Scholastic debt load has become a crushing problem for college and university students in the United States. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, between 2006 and 2016 the total value of student debt in the United States rose from $480 billion in 2006 to more than $1.5 trillion in the first quarter of 2017. Student debt represents over 7.5 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, or about $4,800 for every single adult and child in the U.S. By comparison, total U.S. military spending accounts for 3.3 percent of the nation’s GDP.
In this landscape of rising tuitions and crippling debt, Paul Quinn College (PQC) of Dallas, Texas stands out. The institution has actually lowered tuitions in recent years and college administrators are committed to a Work College model. Under this model, students graduate with as little debt as possible thanks to paid employment with the college during their time of study.
PQC has a long and proud history of providing education to those who face barriers to higher learning. The school was founded in 1872 by African Methodist Episcopal preachers. The founding purpose of the school was to provide an education to freed slaves and their children. Though times have changed, the college’s foundational principles live on. PQC’s Online Program Coordinator, Averie Connell, believes PQC exists to provide service to those who have the ability to succeed but not access to resources.
“We have a ‘We over Me’ vision, the brainchild of our president. It’s a goal of providing opportunities to the underserved,” she explained. “A lot of our students are first-generation college students. They have the academic ability but lack the financial resources to further their education and earn a degree.”