for the ratio of income-to-housing to be the same. And then there are the disproportionately higher costs of everything else on top of that. It's nuts! We were able to pay for school on $6.00, without loans, grants, or scholarships (granted, BYU tuition then was only $1500 a semester. We worked, saved, paid rent, and then paid tuition and books. Rinse, repeat). We've been fortunate that our kids have gotten full tuition scholarships, and then grants pay for the rest, so they haven't had to pay anything for school ($23,000 a year), but we realize that most families with two incomes don't qualify for the grants (most families now; single income families are extremely rare). 

My wife and I were talking about financial impediments to activity/progress in the Church. We don't think they are impediments, but we recognize that they are for some people. What are we missing on this list?

1. Unwillingness/fear of paying a full tithing and offerings.

As a student even back then (I think I am just a few years older than you except...I was paid only $4.25-4.75) that was a fear for me each time I paid, but after awhile I saw it as blessings because of the experiences we had.

13 minutes ago, rongo said:

   

2. Necessity (or perceived necessity) of both parents working. Yes, we know that for some, this isn't an option, and for others, it's better for their emotional health. That's up to each family, of course, but we think it's undeniable that the real or perceived necessity drives most couples to work now. 

I don't know if this is as bug of a thing as it was when we were in college.  First of all the counsel has changed, but also I don't hear women going into careers out of necessity near as much.  Now I hear about them doing it more like a calling that God gave them with the strengths he also have them.  That is how my daughter sees it and she very carefully used her patriarchal blessing and prayer to get to that point. I think she was bigger into doing it than many of her friends, but generally it is the overall feeling I get from these women now days.

3. Difficulty in upward job mobility. The PEF was intended to lift up Saints economically, but also enable them to serve better in the Church because they have to be slaves to the low-paying rat race to get by. I think this is also a factor in the "first world" as well. Many could serve more or better if they weren't forced to do low-paying drudgery because of lack of skills or certification.

I think this goes both ways.  The income definitely helps you to help others, but timewise my husband works far more in his professional jobs than he did in his low paying jobs. 

13 minutes ago, rongo said:

The Pathway/BYUI program is addressing this (sort of --- more comments on this once the thread has more discussion, I'm sure). 

What other aspects of financial/economic challenges are we forgetting (I'm sure there are other good insights we aren't thinking about). 

Thanks in advance!

I keep trying to come up with some.  I think "well this is something", but then realize it was a problem then for us as well.  Like health insurance and what it didn't cover then, but covers now.  

I don't know.  I think a lot of tithing is a mindset more than ability.  It was actually easier to pay tithing on less money for us than on more.  

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15 minutes ago, Rain said:

As a student even back then (I think I am just a few years older than you except...I was paid only $4.25-4.75) that was a fear for me each time I paid, but after awhile I saw it as blessings because of the experiences we had.

We've never had any problem paying tithing, and we have had tithing miracles in spades, but I empathize with people who are afraid. It can be a terrifying leap, especially when it doesn't make sense on paper. I love Heber C. Kimball's statements that God doesn't bless us on the principle of 2 + 2 = 4. But that can be easy to talk about, and harder to do when you have to figuratively step off the cliff and trust in a miracle. I've also counseled people that even if you don't get a miracle, you are in good standing with God and can confidently ask Him for help and blessings, whereas if you held back out of fear, there wouldn't be the same confidence. 

 

20 minutes ago, Rain said:

I think this goes both ways.  The income definitely helps you to help others, but timewise my husband works far more in his professional jobs than he did in his low paying jobs. 

Very good point. There is usually a commensurate time demand along with the higher pay. Stress, too. 

We believe that we have been greatly blessed with our "relative poverty." We can meet our needs, focus on our family and church service, and avoid a lot of the problems that "wealthier" families have faced (spoiled kids, or at least, kids who haven't had to learn to do without. Electronics addiction. Etc.). I have often wondered how we would be different without financial challenges. 

I love what I do, and we get a lot of family time. That's why I never want to go into administration, unlike most teachers (most would like to get out of the classroom, truth be told). 

 

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Pathway/BYUI is **extremely** affordable, which is fantastic. My wife got her bachelor's in University Studies December 2019 through that. But, the classes are kind of rinky-dink, and the degree/program offerings have been pared back significantly over the years (her University Studies degree is no longer offered). They are steering people towards business or technology, but many degree seekers through that have no interest or use for that. My wife has been substitute teaching --- all she needed was a bachelor's degree, any bachelor's degree. And, from the beginning, Pathway/BYUI said they weren't going to be offering teaching certification. I think a significant number of people would take that route if it were offered, and there is a big shortage of teachers, so that would help our communities and world, as well as improving the lot of graduates. I really don't understand the rationale behind not wanting to offer teaching through Pathway Connect. 

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College: "That'll be $8,000 please."
Kid: "Oh dang - I only have $2,000."
Lender (from the shadows): "Psst kid, here's $6,000."
Kid: "Great!"

College: "Wait - did that other $6k come from a lender?  How much will they lend you?"
Lender (whispering): "Whatever they need, kid.  Lemme know, I'll hook you up."

 

Is there anyone with a different perspective about how it works?

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2 hours ago, rongo said:

Pathway/BYUI is **extremely** affordable, which is fantastic. My wife got her bachelor's in University Studies December 2019 through that. But, the classes are kind of rinky-dink, and the degree/program offerings have been pared back significantly over the years (her University Studies degree is no longer offered). They are steering people towards business or technology, but many degree seekers through that have no interest or use for that. My wife has been substitute teaching --- all she needed was a bachelor's degree, any bachelor's degree. And, from the beginning, Pathway/BYUI said they weren't going to be offering teaching certification. I think a significant number of people would take that route if it were offered, and there is a big shortage of teachers, so that would help our communities and world, as well as improving the lot of graduates. I really don't understand the rationale behind not wanting to offer teaching through Pathway Connect. 

I have a bachelors so I've never looked into Pathway, but from the little I've heard from other people, it seems like their degrees aren't very useful.  They are useful for someone who just needs any degree but otherwise, I can't imagine they help people move up in the world that much.  

But at least they are affordable.  I have a friend who recently got his Business Administration degree, and honestly, he probably won't ever earn enough with that degree to make the loan debt worth it.  

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3 hours ago, rongo said:

The PEF was intended to lift up Saints economically, but also enable them to serve better in the Church because they have to be slaves to the low-paying rat race to get by. I think this is also a factor in the "first world" as well.

Well, there's a high-paying rat race as well. Maybe it has nicer floors, but it comes with many of the same problems: long hours, frequent travel, etc. All of which can inhibit one's ability to serve. 

 

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6 minutes ago, LoudmouthMormon said:

College: "That'll be $8,000 please."
Kid: "Oh dang - I only have $2,000."
Lender (from the shadows): "Psst kid, here's $6,000."
Kid: "Great!"

College: "Wait - did that other $6k come from a lender?  How much will they lend you?"
Lender (whispering): "Whatever they need, kid.  Lemme know, I'll hook you up."

 

Is there anyone with a different perspective about how it works?

And it's the availability of the loans that has increased college prices.  If no one could afford 10,000 a semester (for a rinky state college) then the school would not be charging that much.  That's why people used to be able to work their way through school.  Not anymore.

It's the same with the price of books.  When I was getting my history degree it was normal to spend $1000 or more on books for 12-15 credits (4-5 classes).  

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It is a cascade desperately in need of a correction. We had a generation that grew up with college as an option but not a requirement and those who went to college made more money, usually quite a bit more. The idea becomes that the path to wealth is a college degree. Their kids and grandkids get a lot more degrees. Colleges see this and start charging more and a lot more colleges open (with way too many scams slipping in). People start borrowing money to go to school. There are not enough banks willing to risk it so government starts offering loans to help those who cannot get them. Through a weird bit of trickery somehow student loan debts become almost non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. With the risk on the loans now way down the private lenders jump back into the game with a vengeance. This surplus of money pushes the cost of college even higher. There are more college educated people than are needed and businesses start expecting degrees for jobs that shouldn't require them so more people go to school. A lot of people go to school for economically questionable degrees and the money is available even though it is unlikely to pay off.

There are also all kinds of external factors but this will break at some point.

Note I personally want everyone to have access to a college education or some kind of equivalent. Not because of the economic benefits but because I believe it is important for people to be able to improve their minds and because knowing and applying knowledge is affirming and a joy. Tying knowledge solely to its ability to generate wealth hurts the search for knowledge. Of course the pandemic has taught us that many are more after the college experience than the degree. That is not new either. The description of many of the schools in ancient Greece show a similar attitude.

This also part of a larger problem. We are going to have to come to terms soon with the reality that if technology continues to increase maintaining full employment as we understand it is probably not going to be practical.

Edited by The Nehor
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27 minutes ago, bluebell said:

And it's the availability of the loans that has increased college prices.  If no one could afford 10,000 a semester (for a rinky state college) then the school would not be charging that much.  That's why people used to be able to work their way through school.  Not anymore.

It's the same with the price of books.  When I was getting my history degree it was normal to spend $1000 or more on books for 12-15 credits (4-5 classes).  

I wish the federal government were out of the loan business altogether, so school loans would be like any other loans: subject to credit risk assessment by the lender (i.e., if the lender thinks a borrower is likely to default, the lender won't lend the money). College would drop down to a reasonable amount overnight, but there would be pain for the bloated bureaucracies and bells and whistles schools have used to attract students. As it is, community college is still very affordable, but that's only up to a two-year associate's degree. 

They've learned to maximize profits with book sales: most now don't have a buy-back option, so you have to buy their exclusive required book, or rent it. Usually, they are online books, so you're buying an access code. 

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Just now, rongo said:

I wish the federal government were out of the loan business altogether, so school loans would be like any other loans: subject to credit risk assessment by the lender (i.e., if the lender thinks a borrower is likely to default, the lender won't lend the money). College would drop down to a reasonable amount overnight, but there would be pain for the bloated bureaucracies and bells and whistles schools have used to attract students. As it is, community college is still very affordable, but that's only up to a two-year associate's degree. 

They've learned to maximize profits with book sales: most now don't have a buy-back option, so you have to buy their exclusive required book, or rent it. Usually, they are online books, so you're buying an access code. 

You would also have to kill never being able to discharge education loans in bankruptcy or the private sector will fill the need with higher interest loans. Rationally the kids should know better than to take the offer but 18 and 19 year olds are not , as a group, known for long-term planning. If the banks were more careful and only loaned to people getting degrees more likely to pay out later the supply of available money would fall and colleges would lower prices.

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36 minutes ago, bluebell said:

I have a bachelors so I've never looked into Pathway, but from the little I've heard from other people, it seems like their degrees aren't very useful.  They are useful for someone who just needs any degree but otherwise, I can't imagine they help people move up in the world that much.  

But at least they are affordable.  I have a friend who recently got his Business Administration degree, and honestly, he probably won't ever earn enough with that degree to make the loan debt worth it.  

My wife loved her associates at the community college. Good classes, good coursework. She really enjoyed the Pathway start-up program. BYU-Idaho has been a mess. What's frustrating is the utility of the degree is dropping in the U.S., as you say. The classes are taught by adjuncts all over the place, and they are the typical online "discussion group: post one post a week, and comment on two others.'" Check-box stuff. Or infuriating group work, where you rely on deadbeats who are never going to do their part by midnight, so you can't submit yours (which you would have long before, but you had to wait. Now it's minutes to midnight). 

The real purpose, it appears, is providing a means to a college degree for people in third-world countries, which is commendable. But, it's bad for North Americans getting a degree. 

Customer service/counseling is the absolute worst. It's set up to be students with a flip chart but little else, so they can't help you with your specific urgent question. You can't call back and talk to them again after they've done some research, because it's a call center and the queue system shunts the calls, so they literally have no way of getting in touch with "Amber, whom I spoke with on Tuesday." No, there is no direct number or extension to reach anyone, just the number you called. No, you can't talk to a supervisor. Why not? Because they are telling me that you can't. You can call again and speak with whomever, or you can send an email. The email goes into a void. People's credits and graduation are at stake and depend on the answers, and you are on the run-around treadmill for weeks and months with vital questions unanswered. The worst (but funny after the fact, a year later) was our friend. She is good friend's with my wife, and was our young women's president. She was in worse shape in this vicious cycle of a system (vital questions, no authoritative answers, no prospects of any progress, multiple emails into the void). She was very forceful and frantic in her final email, and made it clear how impossible this all was, and that it was jeopardizing her graduation, and the response email from whomever responds said, "I'm sorry you're having trouble. I hope you find peace." This has become a big inside joke between us, but at the time, "I hope you find peace" was no help whatsoever with the problems (many of which have to do with financial aid that is turned down, but shouldn't have been, why was it turned down, how can we get this fixed, we're 100% sure this is not correct and needs to be corrected, etc.) 

It was **very** affordable, though. :) 

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1 hour ago, The Nehor said:

You would also have to kill never being able to discharge education loans in bankruptcy or the private sector will fill the need with higher interest loans. Rationally the kids should know better than to take the offer but 18 and 19 year olds are not , as a group, known for long-term planning. If the banks were more careful and only loaned to people getting degrees more likely to pay out later the supply of available money would fall and colleges would lower prices.

Absolutely. That's the other side of the coin. Lend well, banks, because they could discharge it through bankruptcy. 

ETA: I also like what President Mitch Daniels is doing at Purdue. Purdue no longer accepts loans. Instead, you borrow directly from the university, and pay the university back directly. How much credit the university is willing to extend to you depends on your degree (i.e., your ability to work immediately and pay back the loan, or what your prospects are of being able to work soon in that field). So, lesbian dance theory majors (or other majors people can't find jobs in) are discouraged for people wanting a loan from the university. 

Edited by rongo
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8 hours ago, rongo said:

Roommates today pay around $400 apiece, compared to $85 apiece for me in the late 1990s.

Is that per week, per month, per semester?

The median cost for a room in a share house in our city is currently US$154.88 per week, plus expenses.

I just checked accommodation options at the university where I used to work. The cost for a room in an undergraduate hall runs from US$189.73 per week to US$243.94 per week! That's just for a room, no catering.

Quote

What other aspects of financial/economic challenges are we forgetting (I'm sure there are other good insights we aren't thinking about). 

Two others come to mind:

  • Having to work on weekends.
  • Expenses associated with travel to the temple, including the need to pay for accommodation and outside meals.
Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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1 hour ago, rongo said:

Absolutely. That's the other side of the coin. Lend well, banks, because they could discharge it through bankruptcy. 

ETA: I also like what President Mitch Daniels is doing at Purdue. Purdue no longer accepts loans. Instead, you borrow directly from the university, and pay the university back directly. How much credit the university is willing to extend to you depends on your degree (i.e., your ability to work immediately and pay back the loan, or what your prospects are of being able to work soon in that field). So, lesbian dance theory majors (or other majors people can't find jobs in) are discouraged for people wanting a loan from the university. 

Does anyone ever get tired of using LGBT as a punching bag?

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12 minutes ago, california boy said:

Does anyone ever get tired of using LGBT as a punching bag?

That was very disappointing. 

I hope the next president will work on helping the students afford college/dorms. 

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3 hours ago, Amulek said:

Well, there's a high-paying rat race as well. Maybe it has nicer floors, but it comes with many of the same problems: long hours, frequent travel, etc. All of which can inhibit one's ability to serve. 

There certainly is, and it certainly can. It's a different problem: for the one, one must work long and hard and barely get by. For the other, one must work long and hard for good pay, but one can't get off the lab rat treadmill because of house, car, boat, Disneyland, etc. 

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8 hours ago, rongo said:

.......................We've been fortunate that our kids have gotten full tuition scholarships, and then grants pay for the rest, so they haven't had to pay anything for school ($23,000 a year), but we realize that most families with two incomes don't qualify for the grants (most families now; single income families are extremely rare). 

My wife and I were talking about financial impediments to activity/progress in the Church. We don't think they are impediments, but we recognize that they are for some people. What are we missing on this list?...............................

What other aspects of financial/economic challenges are we forgetting (I'm sure there are other good insights we aren't thinking about). ......................

 

4 hours ago, LoudmouthMormon said:

College: "That'll be $8,000 please."
Kid: "Oh dang - I only have $2,000."
............................... 
College: "Wait - did that other $6k come from a lender?  How much will they lend you?"
..............................  

Is there anyone with a different perspective about how it works?

The biggest threat to the LDS Church is not internet disclosures which shock members and cause them to apostatize, nor creeping secularism in general.  The greatest threat to the Church is heavy student debt and closure of future opportunity, which leads to a rapid downturn in marriage and children (currently at catastrophic levels and due to get much worse).  There is nothing like anomie and nihilism to stunt Church growth.

On both the foreign and domestic scene, the best investment the Church can make is in its youth.  Youth are already emphasized, and ward budgets allocate more to them than anyone else, but the high cost of college (or technical school) is one impediment to steady advancement of those youth.

BYU campuses are already subsidized, but that is not enough to overcome the rise in costs.  If the Church is to deal effectively with this onrushing problem (boondoggle) vast increases are called for here and abroad.  Full investment in promising students will more than pay for itself in the long run from the greatly increased likelihood of strong young families and the subsequent rise in tithing payments and other charitable contributions.  LDS members already give more per capita to charity than any other religious group, and data clearly show that better educated members are more faithful.  Church leaders might very well choose to use large sums from their wonderful endowment funds to deal with the current problem -- casting their bread upon the water, and faithfully expecting it to return.

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55 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

If the Church is to deal effectively with this onrushing problem (boondoggle) vast increases are called for here and abroad.

Thanks for worrying about us 'abroad' Saints, but we're pretty good in my corner of the vineyard. Both undergraduate university and vocational education are heavily subsidised by our national government, fees are weighted based on current and projected demand, and fees don't have to be paid up-front (though there is a discount for those who can/do). Repayments begin through automatic deductions once a worker's pay crosses a minimum threshold, and deductions are adjusted proportionally according to income. Postgraduate research degrees (the PhD) have extremely competitive entry requirements, but those who are successful have their full fees paid for up to four years and likewise receive a living allowance. (In short, it is treated like a job.)

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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3 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

Is that per week, per month, per semester?

The median cost for a room in a share house in our city is currently US$154.88 per week, plus expenses.

I just checked accommodation options at the university where I used to work. The cost for a room in an undergraduate hall runs from US$189.73 per week to US$243.94 per week! That's just for a room, no catering.

It's per month. When I got married, I and the other five in my apartment paid $85 per month. Like you pointed out, it is nearly $200 per week now, so even if there are roommates, it is significantly much more now. Such that one can't avoid loans even when earning $15 per hour.

 

3 hours ago, Hamba Tuhan said:

Two others come to mind:

  • Having to work on weekends.
  • Expenses associated with travel to the temple, including the need to pay for accommodation and outside meals.

Thank you for those! Having to work Sundays can be very stressful for those wanting to keep the Sabbath day holy --- even when they've been told that the ox is in the mire, God knows their heart, etc. You still have to work on Sunday. 

I don't think North Americans (well, those who aren't elderly) relate much to challenges with travel and lodging to attend the temple. 

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7 minutes ago, rchorse said:

The rising cost of college tends to not be as much of an issue in other countries. It's really primarily a U.S. issue. As the core of the church migrates outside the U.S., I don't see it hurting the church.

Having said that, too many in the U.S. overlook the skilled trades. You can become a master electrician, machinist, or plumber very affordably, get paid for most of your education and have your pick of jobs when you're done with your training. It's also typically much easier to start your own business in these areas. One of the big problems is that "blue collar" work is looked down on. It's sad, considering that you can have a very good career in those fields. All the plumbers and contractors I've known in the wards we've lived in have been some of the wealthiest members of the ward, and for the most part, they seemed to have a pretty good work/life balance, too. While I see the value in college, too many see an expensive education at a well known university as the only viable option.

I wish that we could shift to the European system, but it would be a political third rail. I'm familiar with the German-speaking countries, but other countries are similar. Students are determined in 5th grade to be college or non-college bound. Promising students go to Gymnasium, which are intense college-prep high schools. Non-college bound students go either to Realschule or Hauptshule, where they earn a diploma and a full certification, with apprenticeship, in a skilled trade (plumber, electrician, beautician, baker, hospitality, and many others). As you point out, there is no stigma in Europe as if this path were somehow "lesser," and they have a good life and can provide for their families. If a student really wants to go to college, or really doesn't want to, the determination is not final and can change. 

In the U.S. (and, I've read, Great Britain adopted our high school system),

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/11/how-britain-imported-the-american-high-school/

all students at all ability and motivation levels are in one big melting pot, with the "lowest common denominator" and behavioral results that we are all familiar with. That's why when people bemoan how American students stack up against international students, they're not comparing apples to apples. Our elites compare favorably with their elites, but our schools are a hodge-podge that have to accept everyone in their areas. It is no comparison to compare schools like that with a Gymnasium. If we could compare our all star teams with theirs, we do very well. 

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6 minutes ago, rongo said:

Students are determined in 5th grade to be college or non-college bound....

If a student really wants to go to college, or really doesn't want to, the determination is not final and can change. 

What about late bloomers?   How does it change if they are stuck in the non college bound courses where they aren’t getting training for college? (Talking about the ones without wealth that could provide tutoring, etc) My husband’s mother worried about him graduating high school (his writing was bad, handwriting worse, spelling...creative; spellcheck with its instant correction has helped him significantly).  He got a doctorate and is a college professor who has published, etc.

Edited by Calm
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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

The biggest threat to the LDS Church is not internet disclosures which shock members and cause them to apostatize, nor creeping secularism in general.  The greatest threat to the Church is heavy student debt and closure of future opportunity, which leads to a rapid downturn in marriage and children (currently at catastrophic levels and due to get much worse).  There is nothing like anomie and nihilism to stunt Church growth.

Thank you! Yes, debt in general and the (partially resultant from that) "closure of future opportunity, which leads to a rapid downturn in marriage and children" certainly has a big impact on the growth and progress of the Church. 

 

1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

BYU campuses are already subsidized, but that is not enough to overcome the rise in costs.  If the Church is to deal effectively with this onrushing problem (boondoggle) vast increases are called for here and abroad.  Full investment in promising students will more than pay for itself in the long run from the greatly increased likelihood of strong young families and the subsequent rise in tithing payments and other charitable contributions.  LDS members already give more per capita to charity than any other religious group, and data clearly show that better educated members are more faithful.  Church leaders might very well choose to use large sums from their wonderful endowment funds to deal with the current problem -- casting their bread upon the water, and faithfully expecting it to return.

While BYU is subsidized, man oh man, it's nowhere near what it used to be (because of the exponential rise in costs overall). My son, as a valedictorian with high test scores, was only offered a half-tuition scholarship at BYU, which is now much higher than the $1500 a semester I paid. Granted, the big scholarships are highly competitive, which shows the quality of the overall pool for BYU, it's a no-brainer when they get offers that allow them to not have to pay anything (and there is a good YSA/institute program). Friends and family of ours haven't had a good experience at BYU with professors, the program, or the student wards (very anecdotal and mileage varies, of course), so for us, the shine is off the BYU apple. We feel we have a much better experience at NAU --- especially with the student wards. 

I don't think the Brethren are going to subsidize it to where it's free or significantly less than what it already is. Our kids would have had to pay thousands after a half-tuition scholarship. 

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