Biola should award scholarships based on different standards
The economic priorities of the world often seem backward from what they should be. A little irony for you: A man who plays a game for others' entertainment earns millions of dollars annually, yet a man who dedicates his life to educating the young minds of tomorrow gets paid an average of $40,000 each year. A similar situation can be found right here on Biola's campus.
Prospective students do all they can to get the financial aid that they need to attend, and there are several options for scholarships. These scholarships, however, tend to parallel the salary trends previously mentioned. Dozens of potential students are awarded departmental scholarships each year to attend Biola. Yet students who have been actively involved in ministry throughout their high school career have a slimmer chance of being awarded any scholarships for their efforts.
Values illustrated through financial choices
It is said that actions speak louder than words; currently, Biola’s financial trends suggest that Biola places a higher value on departmental participation than on participation in the church. In its mission statement, Biola aims for “biblically centered education, scholarship and service.” Biola’s current monetary action speaks differently, however, matching the same scholarship trends of secular universities throughout the world. By comparison of financial aid alone, it appears that Biola values similar traits in prospective students as secular universities, the top two of which are good grades and athleticism. However, if Biola boasts Christ through its words, it should also boast Christ through actions different than those of the rest of the world. Biola’s values as revealed through financial aid should better reflect Christ’s values.
All this is not to say that Biola’s values should not hold anything in common with the world. Take athletics, for instance. Sports offer regular exercise, the chance to be outdoors, the thrill of competition, the ability to make new friends while bonding with a team, and the list goes on. Additionally, sports have their place in ministry, giving Christian athletes the ability to reach teammates and fans.
Encouraging ministry involvement through scholarships
However, I would like to argue that the value of Christian ministry far outweighs the value of athletics. It is not that we should put a price on ministry. Rather, as a Christian university we should be encouraging active involvement in ministry over involvement in anything else.
Biola does offer a community service scholarship, but this scholarship may not be combined with other scholarships — in other words, if you did well enough in school to obtain an academic scholarship and also participated in ministry, you cannot be awarded a community service scholarship.
It seems to me that Biola's current scholarship trends nearly mirror trends of the rest of the world, doing little to encourage ministry. And while the world has always held qualities such as intelligence and athleticism at top value, Christian values are different. As a Christian university, our top priority and value should be loving God by building up his church and running the spiritual race ahead of us before concentrating on the temporal, physical races of the world. Biola’s scholarships should reflect the values of the university as a whole. I encourage Biola to match its spoken top priority, the furthering of Christ’s church, with action.