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College Riots and the FAFSA Debacle

By Dr. Lisa Dunne 

It’s official. Colleges have gone crazy.

All you have to do is click open the news or scroll on social media to see campuses facing the fallout of progressive, woke ideologies indoctrinated into the hearts of impressionable young adults. Students are blocking themselves into libraries (not to study, but to protest), forming trash-covered encampments on their once-beautiful campus lawns, and stomping their feet to insist that administrators meet their demands.

If today’s college riots sound eerily familiar to the 1970s version of American academia, there’s a reason. 

Plato said that the two most vital questions any civilization must ask are who is teaching the children, and what are they being taught?

In 2020, parents walked into their kids’ online classrooms and saw with their own eyes what kids were being taught in public schools. As a result, there was a mass exodus of government school systems as millions of families across the US opted to take responsibility for their kids’ education.

And 2024 is for colleges what 2020 was for K to 12, a clarion wake-up call for parents.

Today, parents are privy to a similar window of illumination: American schools from K to college are increasingly focused on indoctrination, not education. Look up the abysmal test scores and illiteracy rates for all ages at Modern education is broken.

Why do today’s protests seem eerily familiar to the 1970s version? Because the students who were taught in 70s classrooms are now teaching your children the same pagan philosophies today’s classrooms. If you read Rabbi Johnathan Cahn’s book Return of the Gods, you’ll see some spiritual parallels between the educational ecosphere of the 1970s and the 2020s. 

The student has become the teacher.

How will you answer Plato’s questions for your family: Who is teaching your children, and what are they being taught? 

I talk with a lot of parents who know their neighborhood schools are broken. Every day, sometimes many times a day, there is a post from a desperate mom who is throwing up her hands in frustration at what her kids are being taught in school. Listen, parents, there is a way out of the bondage of Egypt. The Let-My-People-Go cry has already been heeded. You have permission to depart. You can legally make the decision to take responsibility for your child’s education. In my county alone, we’ve started 10 homeschool support academies. There are another 302 private schools, a rapidly growing percentage that gives alternatives to the 770 public schools in our county. Parents, there is a reason that, as the Washington Post has shown, the number of homeschoolers in our county has literally doubled since 2017. Clearly, mom and dad, you aren’t the only one who has noticed that something is wrong with modern education. The question is, what will you do about it? 

And that craziness extends literally from preschool to college. 

The two latest outbursts at the college level are the campus riots and the FAFSA debacle. Let’s unpack that. What’s happening with FAFSA? The FAFSA reddit page is a web of complaints from students on the verge giving up on college altogether. The FAFSA process was already cumbersome, and now it’s making college application even more difficult—at least for colleges that take government funding. For the record, CVCU does not accept any government funding: not student loans, not pell grants, not Title IV, not FAFSA.  

FAFSA, which stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), is an offshoot of the Higher Education Act of 1965, signed by then-President  Lyon B. Johnson with the hopes of alleviating the cost of college. This program spawned other funding supports like loans and grants, tax credits, work study, and in 1992, FAFSA. Typically, with FAFSA, students apply for college in October and then find out in March how much federal aid assistance they will receive, which tells them how much the cost of school will be, in a sense, subsidized by the government (or the school itself). 

FAFSA’s forms were already complicated, with over 100 questions, but a redesign in 2020 made it even more so. The redesign was supposed to provide eligibility for half a million more students, including those in prison, to receive federal aid such as Pell Grants. But that 2020 revision took until December 2023 to open up, and even then it was plagued with technical issues and bugs. Students were already behind the timeline for the new application, when the department announced that it had accidentally left out a calculation variable (the Student Aid Index), which would potentially report incorrect information on the student to the college of application. 

The department asked colleges to do their own calculations, which, for small private colleges, can represent a substantial work burden. Looking at the FAFSA Reddit page, it seems that many students who were already unconvinced that college was necessary are now even less likely to press forward and pursue a college degree. 

The bad news: Education is broken. The good news: We can fix it. What if we re-imagined a college model that was not yoked to a woke government system AND didn’t carry the price tag of an overpriced private college?

In 2020, something remarkable happened in the US. It was as if an entire nation declared in one unified voice, “I once was blind, but now I see.” Parents walked into their kids bedrooms and saw their Zoom public school classrooms up close and personal. They had never before been admitted into this secret space of the public school classroom because they were told that their rights as parents end at the school front door.

What happened in 2020 with K to 12 is now happening in 2024 with colleges. Parents are confronted daily with news media showing images of college students ranting and raving about where the money they spend on tuition is going. Which is a good question in itself, really. Where does the money go? We see the scores and hear the companies saying there aren’t enough field experts in math and science to hire in the US so they want to expand the hiring laws to include more applicants from nations that are actually educating their citizens. We see more indoctrination than education. 

But when we look at private colleges, we often see some of the same harvest. Students rising up in rebellion against behavioral codes they signed agreement with when they applied for college. Students steeped in anxiety and depression. And hiring practices that place unbelieving professors in the role of leader and mentor to impressionable young minds. Traditional education is broken. 

What if we could do college differently? The research shows that the same system that works for Kindergarten to 12th grade also works for college. The number one predictor of socio-academic success from ages 0 to 25 is an involved parent. We need more parents in the mix, more concerned adults speaking up for reason and truth and self-discipline, more focus on not only academia but on the fruits of the spirit, on personal transformation, on whole-student discipleship. That is the problem we set out to solve with the Academic Rescue Mission.

Because America’s education crisis is a solvable problem! 

Most of California’s private colleges (and even some private high schools, shockingly), cost almost $40,000 a year, according to a 2022 study by the College Board. Is this astronomical rate justifiable? In 20 years of teaching in private colleges, I had many students in my class who were going into field like teaching kindergarten and other non-lucrative fields of employment. They often ended their college career $140K in debt. I had students who were sleeping in their cars instead of taking on the $11K a year cost of living in campus housing and eating in overpriced school cafeterias. Would they be impacted by the debt? Yes. Students who graduate with outstanding loan debt are far more likely to delay “adulting” decisions like buying a car, owning a home, getting married. Debt is setting up a generation for perpetual adolescence. 

At CVCU, you won’t find campus riots or play-dough therapy. You won’t find meaningless studies or punitive busywork. You won’t find professors whose life goal is to make you feel invisible or incapable. What you will find is mentor-driven, Bible-based, debt-free education. 

CVCU is on a mission to rescue the next generation from the broken model of education, from preschool to college, and there are three ways you can help turn the tide. 1) You can break off your engagement with the public system and join one of our 34 on-campus support programs for affordable homeschool support from K to 12th grade. 2) You can earn your college degree in our mentor-driven, faith-based, debt-free model. 3) Start your own church-based homeschool academy anywhere in the US. Parents, it’s time to answer Plato’s questions: Who is teaching the children, and what are they being taught. Let’s labor together to shift the culture of education for the next generation. 

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