A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Seminary Students and the Debt Toll

Student debt has been an important topic of late in the news. More than a few suggest that education is the next economic bubble to pop. Whether that is true remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure-- student debt is heading in the wrong direction.

Enter into the picture newly graduated seminarians looking to enter the ministry, who are also saddled with debt. Robert Dilday writing in the Baptist Standard quotes one expert, "'It no longer is unusual for seminary graduates to leave school with $70,000 to $80,000 in debt,' Sharon Miller, associate director of the Auburn center, told the Huffington Post in 2012."

Dilday notes that such a debt load affects churches,
"The debt load on students does have its effect on churches as graduates are sometimes forced to find secular instead of ministerial employment to pay off student loans," he said. "Churches sometimes help their ministers with their debt when they call them, but it would be cheaper in the long run to have helped to subsidize their seminary education expenses."
United Methodist ordinands are asked several historic questions from John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. One of the questions is, "are you in debt so as to embarrass you in your work?"

O, the irony of it all.


Tina said...

As a seminary graduate, I am debt free. The seminary did not give me any scholarships or grants toward any of the three degrees from their institution. Each class was taken one at a time and paid in full. So it is possible to be debt free with a couple master's degrees. On a pastor's salary, it would be very difficult to pay off $70,000, especially being single.

Dennis Sanders said...


Yes it is possible to graduate debt free, but not everyone can set aside the years it would take to accomplish that, let alone have the cash on hand to do that. I graduated with $30K in debt which I guess is I guess is now below average. I didn't have cash on hand pay it all myself and I would probably still be in seminary if I did one at a time.