Presidents of faith-based institutions of higher learning, including Mormon, Jewish and Muslim leaders, found they have common cause in defending the value and uniqueness of a faith-based environment and education. While I think their tone may have been a bit too defensive, the reality is that they have been under fire by many liberal organizations. The chief complaints by these outsiders, it seems, are the anti-gay attitudes (I won’t elaborate here) and limits on free-thinking by faculty imposed by many Christian colleges and universities. Stands taken by evangelical institutions especially tend to rouse the liberals. Requiring students to sign pledges that they will not have premarital-sex contradicts human biological tendencies, many argue. Maybe so, but here’s the rub: No one forces students to enroll in these institutions, and if they do enroll and soon feel out of step with progressive thinking – or their own sexuality – I am not aware of anyone being chained to their dorms or desks to assure their purity.
While it’s not Moses parting the Red Sea, the divide between traditional secular colleges and universities and those that are faith-based, appears to have widened over the past decade. Falling enrollment for many is a real threat as traditional feeder systems gradually diminish; Catholic prep schools, mostly in urban areas, for example, have all but disappeared. Much the same thing has happened to Presbyterian, Lutheran and other Protestant sects. Many of these schools are small – less than 10,000 students – and do not have the budget for modern marketing techniques, plus they tend to put people in charge of marketing that have little or no relevant experience. The result is falling enrollment and diminishing revenue while expenses keep increasing. The solution to this dilemma for many is to embrace proven digital marketing techniques; that’s one of the reasons my organization developed College Lead Exchange, an open, easy to use online platform where colleges have access to prospective enrollees whose profiles neatly fit with each school’s target student.
It should be of interest to faith-based schools that another component of my organization has for the last seven years examined over fourteen hundred colleges and universities while we looked for good, reasonably priced but little-known colleges and universities (www.bestvaluecolleges.org). For 2018-19 we selected thirty-eight faith-based schools as Best Value Colleges. Key to final selection is the requirement that more than sixty-five percent of a school’s students and alumni must have positive comments about the school, it’s environment, faculty and fellow students. As a result of our research, it is very obvious that there is a place for faith-based institutions in the American higher education landscape. Families and students who feel comfortable in a God-centered environment should have places to go to further their education without feeling threatened or uncomfortable. Similarly, those who are part of the LGBTQ movement or mindset should be free to choose a college that supports their way of thinking. There are good reasons why faith-based schools are an important part of America’s higher education landscape. I only hope that their administrators open their eyes to proven digital marketing techniques in time to preserve their institutions.
Inside Higher Ed’s article can be found at https://bit.ly/2HPIJKo
College Lead Exchange can be accessed at www.collegeleadexchange.com