I’m hardly in a position to criticize someone else for publicity stunt-like moneymaking schemes… but screw it. Julianna Battenfield is trying to raise money to pay for law school. (***Update*** 7/21/16: The site no longer exists, but an archived version is here.)
I don’t mind her trying to raise the money (seriously, good luck), but what bothers me is where she wants to go — Pat Robertson‘s Regents University School of Law — and why she wants to go there (emphases hers):
God asked me to go to Law School for the good of the Kingdom of God.
Help me raise $28,500 by 5/1/15!
I do not believe in taking out student loans
because the Word of God says not to,
and He asked me specifically not to,
so I have permanently declined my loans in faith,
trusting that He will provide the full amount.
If He asks you to help, please help.
If not, sit back and watch Him work a miracle.
I’ll wait for the miracle, thank you very much… (and why would “He” get the credit for our donations?)
She even made a movie trailer:
I have to hand it to her; guilt-tripping other Christians into paying her tuition by telling them it’s what God wants is pretty damn clever.
Going to Law School at Regents costs about $55,000 a year, though it’s well over $200,000 in realistic terms. (That’s several potato salads on Kickstarter.) And only 55% of Regents graduates have jobs that require passing the Bar! Even with a donation match, it’s just not worth it.
Anyway, after reading through Battenfield’s site, I have a few questions:
- Why isn’t anyone else who wants to go to Regents doing this? Does God not want them to go to law school? What makes Battenfield so special?
- Even on her page explaining why she wants to go to law school, how come it’s unclear why Battenfield wants to go to law school? What are her post-law-school plans? That really seems to be the least of her concerns. (She briefly outlines her plans on a different page, but even there it’s not explicit.)
- If she doesn’t raise the money, Battenfield says she won’t attend Regents. But what will she do with the donations? She doesn’t tell us.
- How much has she raised so far? When will we know when she’s hit her mark? It’s either pre-planned genius or a grossly irresponsible omission.
Joe Patrice at Above the Law has a much larger problem with the cost of Battenfield’s choice of a mediocre-at-best law school:
Debt is big business in this country, and Julianna’s questionable interpretation of scripture has hit on the just how predatory a society based on usury can be. When you marry usury and a school willing to run up tuition while promising meager results, you can see the con game.
In a sense, the narcissists (or religious people) who refuse to play by the same rules as the rest of us expose that the rules are rigged. Still, it’s probably better to spend your money fighting the system than helping a single student skirt it.
And it’s definitely better to keep your money away from sub-par law schools trying to convince their students to pay top dollar no matter how much you like the trailer.
In all seriousness, Battenfield hasn’t convinced me she genuinely wants to go to law school. All I know is that she wants to help people and everyone around her tells her to be a lawyer. That’s all well and good — but those are not good reasons to go to law school. There are plenty of jobs that let you help others and plenty of ways to use your advocacy skills. It’s not like Regents (or any other law school) is going to tell you that, though. They just want your money.
Or, in Battenfield’s case, “God’s” money.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)