Is It Time to Reduce the BYU Subsidy?

Enter to learn; go forth to toil in obscurity.

My son was recently admitted to BYU for the upcoming fall semester.  Here are some things about BYU we discovered in the application process:

  • BYU is mind-blowingly cheap.  It is about a tenth the cost of other universities he applied for and twice what we would have to pay for an in-state tuition assuming we could somehow qualify as residents having lived abroad for two and a half years.  When room & board and other incidental costs are included, that gap is narrowed a little so that other schools were only 4 times the cost of BYU.
  • BYU students are smart and good looking.  However, given the number of religious schools on this list I suspect the author is particularly hot for Christians.
  • BYU is very selective.  It is not easy to get in like it was when I attended.  In fact, my ACT score (26) was considered “honors” level when I was accepted in 1986.  According to the distribution chart we saw in 2011 in our son’s guidance counselor office, applicants with a 26 ACT no longer get in unless they have a much higher GPA than I had.
  • The return on investment for BYU is far better than other schools.  According to data pulled from a CNN study, NYU costs $193K with a 30 year ROI of $729K.  The annualized net ROI is 9.9.  Boston U has a total cost of $191K to graduate with a 30 year ROI of 797K and an annualized net ROI of 9.8.  BYU absolutely kills that with a total cost of $58K, a 30 year net ROI of 797K, and an annualized net ROI of 14.1!

Rise and shout! Your tithing dollars are paying for the kid who took your kid’s spot.

My son was admitted with worse grades than I had (and mine were no great shakes) but a significantly better ACT score (33) and as a graduate of a very prestigious international private school.  Even with those pluses, the mission age change may have tipped him over the line.  Based on rankings and prior admission rates shown to us by his guidance counselor, he was on the cusp.

Compared to other universities, BYU is an extremely good investment.  Tuition is so low that only 31% of students carry debt, and even with this incredibly low tuition 66% of students receive financial aid.

Which brings me to my titular question:  Is the church over-subsidizing BYU tuition?

  • Tuition is not just low; it is ridiculously low compared to other schools.  BYU tuition has remained fairly consistent while other schools have increased 400% nationwide in the US.  Most in-state tuitions are still twice as high as BYU – or more! – with the exception of University of Utah (which is perhaps driven down by BYU’s low tuition).
  • Tuition is this low thanks to tithing contributions, paid for by all members.  Whether their kids attend or not.  And while the number of students admitted remains constant, the number of members subsidizing with no personal benefit has grown.
  • Only 26,000 students are admitted each year, and the bar is higher and higher.  You may in all reality subsidize the education of the kid who took your kid’s spot.
  • Some of those funds could be diverted to help defray mission costs.  The church has recently made a plea for more members to donate to the missionary fund in the wake of the huge influx of new missionaries.  Clearly there is a need.

My suggestion is to reduce the subsidy to put BYU on par with out of state tuition at the University of Utah.  This would free up more spots as a higher number of Utah residents would choose the already cheap alternatives they have available that non-Utah residents cannot access.  Additionally, we could then use those funds for other aims:  subsidy of the missionary program, to spruce up our buildings a bit in anticipation of their increased use, or humanitarian objectives.

Of course, given that I’m presently benefiting, maybe they should take a few years to think it over.

Discuss.

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**Originally posted at Wheat & Tares; revised and updated for BCC.

Comments

  1. I say eliminate it.

  2. Bradford Tuckfield says:

    The BYU subsidy also covers BYU-Idaho, which has been growing rapidly for years to cope with demand. The last I heard, BYU-Idaho had just about a 100% acceptance rate, which means that as long as the BYU’s can continue to grow with demand, no member needs to pay the subsidies without their children benefiting.
    Subsidizing BYU can have indirect benefits even for members without children. For example, successful BYU professors can raise the worldwide prestige and reputation of the church.
    A final thought: maybe the fact that BYU tuition is extremely low is an argument to raise tuition rather than to decrease the subsidy. However, BYU tuition rises regularly, it seems like it goes up a little nearly every semester in fact, and to me it seems like it roughly keeps pace with inflation. The insane cheapness of BYU tuition is more a reflection of the out-of-control growth of tuition rates everywhere else than it is of the out-of-control Church subsidies.

  3. Last Lemming says:

    Raise BYU tuition (something comparable to in-state Utah tuition makes sense), but use the savings to fund scholarships to worthy youth to attend either BYU or any university with an Institute of Religion.

    But not for another five years, after my son has graduated.

  4. But compare BYU’s tuition to that of European schools. I attend BYU-I (well, I graduate tomorrow) and I have a friend in Austria who was absolutely blown away when I told her how much I pay to attend. She’s in a good medical school there and pays a little less than 400 euros per semester, which includes passes for free public transportation.

    Maybe I just need to move to Europe.

  5. 26,000 is more likely the total students than the yearly admissions.

    Angela, didn’t you mention recently that you live outside the United States? I understand from a reputable source that my children are more likely to get into BYU-Provo than their cousins in Utah who have similar academic qualifications. I assume this means that BYU has a mission to provide specific church experiences and training and perhaps even marriage prospects for church members outside the Intermountain West.

  6. Melissa says:

    I’m willing to subsidize the educations of students who are coming from poverty or low-income families. I’m not quite so willing to subsidize students from rich households that can reasonably afford a good college education for their children. A tale of two students, both from my ward – one whose parents barely scrape by, one whose parents are currently shopping for an equestrian estate. Both students are going to one of the BYUs. I’m happy to help the poor kid get a leg up. The rich kid… well, let’s say I have some misgivings. I know rich-kid’s parents are probably paying a lot of tithing, but are they really paying what their child’s education actually costs? And then – I have a kid with a learning disability. Bright, clever, interested in the world, but strictly a C student for now (hopefully will learn some coping skills as they get older). I doubt very much my kid has any chance of getting into the Y. So overall I’m less than keen about the subsidization. I’ll be paying tithing *and* non-BYU tuition someday, and that’s a slightly bitter pill.

  7. Yes. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Also, yes.

  8. Amy T – As I understand it, any international student who can pass the TOEFL gets into one of the BYU schools. If English is their first language… even easier.

  9. Just Guessing says:

    “I know rich-kid’s parents are probably paying a lot of tithing, but are they really paying what their child’s education actually costs?”

    If they are looking for an Equestrian home then chances are they make more that 200k/year. Which means if they pay tithing they tithe 20k/year. I’m guessing that’s more than the BYU subsidy.

  10. Jeanine says:

    For students with lesser grades they have LDS business college to help them get to where they need to be. I assume it is subsidized as well and I know that return missionaries get a 1/2 tuition scholarship the first semester. When admissions is determining grants and scholarships at all schools they take income into consideration.

  11. Where are the facts here? How much is it subsidized? How much are other schools subsidized? I graduated from the University of Kansas and as an alumni they told me that student tuition only covers 26 percent of the cost? So they hit me up with donations. Why not? It is an investment in leadership across our communities. On-line I read the University of Kansas tuition covers 20 to 25 percent of the cost. One article said BYU-Idaho tutition covered 40 percent of the cost in 2012. Another article said tithing covered 50 percent of the cost of the BYU Law program. It may be that BYU coverage of education by tuition is actually higher than other universities because of better efficiencies in running the school. Our easy money to schools via low interest student loans has served to raise tuition across the country.

  12. I’d like to see more info about how much tithing subsidies account for. My understanding is that a significant factor in increasing tuition prices is that universities are devoting a larger percentage of their budget to research and subsidizing it with undergraduate tuition. Since BYU does far less research, one would expect its costs not to have increased as substantially as other universities.

  13. Publius says:

    Being “twice what [you] would have to pay for an in-state tuition” isn’t very good evidence that “BYU is mind-blowingly cheap”. Did you mean “half”?

  14. mjberkey says:

    If I understand right, a BYU student will on average make $797K more than they would have without the degree? If so, that would theoretically mean $80K additional tithing, right?

  15. mjberkey says:

    I disagree that money is a primary value of education, but I’m not completely convinced the church is losing money by subsidizing BYU students.

  16. “The insane cheapness of BYU tuition is more a reflection of the out-of-control growth of tuition rates everywhere else than it is of the out-of-control Church subsidies.”

    I work in higher education, and I agree with the statement above.

  17. Larry the Cable Guy says:

    The Board of Trustees has several reasons not to float the cost of BYU to match that of comparable schools (minimize graduate debt, take advantage of lower operating and personnel costs, maintain MTC support, facilitate a broad spectrum of attendees, more $$ left over for ice cream and fudge).

    But don’t discount the practicality of having low costs as a way to entice your applicants to sign on with you. Lots of smart and talented people go elsewhere, but BYU benefits from plenty of bright kids who might have considered other schools more if costs were comparable.

  18. Antonio Parr says:

    An argument can be made that BYU is a very good investment for the Church. Students are groomed for economic stability, all in an environment where one’s romantic interests are likely to be of a shared faith. As a result, BYU students are more likely to marry fellow Latter-Day Saints who will encourage one another to remain active in the Cjurch. These couples will become contributors to their future Wards – something vital to a lay clergy – and are undoubtedly more likely to be future tithe payers, thus returning many fold the investment made in their education.

  19. I’m no economics guru, but it makes sense that easy availability and widespread use of student loans would distort tuition costs and drive costs up as David said. Personally I’d like to see more of a direct state involvement in funding higher education (ala Europe, which Brooke touched on) rather than the inefficient indirect funding that student loans entail–if we’re gonna make a national policy of encouraging college attendance, why do it half-***ed as we currently do? As for how that relates to BYU and the OP…eh, I dunno if I have a strong opinion either way. The place occasionally drove me nuts but I sure benefited from a cheap education.

  20. Rob Perkins says:

    That 400% tuition hike at state universities is largely due to the declining tax subsidy, due in turn to declining tax revenue.

    Y’know the thing that makes your frothing uncle claim that he “built that” university education alone, with a summer job, a pile of moxie, and good old fashioned brain grease, or whatever? That’s gone. That’s why state school tuition is so much higher. Subsidies for student loan aid are largely gone, since the raw amounts and ceilings of student aid haven’t been adjusted for inflation since 1990. Money is worth half what it was worth in 1990.

    Those are Joneses up with which I would rather we didn’t keep, since if we did, college would be impossible for my kids no matter how good their ACT scores are. I simply don’t have enough money, even for BYU.

    Should the Church follow suit? It doesn’t have a revenue problem. It pays its professors almost nothing, but my anecdotes suggest that most private universities do that. BYU-Idaho doesn’t have a constrained enrollment, and actually fulfills the undergraduate-job-training mandate most people think a degree is for, anyway.

    Unless you want only the wealthy to send their kids, while the rest of us look at the bill and give up before trying, the answer to your titular question is, “No.”

  21. What Antonio Parr said. The Church has a vested interest in gathering youth at Church sponsored schools because it sets them on the path toward service and commitment to the organization. Consider how the likelihood of serving a mission changes as they attend a school and are immersed in a culture where a vast majority of their peers have served a mission. Yes the age shift means many young men will leave before they attend their first year of University, but that won’t be the case for all and isn’t the case for young women.

    Further, recall the discussions over the last couple of years on how average family size increases as a result of mission service by at least one of the parents and commitment to the Church.

    Finally, consider that graduates with low levels of debt are more likely to marry (either before or after graduating), more likely to start having children earlier, and more likely to have more children overall.

    It reads like a win win relationship all around as far as the Church is concerned. And considering how much effort is going into growing a sustainable post secondary education offering through the BYU Pathways program and Perpetual Education Fund, it’s clear that the Church is examining ways to raise the socioeconomic status of Saints around the world in various ways. All of which are focused on building stability and leaders for the generations to come.

  22. John Taber says:

    “I’m not quite so willing to subsidize students from rich households that can reasonably afford a good college education for their children.”

    Something I observed with the students from better-off families is that they had lots of money to throw around for recreational activities, nice apartments, cars, etc. My suspicion is that their parents saw how much the family contribution would have been under FAFSA and basically let the kids have that (including tuition, books, taking only 12 hours at a time, etc.)

    Conversely, when I was at BYU and one sister was at either BYU or UVSC, we had a brother and/or sister at Stanford. That meant my parents’ contribution was maxed out regardless of where I went. So they could have afforded me at a much higher tuition rate.

    One thing I would like to see is for athletic scholarships to include intercollegiate athletics paying at least half the Church’s subsidy back to CES, rather than just the too-cheap tuition.

  23. Angela C says:

    In light of the argument that BYU should be a gathering place and dating ground for non Utahns, that’s another reason to reduce the subsidy or raise tuition. As long as BYU is cheaper than in state schools in Utah, it will attract locals who theoretically have plenty of access to Mormon dating partners.

  24. By “…many young men will leave before they attend their first year of University…” I meant they will serve missions prior to attending University.

  25. Meldrum the Less says:

    BYU is an extremely good investment, depending on what you are going to do. I think if you are going to stay in Utah, go into a mid level technical field, or areas like management or several others areas where they shine then BYU is a steal. But if you are heading into a field of academia, social science, or creativity which is dominated by liberal thinking, BYU is about the worst place to go. My daughter recently graduated from Emory University, a great bastion of liberalism (actually its more of a pre-professional school with a thick liberal veneer) with degrees in music and economics. She received an education that I image is far different from what you might get at BYU and it will open doors without welcome signs for BYU graduates.

    We as LDS people are tolerated. But we are fooling ourselves it we think we have widespread general respect and admiration. BYU is not an ivy league school regardless of how it spins its reputation and even regardless of achievement on standardized tests. Where networking and political considerations are strong, a BYU degree is usually a drag outside of the areas where the LDS church has great influence. Loma Linda and Oral Roberts are in a similar position (Church dominated schools that excel in some areas). If you can get into the top schools in your chosen field you will have an advantage over a BYU degree, again depending on what you want to do with it.

    I also think that the University of Utah has better departments than BYU in many areas of science and engineering. At over 30,000 students there has to be at least 10,000 active LDS students there if not more. The Institute of Religion is great. Why LDS residents in Utah interested in these fields would go to BYU is beyond me.

    Numerous young people in my ward are graduate students at Georgia Tech. Many of the graduate students out of BYU quietly admit that they have to step it up a notch or two in comparison to other graduate students coming out of undergraduate schools that do not have any better reputation than BYU. Weaknesses include the more advanced areas of math and physics; not so much the mechanical aspects but more the critical thinking aspects of these difficult areas. We don’t mind, it means that they and their young families will be enriching our ward for an extra year.

    As far as the original question: I say it is time to change the very foundation of the subsidy and multiply it. I think that public schools in the US are in the toilet or already half way down the sewer lines. I would like to see the LDS church in the USA get into the business of primary and secondary education. To use our exceptional organizational skills, our enormous wealth, our little army of missionaries now approaching 100,000 strong, and our special access to divine revelation to build a network of affordable & excellent private schools offering grades 1 through 12 from sea to shining sea. I think it would be a better way to both grow the church and to help save the nation of our origin. It might even transplant into the southern hemisphere with modification and into other areas. Just my wild dream…

  26. it's a series of tubes says:

    Weaknesses include the more advanced areas of math and physics

    Unless you’re proficient in these areas, I think you might be painting with slightly too broad a brush here. In my 300, 400 and 500 level classes in these areas, critical thinking “weakness” in my classmates was in, well, short supply.

    As far as the original question: I say it is time to change the very foundation of the subsidy and multiply it.

    Meldrum, you still retain the ability to (pleasantly) surprise.

  27. Meldrum the Less says:

    Tubes: Honestly I don’t know flip about these areas. (one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish is about all the math I need to do my job). I only parrot second hand gossip heard at church or from my kids. Gets me into trouble, but somehow I never learn.

  28. Though the subsidy helps make college affordable for many families it also keeps Mormons insulated and discourages them from contributing positively to other academic institutions. If the subsidy were reduced it might mean that more families sent their children to affordable state schools and not only built up the local Institute programs but also allowed more people not of our faith to come in contact with a real live Mormon. Our three kids all chose not to go to BYU and though sending them elsewhere has been a significant financial challenge for us, we’ve seen real benefits to attending non-church schools including wide-ranging friendships, exceptional employment opportunities, and self-directed spiritual growth. Are we thrilled that we’re nearing the end of our years of paying non-church school tuition–you betcha!–but we’re also very grateful for the things we all learned along the way.

  29. Change it for sure. It is becoming an increasingly more exclusive institution which moves it further away from its founding principles – especially when viewed in the context of a worldwide church.

    1) Be open about just how much money the church ‘invests’ into these institutions each year – It is a mind-boggling sum for sure.
    2) Lower the subsidy such that the out of pocket tuition reflects the value of the education
    3) Create a subsidy for non-BYU attending students – not the perpetual education fund where $ is expected to be repaid – but actually extend to the rest of the church members the opportunity to have some of their higher education expenses paid by the body membership of the church.

  30. marginalizedmormon says:

    If the tithing subsidies to BYU are lowered, that money needs to be used to feed hungry LDS children–

    wherever they live.

    And help their parents.

  31. Tuition should definitely increase, gradually, but I also think BYU should extend more scholarships to those with families with poor and moderate incomes.

    What really gets me is the incredibly low tuition the law school offers. It’s far, far lower than any comparable school. Of course, it’s what allows the school to have a higher ranking–the low tuition attracts far better students than the law school would attract with more average tuition prices. But that’s really not where I want to see my tithing dollars spent–and that feeling was even stronger when I was paying a much more normal tuition rate at another quality law school.

  32. Anonymous Coward says:

    “I also think that the University of Utah has better departments than BYU in many areas of science and engineering. . . . Why LDS residents in Utah interested in these fields would go to BYU is beyond me.”

    The *undergraduate* program in math at BYU thinks it compares quite favorably to the corresponding program at the the U. BYU routinely dominates the U in undergraduate math competitions like the Putnam and the Intermountain Math Competition. BYU Math undergraduates (collectively) publish 6 or 7 papers per year in professional journals, and the department’s undergraduate research program has been described as one of the best in the country by external reviewers. It’s possible to graduate in math from the U without a course in abstract algebra or complex analysis; not so at the Y. The U’s 75th percentile ACT math score (27) is only slightly higher than the Y’s 25th percentile ACT math score (26), you’ll have stronger classmates at the Y.

  33. International perspective: BYU educates American Mormons, so whatever its benefits, and there are many, it is largely credited to the American church.

    (Yes, there are non-Americans at BYU. . . )

  34. it's a series of tubes says:

    It is becoming an increasingly more exclusive institution which moves it further away from its founding principles – especially when viewed in the context of a worldwide church.

    Given that the subsidy applies to BYU-I, and that BYU-I enrollment looks like the following (sample data points from the school website):
    Fall 2000: 8900 students
    Fall 2004: 10,767 students
    Fall 2008: 12,010 FTE students (actual level is higher – 13,800)
    Fall 2012: 14,306 FTE students (actual – 16,262)

    It appears, rather, that “BYU”, collectively, is becoming a less exclusive institution.

  35. The Institute program has been severely weakened by CES policy in recent years compared to just a generation back. On the other hand, Religious Education at BYU seems embarked on the opposite trajectory. This makes BYU a stronger choice over time I think. As anonymous coward notes, BYU has devoted much of its dollar to a superior undergraduate experience, choosing not to compete in the world of graduate education. BYU has become an excellent launch pad for graduate and professional schools and dollar for dollar does well against the big institutions on the coasts in that respect. It’s not in BYU’s genes to play the game of recruiting Nobel talent for faculty. This is not to say BYU does not have some good graduate programs. But that’s not its strength by design.

  36. don't ask me for my name says:

    There sure is a lot of whining going on here. Are you guys really so dumb as to ask BYU to increase their tuition costs? Do you know the real reason why other schools have raised their tuition every year by as much as 10%? It isn’t because their costs have skyrocketed that much. It is because they can charge whatever the fetch they want and government grants and student loans are given regardless of the cost. School administrations aren’t stupid. They know that the government will not deny a student a loan or even a grant because of the cost. We all know how well that has worked out for the government and for all those students who have $200,000 in loans so that they could get a philosophy degree. The church is genius for not putting it’s members into huge amounts of debt that cripple the economy. Imagine what that would do to the income of the church. You guys are seriously stupid if you think that the church should go and match government policies. Our government is willing to pay whatever it costs for people to go to school because all that they care about is indoctrinating our children with liberalism and in a sense they “pay” for future democrat votes. It isn’t about the welfare of the students. It never has been. It has always been about getting people addicted to the government breast milk.

  37. I’d be very curious about the demographics of BYU—is there a higher percentage of lower-income students benefitting from the subsidy? Or does it mirror other higher education institutions, where lower-income brackets are almost entirely left out, including recruiting?

    As more and more attention is given to the unsustainability of the current higher education system (the debt it incurs, the inability to find a job, etc.), it seems hard to fault BYU for being affordable and providing an environment where students can graduate with no or minimal debt. But I would like to see the church give more opportunities to lower-income students if the subsidy continues.

  38. Someday Angela may surprise me and write something that says the Church actually gets something right. May I live so long.

  39. don’t ask me for my name:

    As someone who holds degrees from liberal state schools in both Utah and Virginia, I can tell you, that government breast milk stuff? It’s both delicious and nourishing. I only wish it came in almond flavor.

  40. “Tuition is this low thanks to tithing contributions, paid for by all members. Whether their kids attend or not. And while the number of students admitted remains constant, the number of members subsidizing with no personal benefit has grown.”

    The members are not paying BYU, they are paying tithing to the Church. The way it’s phrased here makes tithing sound like we are personally supporting students, rather than showing our devotion to our faith. We obviously have no say in how tithing is spent, and it shouldn’t make any difference to us what it’s used for (assuming it all part of furthering the kingdom and whatnot).

  41. Jack Hughes says:

    Most tithe-paying members around the world will never see any direct benefit from BYU. The widows mite is being used to subsidize middle-class comfort for a select few. This promotes elitism, which is already visible in LDS circles. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m tired of the obnoxious BYU ring-knockers in Sunday School and elsewhere, going on and on about their alma mater as if it were the Harvard of the Rockies.

    As a possible solution, BYU should utilize a sort of “affirmative action” in their admissions policies to have a student body that reflects the ethnic and national distribution of the whole Church. It would be interesting to see a BYU that is over 50% non-American, mostly Brazilian/Latin. This is a little far-fetched, I know, but it is not realistic to expect BYU to be a viable option for every college-bound Latter-Day Saint, as it was in earlier times. Since that is the case, I (personally) don’t want to keep paying for it. If anything, I would like to see more investment into Institute programs at non-LDS schools.

    Another solution would be to increase the non-member quota to about 10% (BYU’s student body is presently about 2% non-LDS). This would bring in more money from outside the Church, and have the added benefit of improving the diversity of viewpoints and ideas. As a model to be emulated, Notre Dame is about 20% non-Catholic.

    In short, BYU should be more like Notre Dame and less like Bob Jones U.

  42. Why not keep the subsidy the same but economize in other areas? Let’s imagine a world where due to external factors (disaster, war, currency devaluation, depression) we had to reduce budgets in all areas of society (personal, business, education, and yes government).

    Could we do it? Do you suppose we’d be doing a disservice to our customers/stakeholders/etc?

    I am quite certain, that in just about all areas of life, our society could not only make do with less, we could thrive with less. This gets into the idea of tuition inflation… why spend less, why, when presented with a 5 year plan from a department to increase costs on XYZ “investments” should they even hesitate to reduce costs? It’s not as if departments say, “kids get loans easily, let’s charge more” but this behavior is what is happening at the margins and driving tuition costs upwards.

    Easy loans, grants, and subsidies have made buyers less price sensitive (just like the 30yr mortgage). So when a school is considering a new improvement, it does not have to worry about the thousands of customers they are *already* turning away with their high prices. They area already turning away customers as is because they accept the capacity. Hence, prices will rise.

    But prudence is probably most wise here. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. If our education system is broke, it’s not that it’s not charging enough, but it’s not organized efficiently and is spending too much.

  43. Last Lemming says:

    For those who are interested in whether government policies are driving tuition increases at other universities, I recommend the following, both of which are quite readable.

    Concerning federal grants and loans:

    http://www.quickanded.com/2012/10/the-bennett-hypothesis-when-and-why-not-true-or-false.html

    Concerning State Medicaid obligations:

    http://www.brookings.edu/research/papers/2003/09/useconomics-kane

  44. I think that one of the biggest reasons to lower the BYU subsidy is to give LDS church members are more accurate idea of the true cost of college, so they can evaluate the world a little with a bit of a more realistic perspective. The way I heard members gasp at my $30,000 a year tuition was ridiculous – they have no idea what the true cost of higher education is when it isn’t subsidized by tithing dollars.

    That said, my other comments:

    1) BYU really isn’t that selective. Last time I checked, it’s admittance rate was well over 50%. I recently spoke to an adviser in one of the most selective majors, and he was talking about the average ACT scores being around 31. While that is certainly a decent score, it’s really not that impressive for the average of one of the most selective majors. While 25 and 26s (which are still in the nice, thick, part of the ACT score distribution) aren’t going to be competitive at BYU, anything over a 30 (once that score distribution narrows considerably) makes you practically a shoe-in. So yes, you have to be reasonably smart to go to BYU, but nothing ridiculous.

    2) It is a shame that people see BYU-I as the next step after BYU. I think a lot of people are squandering other good opportunities. BYU-I, unfortunately, is not a very good school, and isn’t the next logical step after BYU. I’d like to see student who aren’t quite making the BYU cut go to another good institution.

    3) I think the best way to mitigate the risk of good students going elsewhere (which is not necessarily a bad thing – I’m glad I went to the school I choose. It was a much better education, albeit at a higher price) is scholarships, which I believe BYU already hands out like candy. When I was applying a few years ago, I had the option to go for free. With that strategy, BYU still gets to keep some of the best students by making it financially lucrative, but isn’t ridiculously subsidizing the average BYU student.

    4) I’d actually like to see BYU rise to the level of their students in some areas. While it provides a decent education, it’s a shame that so many bright students get through college without ever really being challenged, especially in their reading/writing abilities. BYU is not a very intense educational experience in terms of heavy reading/writing loads, and it shows in their (bright, but often underdeveloped) graduates.

  45. Christopher says:

    I don’t know why BYU should follow the trend of bloated tuitions just because everyone else is. Many universities have turned into businesses seeking profits, which is unfortunate. Education has always been a high priority in the Church, and subsidies are justified in Church owned schools. I say let tuition stay cheap. Invest in the Church’s young minds.

  46. FWIW, Anon, most of my undergrad history courses required a fair amount of reading and writing, at least at the 200 and higher levels–multiple choice tests were rare! But then, I can only compare my workload to that of roommates in other BYU programs and friends who went to UVU, so suppose I my perspective is too limited to say much about BYU’s place in the wider world of higher ed. In my time as a TA most of the 100-level essays I graded were pretty dire, which doesn’t reflect too well on the general student population.

    The point is, everyone should study history.

  47. Nunya Bizness says:

    ” I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m tired of the obnoxious BYU ring-knockers in Sunday School and elsewhere, going on and on about their alma mater as if it were the Harvard of the Rockies.” You need to move.

  48. sorry – don’t ask me for my name – you completely missed the point with your anti-government rant

  49. Clark Goble says:

    “Weaknesses include the more advanced areas of math and physics; not so much the mechanical aspects but more the critical thinking aspects of these difficult areas. ”

    Umm what? Admittedly it’s been a few years since I graduated. But I have quite a few friends teaching there now and I don’t have the impression things have changed that much since I was there. I actually transferred to BYU from an other college in Canada and if anything I’d say BYU did a much better job teaching critical thinking – especially by requiring learning of other skills via GE requirements.

  50. For heaven’s sake, people, start using your apostrophes correctly.

  51. Central Standard says:

    I recall many, as in MANY, years ago when the First Presidency sent a letter that essentially said BYU can no longer accomdate demand and you would get just as good an education attending a college with an Institute program.

    Maybe that no longer applies.

  52. Angela C says:

    Ardis – hold yer fire there, pardner. I posted this just last Tuesday on Wheat & Tares: http://www.wheatandtares.org/12338/why-i-like-tithing-2/. I think you also missed a previous series I did years ago on Mormon Matters called the Genius of Mormonism. Even here on BCC where I’m a relative newcomer, one of my first posts was about the beauty of Restoration and different ways of viewing that concept: http://bycommonconsent.com/2011/12/10/restoration/

  53. Duke of Earl Grey says:

    I propose we take a vote on this at the next General Conference. Oh wait…

  54. Alf O'Mega says:

    “For heaven’s sake, people, start using your apostrophes correctly.”

    Thank’s for the reminder, Steve.

  55. it's a series of tubes says:

    The widows mite is being used to subsidize middle-class comfort for a select few.

    Sorry, but this simplistic and loaded charge is very likely incorrect. If the NPV of tithing receipts of subsidized BYU graduates over their lifetimes > the subsidy expense, then the subsidy is a net revenue generator for the Church (and thus, actually provides funds to aid the widow). And if the NPV of tithing receipts of subsidized BYU graduates over their lifetimes > NPV of tithing receipts of BYU graduates if the subsidy did not exist, then killing the subsidy would actually reduce the funds available to aid the widow. While hard data in both instances is hard to come by, it seems likely that the NPV of BYU grad tithing is much larger than the subsidy. I had a merit-based full ride to BYU, and if tithing contributions are the measure of the desired result, I’m paying them back in spades.

  56. Mark Brown says:

    I think the relevant question is whether BYU would be able to fill its incoming freshman class with solid candidates if tuition were to rise by $1000 per year. And I think the answer to that question is obviously ‘Yes’.

    As the membership of the church continues to come more and more from the southern hemisphere, it shouldn’t surprise us if the church decides to re-allocate some of its resources.

  57. Drew El-Akirah says:

    Although I could go on and on about this topic, allow me to make a few points:

    * One of the reasons why BYU’s tuition is low–the subsidy aside–is that the university has not experienced the same level of bureaucratic bloat as the vast majority of other institutions of higher education. Tuition increases directly reflect the proliferation of administrative positions (e.g. Vice President for Academic Innovation, Associate Provost for Gender Equity) as much as any other factor.

    * While tuition is subsidized, other aspects of BYU (e.g. the aggressive building program, research support for faculty) rely heavily on donations–with a significant proportion coming from BYU graduates.

    * The Church has a vested interest in BYU for numerous reasons–many of which have already been mentioned. One need only look at the university motto at the entrance to campus: enter to learn, go forth to serve. This is an investment not only in the students and faculty, but in the Church and its mission.

    * For those critical of BYU academically: it is certainly not the Harvard of the West, but it does have a strong faculty with nationally and internationally recognized experts in many (although certainly not all) fields. This is especially noteworthy when you consider that BYU professors essentially take a “home town discount” to teach at the university….and, indeed, are told that is the case when discussing their salaries.

    BYU is not perfect–don’t get me started on the honor code’s skewed priorities and lack of theological foundation which makes it harder to remain on campus as a student or faculty member than to enter the temple–but it is a worthwhile investment for the Church. That being said, I would have absolutely no problem if the subsidy were revised to put BYU’s tuition on par with USU, UVU, and the University of Utah….and the difference was used to create a scholarship fund for needy but academically qualified LDS students attending universities elsewhere.

  58. Rather than decreasing the subsidy, better to change the admission criteria so that greater weight is given to your favored pool of applicants. You would have to avoid discrimination based on the suspect and quasi suspect classifications of race, color, national origin, ethnicity and sex but that still leaves a lot of room to craft in-coming classes populated by your desired demographic (income level, proximity to Utah etc.). Education is a great investment for the church and its members and I am personally very happy that the church wants to make this type of investment in its people. Thinking that we spend so much money on education makes me love the church just a little bit more.

    I suspect that money not spent on BYU tuition is likely to be spent on something I’m not as excited about.

    FInally, I think it is wrong-headed (in the comments) to talk about subsidies as something you are doing as opposed to something the church is doing since when you pay tithing you surrender a personal claim on the money. That doesn’t mean you should necessarily surrender any opinions about how the church spends its money, but best not to get in the habit of thinking of the church’s pocket book as your own.

  59. Publius says:

    ” I would have absolutely no problem if the subsidy were revised to put BYU’s tuition on par with USU, UVU, and the University of Utah”

    2012-2013 undergraduate resident/member tuition for a 16-credit-hour semester:

    BYU: $2355
    USU: $2510
    UVU: $2061

  60. I find it hilarious to read about how BYU somehow is catering to a higher socio-economic demographic by having an extremely low tuition rate compared to other private colleges. I wouldn’t mind at all if BYU raised tuition a bit and went to a completely need-based financial aid model, but, lacking that, the low tuition is specifically what makes it possible for poor students to attend without racking up as much debt as it would take to attend many other private colleges.

    With the exception of BYU, just about the only private colleges my children could attend were the ones in the tuition exchange consortium associated with the colleges where I’ve worked, since they get full-tuition benefit at those schools. Otherwise, an in-state resident option at a state university is the only real option. None of my children have chosen to attend BYU, but I’m glad it’s an option for them.

  61. If BYU reduced their subsidy, I wouldn’t be able to go.

    To give you a quick Idea of my finances:
    My parents are retired. Have been for some time, and cannot support me in school. (Even though I am now 24, so they wouldn’t have to anyways)
    Last year, my gross income was 9k. If I hadn’t slept on my friends couch for several months I wouldn’t have made it.

    Even with how inexpensive BYU is, and even with financial aid, I have to take out loans. Without loans I’m about 3k short for a full years cost. If The subsidy wasn’t there, we would easily be talking 10 times as much.

    If you child is in private school, then shit up about this crap. You honestly don’t understand how hard it is for people of my economic class to get education. You think a community college degree is gunna get me into med school? Hell no. If CES didn’t keep so inexpensive, I would be stuck in one the absolute worst areas for employment with no marketable skills or education. Wealthy don’t seem to understand the plight of the disadvantaged. Poor honestly does breed poor. It’s not that we’re lazy or anything close to that. We bust our asses to barely scrape by because employers here know they can pay us crap because we are replaceable no matter how well we work.

    And to say you’re paying to subsidize someone else’s education through tithing is exactly like saying you’re subsidizing someone education through taxes that go towards loans… It’s a collective pot. We all contribute our part and get in return what we need. My tithing goes to support the dozens of things that have no direct effect on me.

  62. No, it is not time to stop subsidizing. BYU Idaho is also available so anyone who really wants a church university degree. It is open to practically anyone who can get themselves there. And BYU Idaho is now online with their new “Pathways” program for even more people of the church to benefit.

  63. Josh, I appreciate your comment, but some typos are funnier than others. Thanks for the laugh.

  64. Yes they are over-subsidizing, but only the athletic department. The missionary dog-n-pony show that is BYU football has been subsidized long enough.

  65. Clark Goble says:

    Honestly how much of that money the church is spending is going to subsidizing tuition and how much is going to build all the buildings and stuff around campus? That’s got to be hundreds of millions of dollars whereas doubling tuition is maybe 60 million extra brought in depending upon how you calculate it. Further increasing tuition that much would not only be far our of line with other Utah institutions but would restrict college for many. Ignoring the structural benefits to the Church of BYU just think of the crass money investment calculation. How much in tithing over the lifetime of an individual does a $6,000 – $10,000 investment by the Church in tuition give? If the increased earnings is on the order of $800,000 then the Church made 8x what it invested.

  66. Clark Goble says:

    Riley, at least back in 2002 no tithing money went to football. Admittedly that was before the Bronco era but I’ve heard similar things since. One should also realize that BYU (and BYU football) don’t simply rely on sales (such as tuition and tickets) and tithing. They get a lot in donations. (And heavy knows they keep calling me asking for donations)

  67. @ray Next time I won’t be typing from my phone… Wow. All I can say is wow.

  68. The subsidy has meant a lot to me. My experience may of course be untypical, but given the wide and varying speculation in the comments on what is typical, here you have it.
    -from New Mexico
    -accepted to BYU in 2004 as an RM with no previous college experience.
    -HS GPA: 3.2
    -ACT: 27
    -after mission had $1700 left in my bank account from what I’d saved for my mission.
    -parents we unable to help with tuition and other expenses.
    -paid for the first year with loans.
    -got married in my first year.
    -received full-tuition merit-based scholarship my second year.
    -received E.S. Hinckley scholarship my last two years.
    -received an $1800 ORCA grant in my last year.
    -graduated summa cum laude in 2008.
    -had $4000 dollars in loans upon graduation.
    -received an MA and am now a third-year PhD student at another school.

  69. @Clark, if you believe the self serving BYU press releases, you also probably believe there’s no demand for caffeinated products. As recently as 2 years ago, every NCAA member institution reported to the NCAA their athletic departments operated in the red. Every.single.school had to tap into general university funds to cover athletic department expenses. Last I heard, BYU is a member institution. This was before the ESPN deal, so perhaps the athletic department has now weaned itself off of tithing funds.

    As to the OP, tuition should rise at BYU. Even at twice the current price it is a very, very good deal. It is no Georgetown or Boston College, but it doesn’t have the same a academic standards or price points.

  70. I have one comment about the academic standards in the sciences. I graduated from BYU in Physics and Astronomy in 2005, and was accepted to an Ivy League graduate school in astrophysics, and got my Ph.D. in 2011. I spent 2.5 years at BYU tutoring physics/astronomy, and 3.5 years at Yale teaching and tutoring physics/math/astronomy. The Yale students were not any smarter [or stupider] than those at BYU — the mean was the same. My classmates were actually less prepared than I in terms of advance coursework for physics. Because BYU doesn’t focus on graduate level research, they have the undergraduates do research. Publishable research even. I got hands on experience with a 2.5 meter telescope observing for a week, as well as many more nights worth of data from BYU’s own observatories. This is something that many undergrads at Yale [i.e. nearly all] didn’t have access to, because the focus was on the graduate students.

    Now, is BYU comparable to Harvard, UCxyz, Stanford, etc? Not at the graduate level, and not in terms of faculty awards/publications/prestige. Not even close. But, for undergraduates who are preparing for further study elsewhere, it was perfect, and in my experience better for me than going to Yale would have been as an undergrad. I actually interacted with the faculty and doing research with them starting from my sophomore year — something that no Yale undergrad ever did that early. Heck, my own Ph.D advisor had such a disdain for the undergrads that she pushed one off on me to train and provide a research project for.

    So, the point of this is that whatever BYU is doing — at least in the sciences — it is doing right: providing an excellent education at an excellent price. And as others have mentioned, while many people could pay more, many of us could not.

  71. k anderson says:

    As for the comment that an education at BYUI is severely lacking: Pres. Kim Clark (former Harvard Biz School Dean) was able to open some doors for internships for BYUI students. At some of the Big 4 accounting firms they accepted students from both schools. I recall from a recent graduate that a few years ago more job offers were made to the BYUI grads than BYU, even though BYUs program is a 5 year program compared to Idaho’s 4 year program. It turns out BYU-Idaho seems to be educating their students and preparing them for the job market rather well.

    Also, the three-fold mission of BYU-Idaho:
    President Clark: The first imperative is to raise substantially the quality of every aspect of the student experience, whether it be academic, religious, spiritual, social, or personal development. We want to improve every aspect of that experience. The second imperative is to reach more students. We want to make this wonderful experience available to more students. And the third imperative is to lower the relative cost of education.

    BYUI does a lot of innovative things not attempted at other universities as a way to fulfill these missions. They have succeeded in lowering the cost per student (to the church).

    I suggest some of you research The Pathways program. I a volunteer English Speaking Partner that meets once a week with an international student as they complete three classes on a “Pathway” to having the ability to apply for and complete a BYU-Idaho online degree (at a fraction of cost of on-campus tuition). I believe the estimate is that within the next five years the plan is to have over 50,000 students all over the world who don’t have the opportunity to attend a BYU to be in the program. It’s amazing.

    http://www.byui.edu/online/pathway

  72. Another idea would be to use more funds and build BYU-Brazil and BYU-Africa. Perpetual Education Fund is good for getting people to school at all, but better would be to provide that BYU experience closer to home.

  73. it's a series of tubes says:

    if you believe the self serving BYU press releases, you also probably believe there’s no demand for caffeinated products. As recently as 2 years ago, every NCAA member institution reported to the NCAA their athletic departments operated in the red. Every.single.school had to tap into general university funds to cover athletic department expenses. Last I heard, BYU is a member institution. This was before the ESPN deal, so perhaps the athletic department has now weaned itself off of tithing funds

    rb, you’re not responding to what Clark actually said. He said that football uses no tithing funds, not the athletic department as a whole. At nearly every school, there are usually one or two revenue positive sports (typically football and/or basketball) and a boatload of sports that are a significant expense (wrestling, swimming, etc). It’s unsurprising that football is revenue positive at BYU while the athletic department as a whole requires subsidy.

  74. “Another idea would be to use more funds and build BYU-Brazil and BYU-Africa”

    The Church is doing that right now, this very minute, as we sit in our comfortable chairs and bloviate. K Anderson just provided the link to the program, and “OD” and “JKS” also mentioned it upstream. I’ll copy the link here again.

    http://www.byui.edu/online/pathway

    Actually, I don’t see Brazil on the list of sites. But I do see Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Peru. The five African locations are located in Ghana and South Africa. Also represented: Albania, Ukraine, Portugal, Russia, and many sites in Canada and the United States.

    The tuition is prorated by location; someone from Ghana or Honduras will need to find $2,400 and time and an internet connection to get a bachelor’s degree. An associate’s degree will be half that. The disadvantaged or non-traditional English-speaking students the program is targeting in the United States will need to find around $7,800 for a Bachelor’s degree; ESL students are looking at $5,400.

  75. Clark Goble says:

    rb, isn’t there a distinction between athletic departments and football? My understanding is football subsidizes some of the other athletic endeavors. I could be wrong. I’d love to see evidence.

  76. Clark Goble says:

    I think Liam’s point is a good one. Members already are paying large expenses to go on a mission for two years. If the Church subsidizes BYU a little for members that helps offset those expenses.

  77. Given that there are many members of the Church throughout the world who cannot afford to send their children to primary school, I think that is entirely fair. Youth and YSA from wealthy countries receive far more in church benefits than people in other countries. Sure there are students who make it to BYU from poor countries, but if they don’t first complete primary and secondary school, fat chance. One could argue that members from wealthy countries pay more tithing and therefore should receive a greater benefit. This makes me think of the scripture in 3 Nephi:
    “And the people began to be distinguished by ranks, according to their riches and their chances for learning; yea, some were ignorant because of their poverty, and others did receive great learning because of their riches.”
    I’m pretty sure this was a bad thing then, and is a bad thing now. So why is it institutionalized?

  78. Football may subsidize other sports, but I would not underestimate the ability of a football program to spend money. As with the Church and money in general, reliable information usually leaks out via other channels, e.g. the NCAA member financial report and the only way BYU is identified in the report is by the fact not a single athletic department operated in the black. We’ll never know though the actual numbers I think the ESPN deal is a good harbinger the football team is a net positive. They’ve gotten a good discount on their head coach. He’s good and would command a lot more at another school.

    As for the distinction between the football team and athletic department as whole and their use of tithing funds, I see it as a distinction w/o a difference; though, your post was limited to the football program. I think it is a poor use of tithing funds to subsidize the entertainment of a large, but still minority, group of members who have the political clout in the Church and support the athletic programs. I am a huge fan of college sports and feel the same about taxpayer subsidies for the NFL minor leagues known as college football. there is some accountability and transparency, at least in theory.

  79. Angela C says:

    Mathew: “Education is a great investment for the church and its members and I am personally very happy that the church wants to make this type of investment in its people.” I agree! I would like to see that investment more broadly available, and I am sure the church is working on that. BYU (Provo) is the most elite offering the church has, which is why it could (and I would argue should) carry a higher tuition than it does. BYU-I doesn’t yet have the same reputation. If it rises to that level, tuition could also rise. I’m not eager to leave those who can’t afford it in the dust, but there are other ways to accomplish that without keeping the tuition so low for all. More merit-based scholarships, weighting admissions for those who can’t access the already low Utah in-state tuitions, more PEF funds for those outside the US, etc. Many great suggestions in the comments here.

    Josh: “If you child is in private school, then shut up about this crap. You honestly don’t understand how hard it is for people of my economic class to get education.” I do understand, whether you believe it or not. It is hard for people of ALL economic classes to get education in the US where tuitions have risen 400%. The incredibly low tuition at BYU is a true outlier. Even with an education, many are graduating and unable to get work in their field. There is also a big question that I didn’t pose in this revision as to whether college education is worth the investment at all any more. IMO, a case can be made that it is not, but BYU is the absolute exception to that. If the church wants to subsidize education, why not find a more equitable way to subsidize the education of all members, not just the elect few who can get into BYU? Conversely, the subsidy could remain the same, but pay more for the best professors out there (while raising revenues simultaneously through higher tuition). Or the subsidy could be directed toward improving the merits of other church-owned institutions like BYU-H or BYU-I or building in new places. There are many options.

  80. AmyT – Online is a good way to go, yes, but it really doesn’t beat physical locations. We won’t be shutting down the school in Israel just because it can all be gotten online. Besides, a physical school in Central or South America can be a good place to work from for Meso-American studies.

    A physical college experience is just not the same as getting the degree online. (I’ve done both)

  81. Angela, I don’t have as much confidence as you do that every tuition dollar passed on to BYU students will result in the church spending a dollar on (largely secular) education elsewhere. Given the incentives for bureaucracies to grow themselves, I think a more likely result is another use will be found for the money. State legislatures have consistently cut the subsidies of state universities as readily-available federal student loans have distorted the education market and made it possible to pass the costs of an education on to students. The result has been students graduating with more debt and fewer public dollars spent on education. You may find that in your rush to help the disadvantaged you’ve only succeeded in cutting the legs out from under the middle-class.

    The church has consciously decided not to turn BYU into an elite educational institution, preferring to provide as many undergrads as possible with a solid education that would allow those who chose to do so to continue on in advanced programs while not burdening the student body with so much debt that their options post-graudation would be severely limited. It is experimenting with distance learning programs that again allow larger numbers of people to receive education for less money. It is a great innovator in mass education and we need to be particularly thoughtful about changes to a largely successful effort.

  82. Also, anyone who thinks BYU is into elitist, limited education in any way isn’t aware of all the work it has done for decades in continuing education. It has been a pioneer in that area for a long time and still provides incredibly cheap option, especially for students to complete degrees they started and didn’t finish.

    My father-in-law was involved in the upper levels of that program for years, and it is a great example of how differently BYU approaches education, overall, than most other higher education institutions

  83. rb says “As recently as 2 years ago, every NCAA member institution reported to the NCAA their athletic departments operated in the red.”

    Per this 2013 NCAA report “Similar to last year, a total of 23 athletics programs in the FBS
    reported positive net revenues for the 2012 fiscal year.”

    http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/2012RevExp.pdf

  84. Clark Goble says:

    rb, I don’t think it’s a difference without a difference unless you think universities shouldn’t have athletic departments. While I can see complaining about football and basketball the fact is that the other sports are expensive as well but generate little revenue. That’s partially why BYU dropped some things like wrestling despite having top ranked teams.

    In any case according to the Deseret News BYU Football made a profit of $7.41 million last year.

  85. Angela C says:

    I’m certainly not implying BYU is elitist! Only that it has a limited enrollment and is significantly better than either BYU-I or BYU-H. Anyone who would not pay double for BYU over the other two church schools isn’t paying attention IMO.

  86. Angela, my comment wasn’t about the post. It was about some of the comments in this thread. Sorry I didn’t make that more clear.

  87. “Unless you want only the wealthy to send their kids, while the rest of us look at the bill and give up before trying, the answer to your titular question is, “No.””

    Exactly what the Church decided in the 1970s.

  88. Sorry, but this simplistic and loaded charge is very likely incorrect. If the NPV of tithing receipts of subsidized BYU graduates over their lifetimes > the subsidy expense, then the subsidy is a net revenue generator for the Church (and thus, actually provides funds to aid the widow). And if the NPV of tithing receipts of subsidized BYU graduates over their lifetimes > NPV of tithing receipts of BYU graduates if the subsidy did not exist, then killing the subsidy would actually reduce the funds available to aid the widow

    Too bad people aren’t willing to pay attention to the truth. /Sigh. How often does the above have to be repeated?

    But of course, others would prefer that BYU just become a place where rich mormons go to marry each other.

  89. Let’s let the Apostles and the Presiding Bishopric manage the tithing funds. It’s the Lord’s money, not ours, and I don’t feel a need to have a say in what is done with it. No one gets a say in how I spend my money. Why should we even be talking about this? Even with that said, subsidizing education is an amazing way to help the Heavenly Father’s children progress.

  90. I’d rather leave this question up to the leaders of the church.

  91. We are commanded to get an education. To learn. Remember what ever we gain in this life we take with us in the next. Maybe it is subsidized for a reason not all things we need to understand for our salvation. Why go in to debt? Harvard can pay for all student’s education for the next 20 years. Do you really need 100k of debt?

    I for a Fortune 500 company and they love what the church does. Our faith is on the cutting edge of eduction. The Lord knows what he is doing.

  92. Norman D. Fobert says:

    I’m sorry, I don’t have the time right now to read all the entries, so I apologize right now if this is already covered by someone or many of you who replied. First of all, the so called subsidy money is not ours. It is the Lord’s, having been consecrated by our free will offering of tithes and offerings. My contribution is no longer mine. While the church is governed by common consent, it is not a democracy. The Council on the Disposition of the Tithes is operated in accordance with Priesthood governance. It is not perfect, but is conducted in the way the Lord has established. I do, however, enjoy the conversation and the transparency that comes about by sharing a little fact with a lot of unsolicited opinion here. The Lord’s work has always operated in the context of the culture of the people who comprise membership. I hope to always be able to tell the difference and have what is true confirmed to me by the Holy Ghost. I currently sustain those who are making these decisions and recognize many reasons that they are correct. Thank you all for sharing some of them.

  93. I think education is one of the most important things that we can contribute to. The more educated we become, the less fighting in the world etc.

  94. I trust the BYU trustees, who have access to figures you don’t and many of whom have managerial degrees from elite institutions, to decide whether the current BYU subsidy is a good investment or not for the Church. Maybe I’m going out on a limb here, but I daresay it is, or it would change.

    As a second thought, the portion of BYU subsidies that come from tithing funds, since they come from tithing funds, are none of my business as a tither. The whole point of tithing is giving away to God without asking for control of where it goes. If you want control over where your donation dollars go there are many LDS and non-LDS ways to do that. Tithing means give to God and trust, and that’s what brings the blessing.

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