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Wednesday
Jul152015

THE COST BENEFIT OF THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION

Recently, I was talking with a minister who shared with me that he wanted to do his doctoral work at NTS, but that he couldn’t because (he believed) it was simply not affordable.  He told me that he had completed his Master’s degree at another Seminary because it was closer to home, and presumably cheaper. When he told me the cost of degree, I told him that it was nearly twice the cost of the MDiv at NTS. Then I told him the total cost of the Doctor of Ministry degree at NTS and he was stunned at the affordability. 

The cost of all forms of higher education is a frequent topic of conversation these days. This is especially true for those who have a call to ministry. Insurmountable debt can become a barrier to pastoral ministry and therefore it becomes wise to ask questions about the program into which you will be entering and compare the information.

Nazarene Theological Seminary is subsidized by the Church of the Nazarene  and all students realize these benefits with a very competitive tuition rate. Among comparable seminaries, NTS is the best value. Our hourly rate is less than most of our competitors. Not only is our regular rate competitive, but we offer numerous scholarships. Our average scholarship rate is 22%.

Most of the educational debt that students incur comes from their undergraduate education. Even bearing this in mind, one-third of all NTS graduates complete their education with no debt. Another third will graduate with a manageable amount of debt, but unfortunately another third will leave with a combined undergraduate and graduate debt that is quite substantial.

NTS is committed to helping those students entering NTS with large debt. Through our Center for Pastoral Leadership (CPL), we are providing financial tutorials as well as an on-site financial advisor to help with issues of personal financial management. These services are made possible by a grant from the Lilly Foundation to help our students keep educational debt at a minimum and help facilitate them in ministry.

LOOKING TOWARD THE FUTURE

Nazarene Theological Seminary has been in the business of preparing kingdom leaders for 70 years. When the doors of the Seminary were first opened, tuition was provided by the denomination. As we embark on the next 70 years we would like to do all that we can to reduce the cost and eventually provide for most or even all of our students’ tuition costs. For this to happen, we have begun a new endowment: “Future Pastors and Leaders Scholarship Fund.” Our goal for this fund is $10 million. To date we have $1.4 million and are looking for those who will help us invest in our future kingdom leaders.

In the next 10-15 years, 40% of all pastors of all denominations in the United States will retire. We must be intentional about helping to raise up and support the next generation of pastors and leaders. If you would like to help us make a difference and participate in this fund, please feel free to contact me at CSunberg@nts.edu

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