In 2018, we came up with a plan that seemed radical and largely unprecedented in the world of 21st-century theological education.
We decided to raise enough money to give every incoming Master of Divinity and Master of Arts student a full-tuition scholarship.
We called it the “Jubilee Scholarship”—a reference to the biblical season of forgiveness of debts. We did this because we’d seen troubling research that indicated that pastors who carried student debt were more likely to abandon the ministry, postpone important healthcare, or report that debt has a negative impact on their standard of living. This September, we’ll enroll our fifth graduating class of students receiving the Jubilee Scholarship.
The results have been incredible.
See for yourself:
- 128 new leaders were sent out to lead in Christian communities—and 57% of them graduated without any student debt.
- During the previous academic year, the total amount borrowed by our students last year was the lowest Luther has ever experienced since we began tracking student loan data in 1998.
- The goal of the Jubilee Scholarship when launched was to reduce student indebtedness by one-third by 2024. To date our donors have helped us to reduce graduate indebtedness by 39%, surpassing that goal two years earlier than we ever thought possible.
- Luther Seminary budgeted $8 million for scholarships and financial aid this year.
- All of our 480 currently enrolled students received scholarship support last year.
We are so grateful to all our donors who have helped to make the Jubilee Scholarship a reality, and for the fruits we’re witnessing in the lives of our students and alumni, who are free to serve in God’s world without overwhelming debt and anxiety.
Thanks be to God!
Peace and grace,
Robin J. Steinke, President