The concern of student indebtedness likely ranks high with students and administrators at all institutions of higher learning. In an effort to address this in a tangible and effective way, Concordia Theological Seminary (CTS), Fort Wayne, Ind., has been awarded a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., Indianapolis.
The three-year grant, awarded for Dec. 1, 2012-Dec. 31, 2015, will be used to raise awareness among the student body, donors and The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod at-large.
“The grant will allow the seminary to engage in a vigorous and ambitious program that will produce research that will educate the seminary itself, its internal and external stakeholders, including its students, local congregations, along with the circuits, districts and Synod itself,” explained CTS President Rev. Dr. Lawrence R. Rast Jr. “It has the support of the faculty, staff, administration, Board of Regents and the Synod administration. Its outcomes are well defined and geared not only to produce but also to impact people and institutions.”
Key points of this effort will include:
- examining the way financial aid is administered to determine the most equitable method of distributing aid.
- exploring student financial literacy and ways of improving the seminary’s students’ understanding in this area.
- developing new funding methods to help reduce student debt.
- conducting a church-wide campaign to educate the seminary’s major stakeholders about the economic challenges currently facing students.
- producing a “Student Economic Challenges and Opportunities” curriculum which will include video, print, PowerPoint and other learning tools. This will be used in communicating the student-debt issue to the church members, pastors, congregations, circuits, districts and national administration of the LCMS.
“This grant is an exceptional opportunity to study the growing problem of student educational debt. The data gleaned from this study will enable the seminary and the entire LCMS to understand better the financial challenges that are facing current and future seminary graduates,” commented the Rev. Mark C. Sheafer, CTS director of Financial Aid. “Our prayer is that the Church will be able to respond in ways that will help reduce the financial burdens facing future church workers.”
Posted March 13, 2013