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Sending Six Kids to College

If every first-time college parent could sit at the feet of Paul and Julie Hinds of Portland, Oregon, they’d get a calming perspective in the midst of the frantic season of applications, scholarships amounts, interest rates, deadlines, campus visits and separation anxiety.

With six daughters, they’ve been there, done that ... and have drawers full of OC t-shirts to prove it. Youngest daughter Emily graduated with an OC nursing degree 20 years after sending their first daughter to college.

Pacific Northwest to Oklahoma Christian

The Hinds are just one family in OC’s Pacific Northwest pipeline. Among the hundreds of students who have come inland to Oklahoma City, four families by the last name of Hinds (including three brothers – Paul, Tom and James) have combined to send 10 children to OC. Fourth brother, John, actually started the trend when he came to OC himself in 1995.

Granted, the Hinds have written many checks for tuition, room and board to Oklahoma Christian, but Paul sees it as an investment that has eternal dividends.

“OC has a unique sense of family and personal engagement between faculty and students to help guide one’s sense of mission in life. The OC culture is attractive to us, and our kids have benefitted greatly,” Paul said from his office at Hinds Instruments, a company that manufactures a broad range of instrumentation for evaluating polarization and light. (The company has hired several OC engineering graduates).

How to pay for college for multiple children

Paul said their girls were able to cover, on average, about 35 percent of their college education with summer jobs, scholarships and savings. Paul and Julie, through a mix of college loans and their own funds, helped with the rest.

“We told each daughter, ‘You do everything you possibly can, mom and dad will do the same, and the Lord will work it all out.’ And He did,” Paul said.

Still, in swapping notes with other parents who have sent children to state schools or other private schools, Paul said he doesn’t feel they’ve paid a premium at OC. He said that is especially true when considering the quality of education received by his daughters, a brother, nieces and nephews, and OC grads hired by their second-generation business.

How to choose a college

Paul offers tips for going through the process of choosing college and weighing the investment of a Christian education. He encourages parents to pray unceasingly ... and to pick up a new book by OC alumnus Brian Simmons, Wandering in the Wilderness. It discusses the faith journeys of young people from the time they leave high school through their 20s.

“Reading through the book helped me appreciate in a new way this stage of life and how OC’s administration, faculty and environment help support our young people during this critical period in their lives,” Paul said.

Continuing the family legacy

The Hinds family takes a long view of legacy – not just from one generation to the next, but for the children of their children’s children. It is a legacy of faith: how to faithfully live, how to defend the faith and how to advance the kingdom.

Paul and his wife, Julie, took a holistic approach to discipling their children, with Christian higher education being a major tenet of their plan. It will be their grandchildren’s turn before too long. With eight grandkids so far, Paul and Julie want to help send them (and their grandchildren’s grandchildren) to college, hopefully to OC.

“It is not about us and what we can do. It’s about helping the next generation and seeing them use their talents in their careers, homes, communities and the church,” Paul said. “The Lord has blessed us, and whether he chooses to bless us or refine us, may he find us faithful.”

By Dawn Shelton