A businessman who is set to launch a new, innovative Christian college has revealed the three “defects” that he believes are present in our contemporary higher education system: cost, hostility to faith and lax curriculum.
Finny Kuruvilla, who will open Sattler College in Boston, Massachusetts next fall, broke down the ins and outs of each of these failure areas and spoke about how his college — a school that will provide a totally different higher ed option — will work toward remedying each blight.
“I would say at a high level, the modern educational system has three basic defects,” Kuruvilla recently told Faithwire. “It’s hostile to faith, it’s too expensive and it’s academically weak.”
The businessman, who will set tuition at just $9,000 per year, went on to say that colleges today are really just conglomerates — institutions with their hands not only in academics, but also in mental health, medicine and a plethora of other arenas.
Kuruvilla believes they are “competing on peripherals as opposed to education itself.”
The second issue that Kuruvilla noted is that many colleges foster an environment that is hostile toward faith, with statistics showing that scores of students who go into these institutions with Christian faith come out without any allegiance to their past theological views.
“We should be very alarmed and I wish people were very alarmed,” he said, noting, though, that this dynamic should come as no surprise, seeing as the Bible seems to speak to this very issue in Luke 6:40.
That verse reads, “The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.” Thus, Kuruvilla believes that there is some serious wisdom in those words, as students almost always become more like those teaching them.
And considering that most professors hold a secular worldview, this observation — and verse — is worth considering.
“Whether or not you like it or not, you’re going to become more like the people who are teaching you,” he said. “When you look, particularly at the top universities … you literally have a 99 percent chance of sitting at the feet of someone who doesn’t call himself or herself a born-again Christian.”
The third issue that Kuruvilla cited is curriculum, explaining his belief that many colleges today are academically weak. He’s hoping that Sattler can help fill this void by stepping into an education arena that he believes is plagued by a dearth of both rigor and competition.
Starting the school up hasn’t been easy, nor has it been a low-cost endeavor, as the application fee, alone, was $18,000. And Kuruvilla has poured around $30 million of his own money into the institution in hopes of equipping future generations with the knowledge needed to defend the faith.
“We want to be a restoration of the historic faith,” he said. “I’m a person who believes that we all aught to be very suspicious of anything new, new in doctrine.”
Kuruvilla continued, “[Students] will have the ability to stand strong in their convictions.”
Sattler College will start in the fall with 20-30 students and will hopefully grow from there. And there’s some practical symbolism when it comes to his choice of Boston as the home for Sattler — symbolism that plays into the businessman’s attempt to ignite a new movement in education.
“Boston is a place where movements begin,” Kuruvilla said. “And there’s a lot of dynamics that work really well for that.”
Boston is also one of the least Biblically-minded major cities in the country, according to Barna. In a survey of the largest 100 metropolitan areas in America, Boston placed 99th on the list, behind only Albany, NY.
Let’s pray that there’s some serious movement in the higher education realm, and that Kuruvilla can help usher it in.