Ministers and the student debt monster

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Ministers and the student debt monster: Christian universities tout efforts to make theological training more affordable for preachers.

Second in a series

Abilene Christian University says it’s taking steps to crack down on the tens of thousands of dollars in debt accumulated by many ministry students.

The Texas university implemented a 50 percent tuition discount for Bible majors two years ago.

Now, the ACU Graduate School of Theology is launching an “affordability initiative” that officials say will lock in a fixed tuition rate for individual students and cut the total degree cost by more than 40 percent.

“We know that ministers serve in contexts where they may earn less than other professions, and we are committed to helping ministers graduate with less debt,” ACU Bible Dean Ken Cukrowski said in a statement. “Doing so helps reduce the burden of financial pressures and allows ministers to serve more effectively in churches and other ministry contexts.”

Other universities associated with Churches of Christ say they, too, are confronting the debt monster.

Related interview: Q&A: Steve McLeod on preachers, student loans and our ‘debt-ridden culture’ 

The main story appears in the May 2015 print edition of The Christian Chronicle.