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VTS set to make attendance nearly no-cost

VTS set to make attendance nearly no-cost

From a Press Release
Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) is delighted to announce an expanded and simplified financial aid application and award process that will allow anyone with assets less than $200,000 (excluding one’s primary home and any pensions) have the costs of education covered.

“Expanding and simplifying our financial aid packages is an investment in the future of the Episcopal Church,” said the Very Rev. Ian S. Markham, Ph.D., dean and president of VTS. “Many institutions are going tuition free, but we are going tuition free, housing free, meal plan free, and making a substantial contribution to healthcare.”

In a move that will help ensure the Seminary’s goal of making theological education accessible to all, effective immediately all students applying for financial aid for Fall 2019 with a combined adjusted gross income (single/family) less than $150,000 annually and/or combined assets less than eight times the respective Cost of Residency category (see below) will receive a package that includes:

• The cost of tuition;
• The cost of housing;
• The cost of a meal plan (for single students – three meals weekday, for all others – the lunch-only plan); and
• A maximum contribution of $4,000 towards healthcare cost for those selecting the VTS sponsored health insurance plan.

“With this step, VTS has made it possible for students to attend seminary without taking out educational loans to cover tuition, room, or board,” said the Rt. Rev. James R. Mathes, associate dean of students. “Most students should be able to graduate from VTS debt-free.”

To qualify, all students must apply for financial aid to be considered for this award package. Assets to be considered for the Cost of Residency requirement are: Cash and Cash Equivalents, Stocks, Bonds, and Real Estate Holdings. Primary Residence and Pension/Retirement accounts will not be considered. Cost of Residency categories are defined as follows:

• Single students: $24,200;
• Students living in a one-bedroom apartment: $34,100;
• Students living in a two-bedroom apartment: $36,500;
• Students living in a three-bedroom apartment or house: $38,900;
• Students that cannot live on the campus and live in rented accommodation off-campus: $41,300.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer such comprehensive scholarship packages to our students and to make theological education accessible for all,” said Jacqueline Ballou, CPA, MBA vice president for Finance and Operations.

Any student electing to live off-campus when on-campus housing is available will not be eligible for housing accommodation but will be eligible to receive an award to cover tuition, fees, and meal plan. Each student will be required to present an annual budget of living expenses. This budget should clearly identify the sources that will be used to meet all other financial obligations during residency.

“Student debt has become a multi-generational burden,” added Dean Markham. “VTS is in a fortunate position to make a difference. This is the right thing to do.”


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Is this only for ordination-track students, or for lay students as well?

Jon White

Good Question! The press release doesn’t differentiate so sounds like both.

Christopher SEITZ

As a graduate of VTS 40 years ago, it would be hard to imagine what has transpired over this period. PDS gone. BDS merged with YDS. Seabury-Western, Bexley Hall (my grandfather taught there all his life, my father and uncle were grads), ESSW, CDSP, EDS, GTS — all reconfigured; or gone. I don’t think anyone would have anticipated this. Worth a good historical study and evaluation.

With this kind of contraction, those that survive pick up all the traffic. Maybe not a bad development. LC-MS has long maintained only 2 main seminaries (St Louis and Ft Wayne). Both are doing just fine.

Maybe VTS (and a smaller Sewanee) will serve the present TEC.

I believe 50% of new ordinands studied outside of TEC schools already.

What a demographic shift. Hang in there, ATS…

Fred Loving

Wow . Some good news for a change. With the current clergy shortage this will help. I remember last year I could not find a Good Friday service anywhere close by.

JoS. S Laughon

This is laudable and will be more and more necessary in the future. We cannot have ministers put into insane amounts of debt. Furthermore given the continued teleological tensions between the secular and sacred today, it will not be unforseeable that the Church will have to educate their own at little/no cost instead of sending graduates to expensive institutions.

William A. Kolb

Hooray for VTS! Way to go!!!

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