The Cost of Discipleship

The divinity school experience – the formation of faith, the rigors of study, the sense of purpose, the companionship, a lifetime of memories – includes an additional element for many students, the task of taking on debt. About half of Yale Divinity School’s nearly 400 students take out loans to support their education. This reflects a national average. The menu of lenders ranges
from private banks to the federal government. Most students choose a federal loan for its flexibility of repayment and, in some circumstances, eventual loan forgiveness.

The goal of freeing future students of academic debt is now a top priority of YDS. One aim is to raise $53 million in endowment funds for financial aid by 2022, the School’s 200th anniversary. This would allow YDS students to study without acquiring additional debt for tuition – and follow their vocational calls without severe financial worry.

Reflections asked a selection of students to share their thoughts on the challenge they face – the pursuit of ministry and service while managing the payment of their educational debts.