Sixty-seven theological schools share strategies for reducing student debt
Rising tuition costs for students, shrinking sources of revenue for institutions, and lower salaries for clergy in the United States and Canada have led to significant financial challenges for future ministers pursuing theological education. But in 2014, more than 60 schools began projects to address these issues. Through research, innovation, education, and collaboration, these institutions are working together to address the issue of student debt among their students.
February 5, 2013
Improving the Economic Well-being of Future Servants of Jesus Christ
The concern of student indebtedness ranks high with students and administrators at all institutions of higher learning. In an effort to address this in a tangible and effective way Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., has been awarded a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., Indianapolis, Ind.
The three-year grant, awarded December 1, 2012–December 31, 2015, will be used to raise awareness among the student body, donors and The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod at large. “The grant will allow the seminary to engage in a vigorous and ambitious program that will produce research that will educate the seminary itself, its internal and external stakeholders, including its students, local congregations, along with the circuits, districts and Synod itself,” explained CTS President the Rev. Dr. Lawrence R. Rast Jr. “It has the support of the faculty, staff, administration, Board of Regents and the Synod administration. Its outcomes are well defined and geared not only to produce but also to impact people and institutions.”
Key points of this effort will include:
– examining the way financial aid is administered to determine the most equitable method of distributing aid;
– exploring student financial literacy and ways of improving our student’s understanding in this area;
– developing new funding methods to help reduce student debt;
– conducting a church-wide campaign to educate the seminary’s major stakeholders as to the economic challenges currently facing students;
– producing a “Student Economic Challenges and Opportunities” curriculum which will include video, print, PowerPoint and other learning tools. This will be used in communicating the student debt issue to the church members, pastors, congregations, circuits, districts and synodical administration of the LCMS.
“This grant is an exceptional opportunity to study the growing problem of student educational debt. The data gleaned from this study will enable the seminary and the entire LCMS to understand better the financial challenges that are facing current and future seminary graduates,” commented the Rev. Mark C. Sheafer, CTS director of Financial Aid. “Our prayer is that the Church will be able to respond in ways that will help reduce the financial burdens facing future church workers.”
To learn more about the grant from Lilly, contact Rev. Mark Sheafer at Mark.Sheafer@ctsfw.edu or 260-452-2151.