The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (LTSP) and The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (LTSG) today announced a dramatic increase in the amount of financial aid each school is giving students, including making full-tuition scholarships available to all new full-time, ELCA rostered leader candidates studying in residence. “In partnership with the ELCA, our supporting Synods, and many faithful congregations and individuals, we decided the time is right to make seminary education far more affordable for our students,” declared Presidents Michael Cooper-White (LTSG) and David Lose (LTSP). In addition to this generous offer for new students, the schools also expect to increase scholarships for all current full-time enrollees.
Moreover, the two schools have also committed to supporting all other students from any denomination enrolled at least half time in a first theological degree program by matching dollar-for-dollar all support made to students from sponsoring congregations and church bodies up to the amount of full tuition. “Our goal,” the presidents said, “is to make it possible for any student to receive a superior education tuition free.” This significant increase in financial aid comes as the first major initiative of the new school of theology and leadership formation the two schools plan to start. “By making more robust financial aid a central commitment of the new school,” the presidents continued, “we can build a new budget with that level of aid as the fixed commitment.”
“What is the total cost of attendance for graduates from West Point or the Naval Academy?” the presidents asked, and then answered, “Nothing. Because the graduates of those schools will pay back their education through at least five years of service to their country. Our students,” they continued, “will also repay the gift of their education through a lifetime of service to the church.” The goal, the presidents explained, is to create a more cooperative approach to theological education. “Students don’t simply pay for or earn their degrees,” they said, “they receive them as a gift of the church they will be serving. And congregations don’t merely sponsor ‘their’ student but are investing in the future leadership of the whole church.”
While this decision stems from the creative work to fashion a new school, each seminary will begin awarding these full-tuition and other scholarships immediately to students entering in the fall of 2016 as well as increasing aid to those eligible who are already studying at the school. “We’re not leaving anyone out,” the presidents said.
The presidents stressed that current and on-going gifts from congregations and individuals, as well as the support of synods and the ELCA, make this dramatic increase in aid possible. “We cannot do this alone,” they stated. “Our responsibility is to come up with an educational structure and budget that is efficient and responsible, and we are grateful for the support of so many faithful and generous people to make the dream of a fully-supported seminary education a reality.”
For more information on the new financial aid policy or to apply to one of the schools, please contact Nate Preisinger (LTSP) or Lauren Muratore (LTSG). To make a gift to either school to support candidates studying for ministry, please contact Dennis Trotter (LTSP) or Glenn Ludwig (LTSG), or visit the seminary websites (ltsp.edu and ltsg.edu).