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The Two Biggest Myths About Educational Debt

Misconceptions help to explain why current strategies aren’t working.

By Jo Ann Deasy and Chris Meinzer

Myth #1—Students feel high debt loads are unmanageable.

Myth #2—Higher tuition discounting through scholarship aid has the greatest impact on reducing educational debt.

For the last several decades, theological schools, denominations, and congregations have become increasingly concerned about educational debt among seminary graduates and its potential negative impact on their abilities to serve in ministry. Some theological schools have sought to rectify the situation in a variety of ways including lowering tuition, increasing scholarship aid, shortening degree programs, and developing distance learning programs, but often to no avail. Debt loads continue to increase, and graduates are finding it harder and harder to survive financially in the ministry. So what are we missing?

Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) is not yet a member of ATS, but UTS presidents and administrative staff have been welcomed at ATS conferences over the last 15 years.

Jo Ann Deasy is Director, Institutional Initiatives and Student Research for The Association of Theological Schools.
Chris Menzer is Senior Director of Administration and CFO for The Association of Theological Schools.