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What % of MDivs pay their own tuition?


Teddy Bear
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I'm talking with a POI at a TT Seminary and the question of cost arose. If I get into this seminary they have a 65% tuition-only scholarship program. I am set on pastoral ministry rather than a career in academia. Given that I'm not too sure if I'll even get a job after graduation, I'm not sure about making this financial commitment.

What % of MDiv students receive full scholarships - is this even a thing? Those in an MDiv program please share your experience about how you managed to justify the costs, knowing that career prospects are limited.

[This is only my second post on this forum so apologies upfront if it is posted in the wrong section etc.].

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On 1/17/2023 at 10:04 AM, Teddy Bear said:

I'm talking with a POI at a TT Seminary and the question of cost arose. If I get into this seminary they have a 65% tuition-only scholarship program. I am set on pastoral ministry rather than a career in academia. Given that I'm not too sure if I'll even get a job after graduation, I'm not sure about making this financial commitment.

What % of MDiv students receive full scholarships - is this even a thing? Those in an MDiv program please share your experience about how you managed to justify the costs, knowing that career prospects are limited.

[This is only my second post on this forum so apologies upfront if it is posted in the wrong section etc.].

This really depends on the school. I attend the BU School of Theology (getting an MTS personally), and the financial aid is quite good. Lots of people get full tuition. All the returning second years got a full tuition scholarship if they didn't get it last year. I don't get a stipend, but some of my classmates do, up to 10k a year. These stipends have grade stipulations to keep them but TA-ing is not required. I even know Unitarians who turned down full tuition at Harvard Div for full tuition + stipend at BU. You do need to have had at least a 3.3 undergrad GPA to qualify for merit aid, though. 

There are other schools that are known for good funding, like Princeton Theological (I know an Episcopalian who got full tuition + stipend from them, so you don't have to be Presbyterian to get money). 

It's probably too late for this cycle, but I would strongly recommend applying for better funded programs for next year. There's money out there to be had! Unless you have megachurch pastor charisma and chutzpah, this really isn't a field where you can justify student loan debt. 

I like BU. Feel free to ask me questions about it. 

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First, thank you for taking the time to reply. Your response is helpful.

I do think I would be able to be a megachurch pastor (though I've received many international awards from Toastmasters for my public speaking abilities - and I look good in skinny jeans 😉 ) but I have ethical issues around the entire "industry".

May I ask why you chose a MTS and not a MDiv. Given the poor jobs market I think that a MDiv is more flexible as it opens doors to both academia and ministry, while the MTS may not be so well received in the latter field.

What do you think the major differences are for those attending an evangelical seminary and those going to a secular Unuversity (such as BU) for their theology degree?

How conscious are you of your GPA? Do you live a very balanced life or have you placed things on hold due to GPA concerns?

 

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