EDS Announces Student Loan Debt Relief Pilot Program to Help the Church Meet the Needs of Underserved Communities

June 28, 2012, CAMBRIDGE, MA—Student loan debt has become a hot topic, as students move from asking whether they will take out loans to the question of how much.

Episcopal Divinity School (EDS) is pleased to announce the beginning a fully funded pilot program that helps Episcopal dioceses retain the best and brightest seminarians while finding solutions for the growing student loan debt crisis facing seminarians.

A major component of this pilot program is to invite diocesan partners to help EDS better understand the challenges of underserved communities from a variety of regional, geographic, and economic perspectives. These initial diocesan partners will be invited to identify and select the prospective participants from their dioceses to apply for EDS academic programs. These seminarians, who commit to working in select underserved communities of the pilot dioceses following graduation, will have their student loan debt repaid during a specified service period.

While the specific arrangements of the program will be worked out in consultation with the pilot dioceses, the first sponsored student participants are expected to begin their studies at EDS in the 2012/2013 academic year and complete the Master of Divinity degree in May 2015. Their service commitment in their home diocese will begin within six months of graduation.

“EDS is committed to providing students with a world-class seminary education and to helping the Church adapt to changing needs. We understand that student loan debt can keep students from helping where the need is greatest and we look forward to creating a pilot program that helps inspire greatness from our students at the same time it helps meet critical needs within the Church,” said The Very Rev. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, President and Dean of EDS.

Download the Seminarian Retention and Student Loan Debt Relief Pilot Program Report. [PDF]

Interested dioceses should contact Jane Wagner at 617-682-1511 or JWagner@eds.edu to schedule a follow-up conversation with President and Dean Katherine Ragsdale.