Trusting God’s Provision as College Tuition Prices Skyrocket

An article from Sherri Gragg, freelance writer and author

Two of my five children will graduate high school in 2020. I’m excited that both are planning to attend college, but I have a confession to make. The thought of skyrocketing college tuition costs puts a serious damper on the excitement. I attended college in the 1990’s when tuition averaged $20,000 for a four-year degree. According to the U.S. Department of Labor[1], my kids are looking at more than $98,000 for an equivalent education.

Our family calendar is filled with college campus tours, and my prayer list is populated with quite a few “higher education” items. And since my kids are in the center of a maze known as the college application process, their own to-do lists and prayer lists are just as full. We aren’t alone.

A recent survey of 100,000 new high school graduates[2] reveals that most felt anxious about applying for college. Seventy percent of students surveyed reported feeling stressed during the college application process. An equal number said they wished they had received guidance from a trusted adult while applying for college.

As Christians, we have a supernatural option for handling the stress of college planning. Scripture invites us to cast our cares on God, because He cares for us. The fog of fear lifts as I hand off off my worries to God. I rest in the truth that God is my provider. My heart rate slows down. And I begin to see options I’d never noticed before.

As for my higher education prayer list, some new options have popped up in the form of scholarship opportunities. I’m blown away by a brand-new program that guides students through the college planning process while rewarding thousands of students with millions of scholarship dollars. This uber-practical scholarship program has already awarded more than a million dollars. More than 1,300 students saw their college fattened by this program in the first half of 2019. I’m sure more a large number of students would call these funds an answer to prayer.

The Opportunity Scholarship Program[3], created and funded by the College Board, will grant a whopping $25 million in college scholarships over five years. This new program not only offers a path through the college planning maze, it also removes hurdles that trip up many students. Best of all, this scholarship is designed for ALL students.

Opportunity Scholarships have no minimum GPA or test score requirements. There is no essay required. Your child doesn’t need to be a star athlete or valedictorian to be eligible. It doesn’t matter where an applicant attends school: public, private, Christian or home school. And scholarships are applied to the student’s choice of college or university, including Christian institutions.

Eligibility* for the Opportunity Scholarship is as easy as six steps:

  1. Build a college list(600 awards of $500)
  2. Practice for the SAT(1,500awards of $1,000)
  3. Improve SAT scores(150 awards of $2,000)
  4. Strengthen their college list(400 awards of $500)
  5. Complete the FAFSA(800 awards of $1,000)
  6. Apply to colleges(500 awards of $1,000)

With each step completed, your student earns more shots at increasingly valuable scholarships. By taking all six steps toward college attendance, your kid (and mine!) becomes eligible for the biggest award of all – a $40,000 scholarship for one lucky student.If my kid doesn’t land an Opportunity Scholarship, your kid may be a winner. Either way, we’re all moving through strategic steps toward college attendance.

There are still plenty of college planning needs on my family’s prayer list. I’ll keep turning those concerns over to God – and keep watching for new scholarship opportunities. I know I can trust in my Father’s creative provision!

Sherri Gragg is a freelance writer and author of four books. She lives in Tennessee with her family of seven – including three high school students and two in college.

Speaking of college, have you registered for this year’s National Hispanic Education Summit taking place on October 22-23, 2019 in Dallas, TX? Registration and dinner are free for those who register before October 1. Come join university and faith leaders as we discuss ways to help Hispanic students successfully graduate from the college campus. For more information, click here!


[1]Raw Consumer Price Index data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for College tuition and fees

[2]Survey sponsored by Seventeen Magazineand the College Board, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to clearing the path for all students to go to college.