Educational debt has become an increasing issue for students in theological schools. They enter with more debt, graduate with more debt, and can carry that burden throughout their careers. Lilly Endowment Inc. has responded to these challenges with a number of initiatives, including the Theological School Initiative to Address Economic Challenges Facing Future Ministers (ECFFM).
ATS began coordinating the ECFFM Initiative in 2012. Since then, the Association has partnered with 67 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.
412-788-6505, ext. 248
Jo Ann Deasy joined the ATS staff in June 2014, and she currently serves as the director of institutional initiatives. Her responsibilities include oversight of the Pathways for Tomorrow Coordination Program and the Organizational and Educational Models in Theological Education Project. She previously served as manager of the Economic Challenges Facing Future Ministers Initiative Coordination Program.
Deasy also serves on the research team at ATS. Before shifting her focus to initiatives in 2022, she also oversaw the management, collection, and interpretation of data from the Entering Student, Graduating Student, and Alum Questionnaires for ATS. Her quantitative research focuses on the vocational trajectories of graduate theological students including multi-vocational ministry and the graduate workforce as well as on educational debt in ATS member schools. Qualitative projects have included Black student debt, assessing spiritual and personal formation, and women in leadership in theological education.