Over the past few weeks InDepth has featured ways in which Winebrenner is prioritizing the stewardship of financial resources (click to read part one or part two). This week’s post considers ways in which students are being invited into a culture that encourages sound financial decisions regarding their own educational expenses. Winebrenner’s commitment to making theological education affordable is helping more students than ever take the next step in their discipleship journey. As a result, students are finding that obtaining a graduate degree with little to no debt is now within reach.
In his last post Dr. Sleasman shared that over the past three years at Winebrenner Seminary there has been a 57% reduction in the number of students relying on federal loans. This decrease is being fostered by a culture of decreased tuition and increased education regarding the consequences of student debt (you can read more about the “domino effect” of student debt by clicking here).
“Holistic stewardship” means students are encouraged to consider other ways in which the low monthly tuition plan may be supported. There are many ways in which this might be accomplished, including:
- Support from home church
- Support from denomination
- Support from sponsors
- Scholarships (both internal to Winebrenner and external)
- Federal student loans
In my role I am often asked by potential students how it is Winebrenner is able to offer such an affordable tuition model. I share with them an overview of the story of how this came to be, using the ways in Winebrenner is trying to practice holistic stewardship (InDepth featured a three-part series on the journey to our current tuition model and you can access by clicking here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three). This is just one way in which this culture is shared and makes a difference in the financial decisions of our students.
There are occasions when students need to utilize Federal loans and for these students, Winebrenner encourages them to consider:
- Accepting only the minimum amount necessary to finance tuition
- The importance of minimizing the debt load for future ministry plans
- Ways in which they may be able to avoid using loans in future terms
- Examination of current debt status before incurring more debt
As Winebrenner continues to grow we envision a time when the need for student loans at Winebrenner will be eliminated and students will enter into ministry, free of student loan debt, actively spreading a culture of “holistic stewardship”.
– Amy Kinney, Director of Enrollment Management