I'm a big fan of David Gordon's book reviews. My sense from what I've read of the anti-establishment right is that Gordon's critique is spot on: they do not understand the nature of the state and imagine they can easily retool it for right-wing purposes.

How did the anti-porn movement collapse?

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On Christian colleges, one question is whether they're incorrectly balancing between frivolous or superficial goals, and actually providing an affordable education.

The WSJ had this article about state flagships overspending (can't recall if Aaron previously highlighted it):


Being highly familiar with at least one state flagship, I have little doubt that too much money is spent on buildings at state flagships. From the outside, it seems that everyone in the administration wants to do little else besides build buildings and pat themselves on the back and toot their own horns for building buildings. I attended a retirement event for a longtime member of our state flagship's administration. All of his achievements in a decades-long career were framed in terms of buildings he got built. None of them were framed in terms of delivering an affordable education for the state's residents.

But to what degree are Christian schools that way? I couldn't gather that from the article Aaron linked. Patrick Henry (a school I wasn't familiar with) claims here that, despite a lack of Federal funding, its costs are actually pretty low, though not as low as Grove City (which I've previously observed has about the lowest sticker price of any conservative Christian school):


So according to the numbers Patrick Henry cites, the first woman mentioned, with a $12,000/year, scholarship, would have spent $103,000 for tuition+room+board for 4 years at current prices, presumably a little less in the years she attended (graduated in 2021). The school has dorms and 3x/day meal plans, so I think that's a real number, not an assumption about market prices (which would leave open the opportunity for trickery).

She also says she was working "up to" 30 hours/week, which I guess might gross $5,000 or $10,000/year, surely enough to cover other consumption and maybe make a dent in tuition, but it doesn't seem to have done anything for her. Instead, you need to assume around a 10% yield on her loans, and no help from anywhere else, to get to the $120,000 balance at graduation.

I have to think she was probably overspending. But still, around $100k seems like the kind of debt you should expect at current prices from 4 years at a non-community college without a major scholarship, a meaningful part-time job, or parental help. The fact that most students graduate with less suggests that they have some of these things, and it's probably good that we see to it that our own kids do as well.

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I have no idea what the students at the small Christian liberal arts college I teach at actually pay. I am told that the figures in student handbook are made up and essentially everyone gets some sort of scholarship.

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Depending on the school, some databases online (I think the NYTIMES has one) where they list the median cost of attendance in lieu of any scholarships/financial aid a student may receive.

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Sure. Though "some sort of scholarship" could mean 1% or 100%. So I don't think the price is meaningless -- just like sticker price on a car isn't meaningless, even if everyone expects to get something back (or did, before the recent inventory situation).

I think it's wise to apply to a lot of schools for just this reason, particularly if you're looking at private college. For whatever reason, one of them might decide to pony up the dough. And unlike buying a car, there's not much room for wheeling and dealing.

I was accepted to two private universities of roughly equal academic quality (and even roughly comparable endowments, in per capita terms). One of them offered me a combination of merit-based and need-based scholarships that amounted to 100% of tuition. One offered me $1000/year, which I think was about 4% of tuition in those days (about 20 years ago).

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