By the Numbers: 4/10/06

The Ivy Jungle Network recently put out its monthly Campus Ministry Update for March. Here are some interesting statistics from this month’s trends:   

Women on Spring Break:  The annual rite of spring has begun with hundreds of thousands of students seeking sun – and in many cases alcohol.  Recent surveys of females on spring break have shown some alarming results:  83% of college women say their break will involve heavier than usual drinking, including drinking most nights during the break.  74% said that women use spring break drinking as an excuse for “outrageous” behavior.  74% also said that spring break results in increased sexual activity, with 57% saying that promiscuity helps women “fit in” on spring break.  84% said that images of girls partying on spring break contribute to reckless behavior and even more (86%) agreed that those images may contribute to dangerous behaviors by men toward women.  Among those surveyed, only 27% had been on a spring break trip to a fun and sun destination.  However, among those who had gone, 52% regretted getting sick because of their drinking, 40% regretted passing out, 20% regretted sexual activity.  In addition 13% reported sexual activity with more than one partner during their break, 12% report being forced or pressured into sexual activity and 10% regretted engaging in public or group sexual activity. (Chicago Tribune March 19, 2006 sec. 2. p. 7)
 
Christian Colleges Continue to Grow:  Evangelical Christian Colleges have seen applications rise again this year to record numbers.  Boasting 8-10% increases the last few years, many schools have been able to add students and revenue.  For struggling schools this has meant profitability, for others it has meant the ability to keep tuition levels lower.  The 102 evangelical schools in the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities have seen a 70% increase in enrollment from 135,000 students in 1990 to over 230,000 today.  Many of the schools have continued to see the academic quality of their applicant pool, and subsequent classes increase as well.  (Chicago Tribune March 10, 2006 sec. 1 p. 10)
  
Impact of College Loans:  The average graduate from the class of 2002 has over $20,000 in loans to pay back.  That represents a 66% increase from five years previous.  Nearly one-fifth of college graduates say they have delayed having children because of their college loans. 
 
Supreme Court Declines College Censorship Case:   The high court has decided not to hear a censorship case related to the editorial freedom of college supported campus papers.   Three students filed a law suit after Governors State University refused to allow the printing of articles critical of the school’s administration in 2000.  In refusing to hear the case, the Supreme Court upholds the lower court ruling which says that institutions have the right to limit the content student run papers subsidized by the school.  (Reuters February 23, 2006)
 
College Gambling:  A survey by the Annenburg Public Policy found that monthly card gambling among college students is up by 20% over last year.  Experts fear as many as half a million college students may have gambling addictions.  Stories of students who spend hours at online gambling sites are not uncommon.  But as 5% of the collegiate population reports problematic behavior schools are beginning to see gambling as something more than a harmless diversion for students.  Not only that, many are coming in with gambling habits.  As many as 80% of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 say they gambled in the last year, with 35% saying they gambled at least once a week.  (ABC News March 10, 2006)
 
Seminary Enrolment Increases Without Plans to Preach:  Across the theological and denominational spectrum seminaries have experienced strong enrollment.  However, increasingly fewer seminary graduates are going into traditional church and preaching ministries.  Only about half of those graduating with an M.Div. now enter parish ministry.  Among mainline denominations many graduates enter social service, chaplaincy, or academia.  Among conservative groups, many are in parachurch ministry and other advocacy groups.  The percentage of seminarians going into pulpit ministry has declined by 10-15% in the last five years alone.  (New York Times March 17, 2006 p. 1A)
 
College Consultants:  As high school counselors help prospective college students fill out applications and sift through the myriad of school choices, some wealthier students have hired “college consultants” to increase their chances of securing a spot at their top choice school.  Consultants charge from $120 an hour to nearly $3,000 for two years of consultations.  One exclusive program charges more than tuition at some schools – nearly $40,000 for their help.  Some high school counselors remain skeptical believing most of what the “professionals” offer is readily available through the internet and existing books.  (AP March 1, 2006)

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