As schools work to address issues of debt and financial literacy during students' first years of seminary, they promote not just financial well-being but also whole life stewardship and ministerial effectiveness. In the process, they are developing useful tools to share with other schools.
Economic Challenges Facing Future Ministers
Funded by Lilly Endowment Inc., the ECFFM initiative began in 2012 and is supporting projects at 67 ATS member schools to conduct research into financial issues facing students, to develop new strategies for decreasing financial burdens on students, to create and strengthen educational programs in financial literacy for pastoral leaders, and to use partnerships to address these issues.
To enhance the effectiveness of the initiative, ATS is providing additional expertise, facilitating peer learning, and capturing and disseminating what is learned. Resources that have been created or recommended by participating schools are available in several categories:
Data and reports produced by schools and other entities, including:
• Surveys of students, alumni/ae, donors and congregations
• Research into the cost and structure of theological schools
Programs designed to help students avoid and/or manage debt, including:
• Student loan forgiveness
• Financial counseling
• Tuition funding strategies
• Online financial planning tools
Programs to foster financial literacy among students, alumni/ae, and pastors, including:
• Curriculum development and revision plans
• Workshops for students, alumni/ae, and pastors
• Online financial planning programs
Models for collaborating and maximizing resources, including:
• Shared services with other schools
• Placement programs with communities of faith
• Shared resources with community organizations
• Denominational partnerships
Resources from various ECFFM gatherings.
Resources are also accessible using the search function on any page of this website.