By Staci Bradbury
The administration at Olivet Nazarene University announced today a new initiative towards student marriage, which will include offering scholarships on a sliding scale to undergraduates who commit to engagement and marriage within their first three years at Olivet.
Freshmen who are engaged by the end of spring semester will receive a full tuition waiver for their next three years. Sophomores will receive a 50 percent waiver, and juniors will receive a 25 percent discount on their education.
“The idea is that it’s not enough just to tell students this in chapel services and classes,” Chaplain Marcus
Holycomb said. “We really want to put hands and feet to this message and offer a satisfying incentive for them to get married.”
Students have had an overwhelmingly positive reaction to the news. “I have been praying about how I would pay for college, and I really feel like this is God’s answer,” freshman Grace Johnson said. “A lifelong commitment really isn’t that much when you consider that the alternative is death—I mean, debt.”
Others, such as sophomore Julia Jilly, have embraced the message on religious grounds. “It just makes sense to me, that we would be spiritually obligated to get married,” she said. “The family is the basic unit of society, it’s not like single people are. I mean, what would Jesus do?”
The initiative will also include mandatory speed dating events once a week. “We’re thinking that instead of swiping in for chapel, you could swipe in for speed dating,” Holycomb explained. “This is something that has been on our hearts and minds for a long time now, and it’s time that we make it real in our lives.”
Also under consideration is the idea that single students might wear compulsory yellow stars, for clear identification of their status.
“We are at the point now where we can’t just wait for ‘Ring by Spring’ anymore. Senior year is too late to be considering these things. That process needs to start sooner. It’s time for us as leaders to set a new standard, a new timeline for students to follow,” Holycomb said.