Endowment for Student Support
Supporting future leaders of the church
Supporting our students financially throughout their studies here has always been a high priority at Columbia Theological Seminary. Because students in the Master of Divinity (MDiv) program receive financial aid covering on average 90%-95% of their costs, it is vital that we secure funds to maintain this support.
We believe Columbia is strong because our faculty, our trustees, our staff, and our curriculum are aligned with the aspirations of those intrigued by the question of God's call and seeking to learn how to use their gifts for Christ's ministry. In a survey of the graduating classes from 1996-2006, 83 percent of MDiv graduates reported that they came to Columbia with the intention of pursuing a religious occupation. The fact that 82 percent of respondents are now ministers of the Word and Sacrament, and that 73 percent are working in a local congregation, confirms that Columbia is "on mission" and that its graduates are making good on the church's investment in them.
The cost to a student to pursue theological education can be substantial. For a year, depending on family circumstances, the cost of a year of theological education will range from $35,000 to over $40,000. This cost represents a significant hurdle for many students who otherwise must borrow significantly to finance their education. Then, upon graduation, pastors receive salaries that make it difficult for them to repay loans and live without constant financial concern.
Columbia Seminary is blessed with one of the strongest scholarship and financial aid programs in theological education today. To retain its ability to attract the finest possible students with the greatest potential for leadership in the church, the seminary must continue to increase endowed resources and support those students. In addition, if the seminary is to increase enrollment, a significant increase in resources for student support is essential.