Understanding your financial commitment
These guidelines are established by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, not Luther Seminary.
The stipend is $1,600 per month for a one-year/full-time internship and $800 per month for a two-year/half-time (concurrent) internship. As the intern is considered an employee of the congregation, their stipend is taxable. Congregations are required to pay the employer's portion of FICA.
Housing and utility allowance
(For geographically restricted internship sites, the following housing or a housing allowance requirements are waived. Contact the Office of Contextual Learning if you have questions about this provision.)
The congregation will provide adequate furnished housing and utilities (including Internet) or an allowance to provide for both housing and utilities. Separate, private housing is expected. The intern is not to be housed together with a parishioner.
If housing is not secured in advance by the congregation, the congregation will assist the intern in locating housing and will pay a monthly housing and utility allowance directly to the intern.
If housing has been secured but is unfurnished or under-furnished, moving expenses between the internship site and the seminary will be provided by the congregation.
Please note: This additional moving expense is not intended to be covered by the travel pool. While mileage support is paid to the intern for travel to and from the internship site, it will not cover all moving costs.
Alternative housing arrangements must be negotiated with the Office of Contextual Learning.
Business-related travel expenses are to be reimbursed to the intern at the IRS standard mileage rate or as a monthly car allowance.
The congregation will reimburse the intern for approved expenses incurred in his or her work.
Expenses for participation in cluster meetings by the intern and supervisor are the responsibility of the congregation.
New supervisor orientation
New supervisors will be required to attend a New Supervisor Orientation session prior to the beginning of internship. The registration fee ($200) is the responsibility of the congregation, but the Office of Contextual Learning will reimburse supervisors for their travel costs.
All stipends are subject to income tax and FICA. Since the intern is considered an employee of the congregation, the congregation is also subject to FICA. Income tax and FICA will also need to be paid on the housing allowance or fair-rental value of housing that is provided. Thus, the financial implication for a congregation hosting a full-time intern is the payment of 7-plus-percent per month FICA on the stipend and housing allowance. The congregation may assist the intern by paying the employee's portion as well.
Travel pool fee
Travel Pool fee: $500 (billed after internship begins; split between 2 years for concurrent)
- Congregational payment for the travel pool is set by the ELCA (not Luther Seminary) at $500.
- Travel reimbursement is based on the number of miles between the home seminary and the site, and the number of dependents accompanying the student. Interns receive checks at the beginning and end of the internship. Minimum reimbursement has been set at $150.
- If a married couple serves internship together, each spouse is eligible to receive a mileage allowance unless only one travel pool fee has been paid by the internship congregations or institutions. When both are interns, neither can be claimed as a dependent. Dependent children are reimbursed under only one intern's travel pay.
- Students not returning to Luther Seminary may request return reimbursement unless they receive a call to a congregation which pays for all moving expenses. The return mileage is based on the distance between the site and final destination or the site and the seminary, whichever is less.
- If the situation at a site results in a student being reassigned during the summer, additional mileage will be paid to cover travel to the new site if the distance is greater.
Extra time is allowed for students interning in excess of 500 miles from the seminary for return travel. Thus, for example, interns in Florida should be allowed three days, in addition to their vacation time, to travel back to Saint Paul. Contact Contextual Learning if you have any questions.
Internship Administration fee: $1,000 (billed after internship begins; split between 2 years for concurrent)
All internship sites are responsible for the $1,000 administration fee, set by the ELCA (not Luther Seminary), and will be billed, along with the travel pool fee near the beginning of the internship year. Concurrent internship sites will be billed $500 at the beginning of each internship year.
- If a congregation provides unfurnished housing, the student is entitled to some assistance in moving furniture and personal possessions. Normally this means the congregation will pay for the rental of a trailer or a truck. The student is responsible for negotiating this agreement with the congregation.
- If the congregation has provided furnished housing, the congregation bears no additional responsibility to assist with moving costs for furniture or other personal items.
- Any agreement regarding reimbursement of moving expense to or from the site must be in writing with a copy provided to the Contextual Learning office. All negotiations should be completed before the student leaves for the site.
Day off and vacation time
Full-time (12 months) and concurrent interns will receive one day off per week and two weeks of paid vacation (including two weekends) per year. For a nine-month internship, the intern will receive one day off per week and 10 days of paid vacation (including one weekend).
A note regarding vacation time: If an intern is interested in taking intensive coursework, please recall that Contextual Learning’s coursework guidelines encourage no more than 1.0-credit per term for a one-year/full-time internship. Interns may use their congregation’s continuing education policy to participate in a short period of intensive coursework, but this opportunity is dependent upon (a) whether a continuing education option is available and (b) whether a continuing education option is approved by the internship supervisor. If a continuing education option is not available or approved, the intern will be obligated to use vacation time to complete intensive coursework. If a continuing education option is not available and if the intern does not wish to use vacation time, it is not expected that the congregation or supervisor will make time for the intern to attend intensive coursework.
In some cases, the internship will be hosted at one or more congregation(s), but supervised by a mentor at another congregation. In that case, off-site supervisors are eligible to receive a small monthly compensation in the form of $200/month.