7 Ways to Pay for Seminary

Hi, I’m Jim Ehrman, Dean at Evangelical Seminary. One of the questions we get asked the most is, “How do I fund my education?” Here’s seven quick ways.

Number one, FAFSA. This is the Federal Student Loan Program. We highly recommend you to look into it. We put a web address here for you. Check it out. It’s one of the ways to get subsidized or unsubsidized loans. That’s just an easy way to say this some of the loans incur interest while you’re in school but you don’t have to pay it off til you’re done. [[00:00:29]] Others actually don’t incur that interest while you’re going through school. So check out FAFSA.

Number two, you should see whether or not your employer has a tuition reimbursement program or a professional development fund. These are ways that your employers, in a sense, remuneration compensate you in indirect ways, and they’re watching you get better and develop the skills you need to serve in their workplace. And there’s one other thing you might want to remember. There’s a federal program as well that allows nonprofits to apply to have debt forgiveness for loans after a certain number of year of services. So if you do work for a non-profit, make sure you check out whether or not they qualify.

Number three, denominational or church funding. If you’re part of a denomination or if you’re part of a church that has funding set aside for education, it’s really important to check that out. Many, many denominations throw money in the direction of students who are studying, particularly in committing to serving in that denomination long-term.

Number four, national clearinghouse of financial opportunities. There’s numerous websites that took the time to gather together all the various clearinghouses or foundations or family foundations that give money toward education. We’re giving you a few web addresses here you might want to check out. You’ll find opportunities to apply for oftentimes small to medium-sized grants, sometimes even low interest or no interest loans. So something you would look at.

Number five, personal loans. Banks offer things known as personal education loans and a lot of times students don’t think of that. But there are lower interest loans that banks offer for those who are pursuing education, so look at what your local banks are offering in that area. Go in and ask a few questions. Also, don’t forget to look to your family for potential loans. You got to realize, with interest rates where they’re at, you might have a family member that can get better interest off of a loan to you then they’re actually making at a bank, and I’m sure they trust you for it.

Number six, institution related grants or scholarships. Hey, we all know this. You apply for financial aid or whatever institution you’re attending and you hope you get some of it. So don’t forget to ask your institution whether or not they have grants or scholarships available. And if you do get a grant from someone who donated money in the past make, sure you send a thank-you.

Number seven, one that we don’t hear about too often called a school payment plan. Some semesters you try to pay for this yourself. It’s good to go into the business office and just ask that question. “Is there any way to space out the payments over time versus that one big lump at the beginning of a semester or a trimester?” Don’t be afraid to ask questions. There’s more flexibility there than you think sometimes. Oh, that was all seven of them, but hey there’s a bonus round.

Bonus: number eight, for any of you who have military service backgrounds, make sure you look into some of the Veterans Administration programs that are available. There’s a good bit of funding floating around there even outside the GI Bill. So there’s the seven, nay, eight things that you can do to help finance your graduate theological education. If you have any questions, get in touch with us here at Evangelical Seminary. Thanks.