Theology can be a great major for many – it offers critical thinking skills and communication skills to its students, and is a great degree all-around for those interested in the subject. Theology is a practical degree, but for many, the thought of paying for a degree that doesn’t lead to a direct career path, such as Accounting or Engineering, can be terrifying.
There are many financial aid options available to Theology students, both standard options – such as government loans and grants – as well as theology specific ones. The kinds of scholarships and grants available to Theology students will also depend upon which degree level they are seeking, and the school they are attending.
It is important not to allow financial fears to get in your way of earning your Theology degree. There are so many options available to students, such as scholarships and grants, to paid internships and living stipends. You just have to know where to look and not stop looking until all options are exhausted.
The usual options, such as institutional scholarships, government and school grants, and government and private loans are available to Theology students. Looking at these options first can be a great start, as it can help you see what gaps need to be filled, so you can leave school with as little debt as possible.
Financial Options for a Bachelor’s in Theology
Along with the standard government loans and grants, as well as merit scholarships offered by your school, Theology students seeking a Bachelor’s degree have many scholarship options. These could be state-specific, or even based upon one’s religion or denomination. Checking with your priest, rabbi, or pastor may be one helpful step, as scholarship information may have been passed along to them.
Financial Options for Graduate Degree in Theology
For those seeking a Graduate degree, whether at a Seminary or regular college, there are standard options, such as government loans and the like available, but it will depend upon your previous loans and grants, as well as your current situation.
Many Theological schools offer their own list of available financial resources, most of which may be dependent on the school or the area. Some will even be dependent upon the religion, or career aspiration. The Eaton Scholarship is one example of requiring a specific career goal, as it states one must “have the goal of ordination or recognized ministry and plan to go into full-time pastorate/ministry”. Scholarships with career specific requirements may need to be paid back in full if one changes their career path, so keeping that in mind when applying is important.
Financial Options Based Upon Demographics
Some Theological schools are interested in getting those with minority demographics into their program, so they may offer scholarships to women or other minority students. One example of a female specific scholarship is the Song of Deborah Scholarship. For female students who intend to become ordained, this scholarship is one financial option among many.
If you are attending a Theological School that is affiliated with a community that is severely lacking ministers or other leadership, they may be offering living stipends or other aids to boost their attendance. Every year, religious leaders are retiring due to old age, and in some cases, more leader are retiring than entering the leadership community. Young, new leaders may be vital to the health and survival of the religious community, so many schools may be willing to help those in need of assistance.
Grants for Research Projects
For many graduate students working on worthwhile projects, your school or religious institution may offer you grants that allow you to stay in school and continue your research. Offering something worthwhile to your religious community can be a great way to earn your cash for college, while still doing something that you enjoy. It can be difficult for full-time students of Theology to also have outside jobs, so research is a great way to further your passions while still meeting your needs.
As stated earlier, your church may be a great help when it comes to finding scholarship opportunities. They may also offer paid internships, or living stipends for those who plan to become ordained or serve the community after graduation.
It never hurts to check with your church, as well as similar churches in your area. Many houses of worship are willing to help those who have a future interest in their religion, even if you do not attend their own.
On a larger scale, your religious community may have scholarships or other financial aids available to those getting a Theology degree. If you are part of a diocese, or other district under a religious leader, consider visiting or calling to ask about financial opportunities. Many are willing to assist, especially if their leadership is understaffed, or expected to become so.