"Go to war on student debt."
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, voiced the exhortation during the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee in mid-September.
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"If your concern is to get young people into the churches or on the mission fields, the greatest enemy other than Satan himself is educational debt," Mohler said, "because there are far too many young people graduating who are slaves to that debt when they need to be unfettered slaves to Christ."
Chris Gacek of the Family Research Council, in a panel discussion hosted by the FRC in late September, likewise underscored the specter of collegians sinking into debt they may require a lifetime to repay.
"It's time for us all to get real about college education and what it is, what it entails and what it's going to cost us and what it produces," Gacek said.
Student loan debt, which surpassed $1 trillion in late 2011, surpassed credit card debt ($975.7 billion) in 2008 as the leading cause of debt in the United States. While credit card debt is decreasing, student loan debt continues to rise, with the average student amassing $25,250 in educational loans, according to the nonprofit Project on Student Debt. Unlike credit card debt, which can be refinanced or wiped out with bankruptcy, student loans will not go away. Even in bankruptcy, the individual is expected to repay his or her loan.
During the FRC panel discussion, college debt experts encouraged students to make college choices in cooperation with their parents, talk about college goals and reduce spending before and during college.
The student debt problem begins when students and families do not prepare for college spending, said panelist Sophia Ephraim, a Dave Ramsey-certified financial counselor and founder of Haven Financial Counseling Services in Laurel, Md.
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SOURCE: Baptist Press