Q. I am exploring becoming a teacher of children of missionaries but I have a lot of college debt to repay. Would you talk about that please?

Sure, I would be happy to talk about it since It is such an issue.

It is a conundrum:  The need for teachers of children of missionaries to contribute to keeping missionaries on the field and on task, the desire of new teachers to go to the mission field, and the financial situation of higher education that drastically affects prospective teachers getting to the mission field.

The cost to go to college/university and the interest rates for loans continue to rise.  This is across the board for all majors and Christian and secular institutions most definitely affects prospective teachers of children of missionaries.

Some things you can do to address this issue

Before College

Work and save money for college.

Adopt a missionary life style such as drive an older car, ride a bicycle, get by with existing computer, cell/smart phone.  You do no have to have the best or latest of anything.  Buy from Goodwill.

Do not accept any credit card!  Zero, Zip, Nada!  Learn to live within your income.  If you have one, CUT IT UP!  Over and over again we hear stories from prospective MK teachers about excessive, credit card debt.

Get good grades in high school to improve chances of scholarship.

Become educated about money management.  Become money smart, financially prudent and wise.  Go to www.Crown.org and www.daveramsey.com/home/.

In College

Attend a community college for two years.  They are typically cheaper than private (e.g. Christian colleges/universities).

Live at home and avoid housing and food costs.  Discuss this with your parents of course.

Maintain a missionary life style.  Live like you had friends and family supporting you on the mission field.  Learn to live within your income

Maintain the no-credit-card-use mentality.

Attend a state college/university instead of a private or Christian one.  They will likely be cheaper.  While we love Christian colleges and universities, they typically cost more than state counter parts.  There are some exceptions so look around.  Many MK teachers graduated from secular colleges/universities.

Shop around for college/universities education loans when you begin college.  Some colleges/universities (even Christian ones)  encourage you to use one loan company above others because they get a kick back.   Shop around.  Be wise, this is an important decision.

Investigate Christian colleges who have a loan forgiveness program for full time mission work.

After College

Even with doing all that you can you will likely still have college loans to pay back when you graduate.  Mission organizations vary on how much debt they will permit in order for you to make on an application.  Some will permit your loan repayment to become part of your monthly income from supporters; some will not.  Some supporters may willing to provide support for your college education repayment.

It would be helpful for you to be able to say that you have zero debt from credit cards or other loans, that you drive an older car or ride a bicycle, that you buy from Goodwill, that you have learned about money management, that you live a frugal life style. . . . .

Determine when you have to begin paying your loan back (Period of Grace).  Some MK teachers will only be able to go to the mission field for two years and then they will need to get a salaried job and begin making education loan payments.

Some prospective MK teachers wonder why mission organizations won’t just pay them a salary to teach their children and part of that salary could be used to pay on their college loan repayment.

“It would be so easy and the MK teacher shortage issue would be solved.   It is such a simple solution.”

It is not that simple [Bob’s video] in light missionaries and the way mission organizations work.

TIS would like to develop a program to address the issue

of repayment of college loans called

Project EdSend

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