Nazarene Theological Seminary has received a $25,000 grant from the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) as part of its initiative to promote default prevention and debt management related to student loan borrowing and repayment.
Objectives of the MDHE program include increasing the awareness of financing options for postsecondary education, reducing debt among students and parents, increasing enrollment retention, reducing loan defaults, and generally increasing students’ knowledge about their personal finances.
“We are excited to partner with the Missouri Department of Higher Education in this very critical area,” shared NTS President Carla Sunberg. “We are keenly aware that issues related to personal finance can undercut the effectiveness of pastors and leaders; they can also prohibit our students from accepting the call to pastor in various ministry locations.”
In addition to receiving this MDHE grant, NTS was one of 67 theological schools across the country who last November, received a $250,000 grant as part of Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc.’s Theological School Initiative to Address Economic Issues Facing Future Ministers.
Sunberg continued, “These two generous grants are helping NTS to more effectively address issues of financial literacy and stewardship in various ways throughout a student’s tenure at NTS. Our new Center for Pastoral Leadership is leading the charge in this important area and will also work closely with the Nazarene International Board of Education so that pastors already engaged in ministry—including many of our alumni—can also benefit from this renewed focus on clergy personal finance.”
The MDHE grant will enable NTS to develop an institution-wide team approach to improve student retention and graduation rates, increase financial literacy and personal financial stewardship skills, reduce student default rates on student loans and increase the number of graduates who are able to manage student debt while retaining employment in pastoral ministry or community nonprofits. NTS plans to reach 300 current students and 300 alumni with training and technical support to improve the student loan default rate and reduce the financial burden of student loan debt management on NTS graduates.