Finance and Student Debt

The Financing of Theological Education
Financial planning, fund-raising, and analysis by presidents and boards of theological schools are necessary if schools are going to continue to fulfill their mission. The research center has particular expertise in assessing financial trends that affect seminaries and in offering guidelines that may help schools as they plan for the future.


A Call to Action: Lifting the Burden

This Auburn Resources Report extends the research that the Auburn Center for the Study of Theological Education conducted and published in the Auburn Studies series about the critical issue of indebtedness among theological students. It is designed as a guide for financial aid and admissions personnel, dean of students and others who work with students to reduce and manage educational debt.


Fostering a Culture of Responsible Stewardship

This short (10 minute) video shares the strategies Luther Seminary has taken to foster an institutional culture of responsible stewardship. It is a case study of one school’s response to theological student indebtedness and is most appropriately used with theological school administrators, faculty and governing boards.


Webinar on Income-Based Repayment Plans for Theological School Graduates

In 2013, Auburn’s Center for the Study of Theological Education hosted a webinar for financial aid officers, admissions staff and student personnel at theological schools on the latest government regulations for income-based repayment plans for federal educational loans. This information will assist financial aid officers and others who counsel students and recent graduates in repayment options as they move into ministry. If you would like to listen to this webinar, please click here. The accompanying PDF allows you to view and print the presentation slides.  

Student Loans and Seminary Costs: How to keep from mortgaging your future

This 30 minute video introduces five recent seminary graduates, some of the financial challenges they faced and decisions they made. Two experienced seminary administrators also offer advice on how to manage finances while in school.  


Great Expectations, Fundraising Prospects for Theological Schools

By Sharon L. Miller, Anthony T. Ruger, and Barbara G. Wheeler
August 2009

In this issue:
• An analysis of fund-raising data from seminaries and theological
  schools show the growth, and sometimes decline, of donations
  over the last twenty years.
• As denominational support for theological schools has declined,
  schools are much more dependent on donations from individuals
  and therefore donor cultivation is central to a school's mission and survival.
• How much can a school hope to raise in a special or capital
  campaign? Using data from from eighty schools, some parameters are suggested.

Seek and Find? Revenues in Theological Education
By Anthony Ruger
April 2005

In this issue:
•  As theological schools find financial support from denominations
   declining, they must look elsewhere for support.
• Where should theological schools seek funds for their future?
• How can schools avoid the roller-coaster ride of the markets
   when they are dependent on investment returns?     


The Big Picture: Strategic Choices for Theological Schools
By Anthony T. Ruger and Barbara G. Wheeler
December 2000

In this issue:
•  This report helps theological schools situate their strategic
   choices in the context of theological education as a whole.
•  What are the kinds of choices that theological schools should be
   making, both in terms of material assets as well as enrollment? 


Lean Years, Fat Years: Changes in the Financial Support of Protestant Education
By Anthony Ruger
December 1994

In this issue:
•  Revenue sources for theological education have changed
   significantly in the last twenty years with more reliance on
   endowments, gifts and grants and student fees.
•  This is the third in a series of decennial studies of revenue
   sources for Protestant theological education. 


Reports on the Educational Debt of Theological Students are on the next page.  


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