Welcome to the era of crushing student debt, a burden that can stubbornly chase a graduate for decades. For ministerial students, there are far greater implications. Student debt can prevent ministers from making the best decisions to fulfill ministry calling. Not surprisingly, mission agencies now report that student debt has become an enormous obstacle preventing potential missionaries from answering the call to the mission field.
Here are three ways an online seminary program can help you save money and avoid student debt while earning your MDiv:
- Online Seminary Programs Cost Less — An online program costs a seminary less to deliver than the traditional, on-campus program. Why? There are no classroom buildings to maintain, no physical library to fill with books, no office furniture to buy, and no grass to cut. But do your homework. If a traditional seminary is also offering you an online program, check to see if the online program costs YOU less too. It should. Otherwise, you are paying for services on the seminary’s physical campus that you won’t ever use. That’s why you should include accredited, fully online schools in your search for the best value – schools where you are certain your tuition dollars are not helping to supplement on-campus programs. Also, use “total program cost” to make comparisons. Simply using the tuition price per credit hour to make cost comparisons can be misleading, since some seminary schools add expensive fees that push the total program cost higher, sometimes significantly. Most accrediting agencies require schools to publish “total program cost.” If you don’t see it on the website, ask for it.
- Online Seminaries Don’t Require Travel — Today’s seminary student is more likely to commute to campus rather than live in an on-campus dormitory. Though transportation costs vary by student depending on commuting distance, drive-time expenses can be significant: gasoline, tolls, car maintenance, and car depreciation for starters. Some seminary programs advertised as “an online program” still require travel to campus for scheduled seminars or mini-terms. In such cases, airfare and rental car costs can add considerably to a program’s total cost. In contrast, transportation costs for 100% fully online seminaries are zero.
- Attending Seminary Online Saves Time — And time is money. Work on your seminary degree online during the day or at night, on YOUR schedule, not the school’s. This kind of schedule control lets you maximize your time, permitting you to add hours at work, enjoy more quality time with family, and build more margin into a fast-paced life.