Two Cent Tuesday – Is it ok to take out a loan for seminary?

by on January 29, 2008

Well, today is Two Cent Tuesday… your chance to let everyone know what you think about the question of the week. Today is a fun and occasionally controversial question:

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Let your two cents be heard. If clicking a box is not enough for you, then feel free to drop your pennies in the comment section.

Have fun and… play nice.

About

The author of this post is noted above. GoingtoSeminary.com and Best-Seminary.com were created by Ryan Burns. He is currently on staff at Redemption Hill Church in Richmond, VA, and recently launched a site to help people find Seminary Scholarships and anther site to help people find Church Jobs. He also writes about his experiences doing GORUCK events on his hobby blog.

Comments

The important thing to remember with student loans is that you have to pay them back. Most student loans require you to begin making payments six months after graduation. Large student loan payments may seriously limit the choices you’re able to make during those first few years following school.

ST

That is a tough one to call. For example, if you want to go to the mission field (SBC) you have to be debt free. Also, we must face reality in that we are not going to be making a ton of money in the ministry (that is unless you are willing to sacrifice the gospel–see Osteen or Hinn). I don’t know that it would be a good steward of your resources to take out a loan. Perhaps taking only what you can afford is a better idea.

At the same time, our entire system is based upon debt. Most of us live because of debt. I believe that if you can actually pay off your loans within five years, then go for it. But then I would question whether or not you need them in the first place.

Personally, we are not taking out any loans, but I voted for maybe because I don’t know that you can outright say yes or no.

Why would you borrow money and then after you complete your training, spend several more years trying to dig out of the hole that you have created with debt.

I have been in seminary for five years, but when I graduate I will have no debt related to my education (I had other debt that I am paying on prior to seminary)

Another reason not to carry debt – Proverbs says that the borrower is slave to the lender.

Also, in looking for a ministry position, many churches will run a credit check on you. Would you want to be up to your eyeballs in debt?

One of the problems with getting into “a lot” of debt is that your debt will direct where you go after seminary to serve God. In other words, very few small churches get seminary trained pastors because they can’t afford the salary to allow them to pay back their school debt.

Some of us have started a completely free online Reformed seminary called The North American Reformed Seminary…
http://www.tnars.net

Obvious answer would be opting for a loan only if you hope to pay it back without getting in too much pressure financially.

I am well familiar with seminary loans, being that I just graduated and have a heap of loans to pay back. In my case I’m not sure I could have gone to seminary without the loans. I quit a good paying career to go, and therefore was not eligible for much aid other than loans. I also consulted with someone at the seminary regarding grants and such, and he told me “I hate to break it to you, but you’re white and male.” Gee, thanks! I felt like I could only handle studing full time having been out of school for a number of years. Also, part-time jobs just don’t pay well enough to pay your bills. Some people can work 40 hours a week and go to seminary full-time, but I knew that wasn’t me. Now I’m considering going back to my career simply because I have to pay off my loans, and we all know ministry jobs don’t pay well. I had considered foreign missions, but no sending agency (with a salary) will send you with a certain amount of student loans. I could go by “faith”, but that didn’t exactly pay for my school!

I’m planning on going to seminary here soon but dont have plans to go in to ministry. The plan to get a doctoral degree and teach till I kick the bucket. My current job (which I’ll have to leave) doesn’t pay much and I don’t come from a wealthy background. That means that unless I take loans, I’m looking at 20 years until I get my doctoral degree. Or I can take loan, finish in maybe 10, by the grace of God get a teaching position and pay it back. I don’t really see any other way unless grants and scholarships and gifts pay for the 60k usually required.
My view is that if this is the direction God is leading, then a way will be provided. If that’s debt, then I use it as conservatively as possible and trust him that he won’t have me get into serious debt then ruin my life because of that debt. God is good and does good.

It is ok. I think. I know that God has been wanting me to go for the past year now. It has just taken me sometime to listent. Now at this point it is either do what I know God wants me to do or stay at home due to my current situation. If that means I have to get a loan, then I will. Not to say I will not be able to next Fall. Since I am starting the second half of the year makes it a bit difficult and another half year waiting just does not seem to be what God is wanting.

I will continue to pray, apply and search for aid for the semesters to come.