Why Christendom College Rejects Federal Funding

We are the only Catholic college listed in the Cardinal Newman Guide that does NOT accept federal money.

students

From its very beginning, Christendom College made a prudential decision never to accept federal funding.  Christendom’s stance as one of only two accredited Catholic higher education institutions that are not dependent on federal student aid means that it is free to teach the Catholic Faith without government interference. 

The College’s decision has proven prophetic given the federal government’s current assault on religious freedom and its expanding use of funding conditions to promote policy preferences. (See this article/video from The Washington Times.) But, the College’s courageous stance means that it must rely on its generous donors to provide the financial support that students at other institutions receive from the federal government.

Federal Funding Opens the Door to Massive Government Intrusion

Congress Has the Power to Use Spending Conditions to Achieve Policy Objectives That Go Beyond Its Enumerated Constitutional Powers
  • The Supreme Court has long held that when Congress attaches conditions to funds, it creates something akin to a contract.
  • When the federal government gives money through grants, loans, spending legislation or contracts, it has the right, just like any other person or business, to ask for almost anything in return.
  • Spending conditions can be used to achieve policy objectives that are outside the enumerated powers specifically granted to Congress in the Constitution.

Congress Continues to Expand Its Use of Spending Conditions

  • Since the 1920s, Congress has repeatedly used spending conditions to accomplish policy objectives that are often unrelated to the spending programs.
  •  Amendments to the Hatch Act, for example, broadly restrict the political activity of employees of state and local entities that receive federal funds, including grants to law enforcement agencies or detention centers.   
  • Today, Congress likely controls more behavior through federal funding administrative requirements and conditions than through its legislative power. 
  • The majority of the federal budget is now taken up with spending programs, including social security, economic assistance, and education aid programs.

Congress Has Shown Its Willingness to Tie Policy Objectives to Higher Education Funding 

  • Congress has issued several broad mandates tying rules barring race, sex, and handicap discrimination to federal higher education funding.
  • In the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987, Congress extended those mandates to cover an entire college or university if even one student or any part of the university accepts a federal student loan.
  • The Act was passed over a veto by Ronald Reagan who declared that it would “vastly and unjustifiably expand the power of the Federal government over the decisions and affairs of private organizations . . . [and] place at risk such cherished values as religious liberty.”
  • Federal spending mandates often grant administrative agencies enforcement authority.
  • Thus, federal spending mandates often give rise to extensive administrative requirements.  Title IX’s ban on sex discrimination, for example, lead to a host of administrative regulations enforcing sex equivalency in intercollegiate athletics.   
  • Congress can also give private citizens broad rights to sue funding recipients to enforce funding conditions.

History Has Shown Federal Government Funding Has a Corrupting Influence on Catholic Higher Education

  • In 1965, the Omnibus Education Act made millions of dollars available to Catholic Colleges.
  • In the decades that followed, many Catholic Colleges and universities cited the need to qualify for federal funding as a reason to secularize their colleges and justify their rejection of ecclesiastical supervision. 

Federal Funding Is Costly and Ineffective


Federal Student Loan Programs Require Costly Administrative Structures  

  • Federal student aid regulations require large administrative and bureaucratic structures that increase education costs and can degrade the quality of student services at institutions which accept federal funds.
  • The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators reports that “[f]inancial aid offices and the student services they provide are being strained by increasing regulatory and administrative burdens.”
  • “The sheer size and scope of federal regulations and other administrative burdens has pushed financial aid offices to the breaking point,” said NASFAA President Justin Draeger.

Federal Student Loan Programs Do Not Work

  • There is no evidence to suggest that the billions of dollars of federal student aid given each year have increased the quality of education, enhanced economic growth, or resulted in greater income equality.
  • Instead, the evidence suggests that federal student aid results in increased education costs by supporting increased spending.  The real beneficiaries of student loan programs may be the colleges rather than the students. 

Christendom College Remains Free to Say NO


Catholic Colleges must be free to transmit the faith through their institution

  • The Church has always taught that She must be free to transmit the Faith, including through educational institutions.
  • In Dignitatis Humanae, the Second Vatican Council stated that “the social nature of man and the very nature of religion afford the foundation of the right of men freely to hold meetings and to establish educational, cultural, charitable and social organizations, under the impulse of their own religious sense.”

Catholic Higher Education Faces Threats from an Intrusive, Increasingly Secular [anti-Christian] Federal Government

  • The federal government takeover of the student loan industry as part of the recent health-care reform is a stark warning sign that the government is seeking broader control of higher education. 
  • Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, writes of the Obamacare’s “Direct Lending” loan program that it “may well be a cure that is worse than the disease….It will make American higher education extraordinarily vulnerable to political interference.  Will Congress, presidential administrations, and the Department of Education resist the temptation to misuse their new power? …. Creating barriers to religion and other dis-favored topics is one way that Direct Lending could be harnessed by political forces. Another way is to impose content that an interest group favors.  Typically this involves the rhetoric of ‘academic standards.’”

Christendom Remains Free to Reject Federal Funding

  • The United States Supreme Court has repeatedly made it clear that there is one simple way to escape federal funding mandates – say NO to federal funding.     
  • Christendom and the few other institutions of higher learning that have rejected federal funding are uniquely capable of escaping federal funding conditions because they are not financially dependent on the federal government or bound to the large administrative structures created by other colleges to administer federal aid programs.

Christendom Students Need Your Support

Christendom relies on private donations to provide its students with the financial assistance that others receive from the federal government.

  Support Government-free Student Aid Today