We have so many questions about the Duggars. The reality stars of 19 Kids and Counting and Counting On fame follow strict rules, they have courtships instead of romances, and they subscribe to a controversial home-schooling curriculum. But did any of the Duggars go to college?
Did Any of the Duggars Go to College?
In a blog post on the TLC website, Michelle Duggar, who, like her husband Jim Bob Duggar didn’t attend college, revealed her children, including John-David Duggar and Jana Duggar, have taken online courses through a program called CollegePlus!.
“The great thing about it is it’s a distance learning program, for the most part, and then you have a coach who will come alongside you and assist you in studying and preparing for your courses,” Michelle explained of the program. “Taking the courses online works with your schedule so that you’re still able to work or pursue other experiences while studying. Also, the cost is minimal compared to the brick-and-mortar universities, and as a large family with a debt-free policy we’ve been really pleased with that.”
“A few of our kids are taking courses right now, and I think some of them will go for their degrees in whichever areas they decide, and then I think some of them may not really go for the full degree — but they’re getting knowledge and information for skills that they want to gain,” Michelle added in the blog post. “All my kids are different, and it will be interesting as time goes on to see which direction each one will take.”
Which Duggar Kids Took Classes With CollegePlus?
At one point, Jessa Duggar was pursuing a business degree through CollegePlus, according to a family blog post in 2011, and Jinger Duggar was trying to acquire a bachelor’s in music through the program.
Joseph Duggar, however, took classes at Crown Bible College for a year before stepping away from his studies to continue working with the family. “Joseph just completed a year at Crown Bible College and is now back working with the Duggar family business doing construction. He now plans to acquire his real estate license and his CDL license,” the Duggars revealed on Facebook in 2016.
While Jill Duggar expressed interest in becoming a nurse, she eventually became a licensed certified professional midwife in 2015. As for Michelle, she shared in a TLC blog post that her children took standardized tests every year, with her high school aged kids taking the GED.
“Each year we give standardized tests in May to all the kids that are in third grade through ninth grade. For us, it’s really fun because we go over to the testing facility, the kids take their tests and then we’ll celebrate with ice cream after they finish,” Michelle wrote. “Later when they’re finished with their high school education, I’ll have them take the GED test. It’s not required in our state, but I like them to do it because it’s good for them to have that certificate. That’s their equivalent of finishing their high school education.”
Did the Duggar Kids’ Spouses Go to College?
As for the Duggar spouses, Jessa’s husband, Ben Seewald, graduated from National Park College in 2015 with a degree in political science before taking classes at the Moody Bible Institute.
Meanwhile, Jill’s husband, Derick Dillard, graduated from the University of Arkansas’ law school in March 2021. And Jinger’s husband, Jeremy Vuolo, attended classes at Hartwick College before transferring to and graduating from Syracuse University in 2010. John-David’s wife, Abbie Duggar, has a nursing degree from Pontotoc Technology Center.
Explaining the family’s home-schooling practice, Jim Bob said the inspiration came from scripture, telling KLTV in 2011, “Bible says to train up your children when you get up in the morning when you sit down, walk by the way, and when you go to bed at night … and we really felt like in order to do to fulfill that command, we really wanted to home-school our children.”
Derick Dillard Claims the Duggar Kids Never Went Past a Middle School Education Level
Derick claimed that Jim Bob and Michelle’s kids never went past a middle school education level.
While speaking to the Los Angeles Times in September 2023, Derrick and Jill were asked how the entertainment “industry could operate more ethically” when it comes to children. Derick quickly responded that there are no protections in place for education.
“If a family sees an opportunity to make money, they can justify taking away their kids’ time [in school] because, well, they don’t need education, they can just have this money to support them,” he said.
Derick went on to claim that “none” of Jill’s 18 siblings “really had much education past the seventh grade.” The former reality star continued, “A lot of that was due to the show taking over. It was like, ‘Well, if the show requires most of the filming hours during the weekday, then school is not really that important.’”
As for Jill, she didn’t confirm her siblings’ level of education, but agreed with her husband that children who star on reality TV should be afforded more protection when it comes to schooling.
“I can’t say that kids should never be involved in reality TV because I think parents should have a say. But I think networks should have more accountability in place to make sure that kids are being protected, and that they’re getting the education they need, that [the TV show] is not taking priority and that their rights are not being violated,” Jill said. “There were very vulnerable moments, like I point out in the book, where I wish I didn’t have to be on reality TV, but I had to.”
When directly asked if her brothers and sisters were “deprived” of proper academic studies, Jill said yes.
“I went on to take some college classes. I got my midwifery certifications. I’m currently inactive on my status now,” she added. “But I do think that the show took priority in a lot of areas of our lives. Yes, there were great parts to it. But there were also very difficult parts that I would not choose, if I got to go back and I actually had a choice.”
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